This is long, and I know I'm kind of posting out of order. I'm posting my backpacking trip and then tomorrow I'll post about Twin Falls, even though Twin Falls happened first.
When we originally planned this backpacking trip we had intended to backpack about 2 miles in to Boulder Lake. Being prepared and planning ahead like I always do, I went online and found directions to the trail head and was set to go.
The kids and I got back from Twin falls at about 5:20 pm Wednesday night. I had a youth activity to go to from 6 pm to 8:30, so by the time I got home that night, we didn't have a whole lot of time to pack up ourselves, and pack up the kids to stay at my parents house for the weekend. Luckily, I had already done most of my prep work and shopping before we left for Twin so it really was just pulling everything together and getting it all packed.
We left for my parents at about 9:30 am Thursday morning, dropped off the kids, and made the drive up to McCall, arriving at about 12:30. As we were getting close to McCall, Andy asked me where to go, and I realized I had left the directions on the printer at home... oops. So we had to go off of my memory from 15 years ago.. I knew we were suppose to follow Boulder Lake Road up till it dead ends and the trail head would be there.
We got to the end of Boulder Lake road, and there was a lake... I was confused because I knew we had to hike into Boulder Lake, there are no roads that lead right to the lake, the terrain was too rough and steep. I also remembered signs marking the boulder lake trail head. We looked around and could not find a trail marked for Boulder Lake, Just one for Louie Lake - 2 miles. We decided to drive around a bit and make sure we weren't suppose to turn off the main road somewhere or something.
After driving around for about 45 minutes and getting stuck in the mud for a few minutes, we decided to go back and just hike the 2 miles into Louie Lake
We got our packs, which were a bit on the heavy side, but manageable, and started off on the trail. After about a mile of strenuous uphill hiking we came to a .... road. That was a little irritating after such a difficult hike. Not only that, but the trail seemed to dead end at the road. We walked up the road about a quarter mile and the road split, with one side going off to the left, and one side continuing straight ahead. There was a large rock in the middle of the road at the split, and spray painted on it was, "Louie Lake," with an arrow pointing to the right. About 10 feet beyond the road was a trail heading to the right, going mostly downhill. We hiked downhill and came to a wide trail. There was no lake in site, so we continued to follow the trail. We had been hiking a heck of a lot farther that 2 miles at this point, we were pretty sure we had missed something somewhere, but we had no idea how we could have. Every split off from the trail (there were a few) we checked out and they all dead ended... no where near a lake, or running water for that matter. We were close to a stream where we were hiking so we kept going till we found a nice spot were we could easily access the water and set up camp.
We were too tired to build a fire for the night so we made a dinner of food that didn't require cooking, then relaxed and played gin.
After we went to bed I realized I was a bit scared of the dark and wilderness... I had recently heard something on the news about an increase in bear sightings. I don't even remember if it was a local story, or near the McCall area or not, I was just a bit scared. It didn't help at all that every time Andy moved in his sleeping bag it sounded exactly like weeds crunching right outside the tent ... Of course I didn't realize it was Andy's sleeping bag till morning. Nor did it help that I kept thinking about all the food we had in our packs, in the tent with us, and how that's a huge no-no when camping in bear areas. Needless to say I did not get a good nights sleep.
In the morning we made a fire and had omelets and hot chocolate for breakfast. It was so good!
The stream we camped next to was a bit shallow and there was another trail on the other side of it. The night before, while we were hanging out in the tent, a group of horseback riders had come by from the other side of the stream. We had seen their horse trailer back at the trail head so we (or Andy will probably say it was just me) decided we would load up a day pack and head out on that trail, and see if we could find a lake out on the other side of the stream. I knew there was a whole handful of lakes in this area, we had to eventually run into one of them. We planned to find a lake, do some fishing, then hike back to our camp and spend the night there again, then hike out in the morning.
We hiked for about two and a half hours... there was no lake... but we did come across an area that had been cleared by the Forest Service, which provided a beautiful view. We decided to hike back and stay the second night at our camp and then in the morning we would hike back out and fish at the lake by the truck before we left.... If we had any energy left.
