February 2014 Idaho Ski Trip
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Friday, April 25, 2014
By Dick Ketelle

Back in the first week of February I went on a week long trip to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho with friends Al and John. We stayed in yurts operated by Sun Valley Trekking. They operate several yurts and huts in the Sawtooth backcountry. The yurts are well equipped with wood stoves and firewood, 3-burner propane stoves, all the cooking utensils you would want, and absolutely the best surroundings.

We flew from Tennessee to Boise and then spent a couple of nights in Hailey ID to get ready for our adventure and to do a day trip up Owl Creek shown below.


The first of the two yurts we stayed in was the Boulder Yurt pictured below. It is located close to the road and the Harriman Trail that is kept groomed for track skiers all winter and is a popular bike trail when not snow-covered.


Inside the spaceous and comfortable Boulder Yurt.


Afternoon view Boulder Peak and looking down the Wood River Valley from a low ridge above the Boulder Yurt.


Looking through the occulus of the Boulder Yurt.


Boulder Yurt nocturn.


Leaving Boulder  Yurt with great views of Boulder Peak and Galena Peak (left).


After eating a great lunch at Galena Lodge (a fun nordic center a few miles up the road) we drove over Galena Pass and down the head of the Salmon River to the trail/road that leads to Redfish Lake and into the Sawtooth Mountains. The two pictures below were taken on the road before Redfish Lake.




Near Redfish Lake our route left the road and headed up the trail into Fishhook Creek.

About the time we headed in the weather pattern changed as you see below.


In addition to more daytime clouds that brought plenty of fresh powder, we experienced quite cold night time temperatures.


Yep that shows -12 F !!


But that didn't stop us from getting out and exploring the upper end of Fishhook Creek and the surrounding areas.


One of our excursions took us back down the valley a way and then up onto the moraine ridge on the north side. The moraine was interesting because it offered much more habitat diversity than the valley. It was nice to see the aspen and spruce mixed forest with open areas. Our daytime cloud companions mask the distant high peaks and create a veil over the closer ridges.


Near the time of our departure a weather system came through that dropped quite a bit of new snow. Remember the Coneheads ??


If you got out early in the morning at Fishhook Yurt and skied up to the beaver ponds you were rewarded with a view of the Sawteeth.




Fishhook Creek sunrise @ -12F!  Pretty cold fingers fooling with the camera but the outcome was good.  Those gauzy, filamentous gray clouds were the onset of a 24-hour snowstorm that preceded our departure to head back to Tennessee.

Leave a comment:
jan ketelle - Hey Dick,
I've been looking forward to seeing these, well worth the wait. Could inspire a trip out their. Looks like the trails were pretty well packed for getting to the yurts with your gear. Wonder if going a bit later in the season would allow for a bit warmer temps. Thanks for putting this together for all of us to enjoy. Jan
tom lundberg - Thanks for posting this, Dick. Reminded me of a halloween weekend years ago when I played the Sun Valley Jazz Fest and then hung around for a week, rented a car and drove through the Sawteeth to Glacier to do some hiking and camping. There was some snow by that time and Going to the Sun Road was closed earlier in the week, necessitating going around to East Glacier via Marias Pass. The yurts look luxurious! I also won't forget the rock bordered hot spots in the river along the highway between Stanley and Challis. Beautiful country.