Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stanley and Redfish Lake, ID -- September 24, 2008

This isn't so much about a hiking trail as it is about a woefully unknown area in central Idaho near a small town called Stanley. Stanley isn't even a town in the traditional sense -- it's more of a village, a crossroads, but a delightful one.

Though we'd been through Stanley many times (it's about an hour North of Ketchum/Sun Valley), we'd never actually *been* there. We'd never stopped, turned off the highway, checked out the area.

For starters, we turned down Highway 21, and then turned into a campground and day use area called Stanley Lake. It being late September, it was pretty deserted. That's the only possible way this camp site, possibly one of the most amazing ones in the state, could still be open:

The view from that camp site:

Looking down Stanley Lake:

Just north of Stanley Lake, the mountains in fall:

Noooooo, not another Centennial trail!!

Driving back to Stanley..... the sage, the fall colours, and the amazing Sawtooth Mountains in the background (look at the tops of the mountain and the thin, sharp looking ridges.... hence the name Sawtooth):

Approaching Stanley from the north. The buildings are actually officially part of "Lower Stanley":

A look at Stanley from down the Salmon River:

Just down Highway 75 from Stanley is the always amazing Redfish Lake -- a popular recreation area and beach. During the summer, this is one of the most popular lakes around. There are a number of hiking trails in the area, plus quite a few equestrian and mountain biking opportunities. There are camping facilities, plus log cabins that can be rented. There are a number of canoes, boats and other water toys available for rent. In other words, the place is a zoo. In the fall, it's a little calmer (and colder):

End of season sale at the General Store. Note half-empty parking lot in background.

The Redfish Lake Lodge:

What a lonely looking beach:

There was no one working the rental counter, but the boats were still out. A summertime resort takes on such a different feel when fall hits:

Driving south on Highway 75, all alone in the world:

If you looked quickly at the sage-covered hills, it almost looked like they were on fire. It's not the fall colours of New England, but in a landscape that is generally nothing but shades of brown, the colour stood out:

Sawtooth Mountains:

Looking down over the valley we'd just driven through.

Approaching Ketchum, and seeing our friend Baldy in the distance:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bald Mountain, Ketchum, Idaho -- September 23, 2008

When the Hip Hiker household decides to seek out peace and quiet away from home, the road usually takes us to a little town in Idaho called Ketchum.... also known the as town right next to Sun Valley. It's a winter playground for most, but Dave and I have only ever been there in the summer. It's our favorite summer getaway.

And the hiking is amazing.

For years we've been wanting to tackle Bald Mountain -- known affectionately as Baldy -- the ski hill that looms over the Ketchum/Sun Valley area. Every year we've turned back. No matter how you approach it, hiking up a ski hill is a formidable task.

This was going to be the year. No matter what.

We approached Baldy from the Warm Springs side. This was excellent strategy, since our condo was only a few blocks away and close enough to limp home to once the hike was over.

From the bottom of the ski hill.... the Warm Spring lodge.. beautiful building:

Looking down at Warm Springs from about 15 minutes up the hill. Those are the snow making guns along the trail. We took a service road up the hill because we thought it would be easier. As you can see, it wasn't.

The upside to climbing straight up a mountain is how quickly you gain height. Looking north east, and down at the maintenance shed about 45 minutes into the hike.

The "more difficult" made me laugh.

Peeking through the trees at Sun Valley Road, north of Sun Valley.

I'm used to the Rockies, but this is pretty amazing to me....

A look at the town of Ketchum, with Sun Valley in the background.

Another look at Ketchum and Sun Valley

Looking east, including Hyndman Peak

Same angle... I just love the softness of the sage covered mountains in the foreground:

In 2007, the area was struck by the Castle Rock fire. The area of Warm Springs was evacuated as the flames reached Baldy and threatened many homes. The trail took us past some of the fire damage on the northwest side

Looking west at more velvety hills.. can't get enough... some of the fire damage can be seen right in front:

Looking northwest.... up high now..


We made it to the top! And Dave was really happy about it.

Ski lifts at the top. The sign says elevation 9010 feet.

Ketchum/Sun Valley again:

Another look at the burned area:

More to come from Ketchum....