While we were hiking back to our camp we came across a nice gentleman on a motorcycle who probably could tell we were lost hiking around this area with a fishing pole in hand. He stopped and asked if we had been to Louie Lake yet. Um, no..
So he tells us how to get there, hike back around and take the trail up the hill to the road, then follow the road uphill a bit. When it dead ends follow the trail. UGH! We had been right there! The arrow on the rock was noting to take that right split of the road.. not the trail down the mountain.
We decided to get back to camp, pack up, and hike back to the road. When we got to the road we would ditch our packs, finish hiking back to the truck, then go find the road, pick up our packs and drive the rest of the way to the lake. Not that the spot we were camping wasn't nice, but we really wanted to do some fishing. By the time we got all packed up it was about 2:50pm and we had already been hiking for 5 hours that day.
Our packs were too heavy for the amount of hiking we were doing, and we are not experienced hikers. We were a bit concerned about the big uphill we had coming. It was pretty steep and about a mile long, not to mention we had miles of pretty gentle uphill to hike just to get back to were the steep part started. We made it alright, and while we were resting at the road before we ditched our packs, a truck came by. We didn't think anything of it, until he parked about 50 feet beyond were we were... and we realized that's how close we had been. That was a bit annoying!
We got back to the truck about 4:50, and set off to find the road where we had left our packs. It took a while to find it, mostly because the road we left our packs on seemed pretty well maintained and used, but the roads we were trying were pretty unmaintained, we would go for a while and then decided there was no way this could be the same road, and turn back. We were on another one of those... and about to turn around when we saw the large rock.
Andy's favorite part? He got the drive his truck through the stream.
We were so exhausted and getting hungry for dinner so we decided if the lake wasn't within 150 feet of this section of the trail then we would just drive back down to the lake we had originally started off and just camp there. We hiked a bit up the trail and didn't see the lake. Normally I wouldn't have given up knowing the hike to the lake couldn't have been more than a mile in, but we where so seriously spent. It was about 6:30 pm, and we just wanted to be done with hiking.
So we drove back around and decided we would sleep in the back of the truck, under the camper shell. That way we could get right to cooking dinner and wouldn't have to take time to set up the tent.
We cooked spaghetti for dinner. I was a bit worried it would turn out edible, but it turned out so good. It was fantastic. I never would have even tried it, but it was suggested as a good backpacking meal on a backpacking information website.
We slept great in the truck, and I didn't have to worry about appearing on, "When Bears Attack!"
My feet were so blistered up that in the morning we decided to just fish right at the lake we were at and not bother driving back over and hiking into Louie Lake, even though Louie Lake is a trophy fishing lake, it's actually catch and release anything under 24 inches.
We did catch just one fish.. It was only about 8 inches long. We almost had another, but it got away. I wish we had caught more, but we ran out of worms and that was all they were biting on. After we ran out of worms we left to head back home.
Here is the view from where we were fishing. This whole area is so beautiful.
After we got home I went on Google Earth to try and figure out were we had gone. This trail isn't completely accurate because most of the trails we were on would have been under the cover of the trees, but it is as accurate as I can tell. If you can't see it, we hiked round trip of about 20.5 miles. Actually more. I didn't mark all the turn offs I made checking other paths and back tracking again.
Even though the trip didn't go exactly as planned we still had a really fun time, and I learned I am in much better shape than I would have thought. I guess all the jogging I've been doing paid off. I think it may have been better the way things worked out. We had so much on our minds, and so much endorphins from the hiking I just felt great. If we had only hiked 2 miles and then spent the rest of our time just laying about fishing, reading and playing games, I'm not sure I would have been able to avoid feeling depressed.
It was great. Andy did tell me on the way home that he had a really great time being with me, fishing, and driving the truck around.... jokingly(or maybe not so much) leaving out the hiking part.
The whole time we were camping we kept a running tally with our gin rummy games. I completely won. Just gotta throw that in there...