Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


The Sawtooth Redemption

  • 69 Replies
  • 22077 Views
*

Offline jeffblaylock

  • Horned Frog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2310
  • I'd rather be on the South Rim
The Sawtooth Redemption
« on: August 31, 2009, 04:41:51 PM »
Last night (the 30th), I got home to Austin, ending a journey to, across, and back from Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. I left Austin on the 5th. In all, I drove nearly 5,400 miles and hiked or backpacked around 150 miles. The centerpiece of the trip was a 10-day trek in the Sawtooths, but there were also days, nights, and miles in Colorado NM, Grand Teton NP, and Yellowstone NP on the way up and Great Basin NP, Grand Canyon NP, and White Sands NM on the way back, to name a few.

This trip was epic in every way.

If last year's journey to Yosemite was epic in a life-changing way, then this trip was simply epic for epic's sake. Or, perhaps better, epic for Creation's sake.

How does one begin to tell the tale of nearly a month away, experiencing the wonders of this world on foot and by car, a sprawling epic covering nearly 150 miles of trail and 5,400 miles of road? Which of the more than 2,500 photographs should start the story? What moments, whether of sweeping grandeur or intimate discovery, are the proper ones to summarize the totality of the experience? I’ve no idea.

It has not gone without pondering. Many, many miles of pondering, in fact, beginning from the moment my car rolled out of its parking spot at Grandjean, stirring for the first time in 10 days. The enormity of the trek is overwhelming, incapable of easy or effortless translation, unmoved by the desire to provide an instant answer to “How was your trip?” There were so many moments, so many images stamped indelibly onto my memory, from joyous to humbling to scary to serene, so many places and people and things.

It does not begin with the departure from Austin, a long, tedious day’s drive to Tucumcari, New Mexico, a downpayment of 596 miles toward the more than 2,500 to the trailhead at the base of the Sawtooths.

No, this tale will surely shrug off structure and order, as surely as the carefully planned itinerary seldom came to pass. It shall unfold like an unruly map, spilling its contents here and there and denying efforts to fold it neatly to a precise place of interest. It shall be long in the telling, befitting the length of its coming and going, filling almost an entire month and pushing away all other parts of the world. Mercurial like the weather, stately like the mountains, rambling like the streams, bursting in dazzling colors like the wildflowers, coyly hiding like the wildlife, these it should be.

So it begins with a single photo, taken in a single moment, atop an unnamed pass, at 9,290 feet, wedged along the knife edge running between Pt. 9,955 and Pt. 9,934, high above Imogene Lake, on whose spectacular shore I had spent the night before. It begins with a chance meeting of two locals, whose love of these mountains was clear and true. It begins on the 7th day of the backpack, the 14th day of the trip, at 10:50 a.m. MDT, at 9,290 feet in elevation, with this single photo, a downpayment for the epic to come.

Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

*

Offline dkerr24

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1424
  • The worst day hiking > the best day in a cubicle.
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2009, 05:24:37 PM »
Welcome back, Jeff!  I'm going to get the popcorn started for Homer, this should be a doozy of a trip report!

*

Offline homerboy2u

  • The Chipewa Cris tribe,Canada:
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 5103
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2009, 08:18:19 PM »
And so the teasing begins, i can play along too. More beers and popcorn for every one here (on my tab)....... :icon_lol: :icon_lol:. Take your sweet time on this one.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

*

BigBendHiker

  • Guest
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2009, 09:06:11 PM »
Hey, Jeff!
Looking forward to the report and additional pictures! 


BBH

*

chisos_muse

  • Guest
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2009, 09:08:28 PM »
Blaylock with a doo-rag? This is gonna be great....


*

Offline SA Bill

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1999
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2009, 09:32:21 PM »
I'm sucking wind just looking at that pic! Can't wait for the whole report!  :eusa_drool:
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

*

Offline jeffblaylock

  • Horned Frog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2310
  • I'd rather be on the South Rim
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2009, 11:09:33 PM »
Blaylock with a doo-rag? This is gonna be great....

Yeah, lost my hat on Day 2. Hip- and chest-high brush yanked it off the back of my pack. I noticed it missing at the end of the day. Since my thinning hair doesn't protect the scalp from the sun like it used to, I had to follow my hip-hop roots and brandish a 'do-rag for the first time in my life.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

*

Offline mountaindocdanny

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 262
    • http://griffisfamilyoutdoors.blogspot.com
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2009, 11:24:15 PM »
Twenty-five days! Wow! Now, I wonder if I can convince my wife that I need to put together a trip like that? Looking forward to experiencing some beautiful contry vicariously.

*

Offline Al

  • Dog Face Moth
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4095
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2009, 11:44:37 PM »
Twenty-five days! Wow! Now, I wonder if I can convince my wife that I need to put together a trip like that? Looking forward to experiencing some beautiful contry vicariously.

The mountain that will the toughest of all to climb, "convince my wife".  Thinking positive thoughts.  I am doing good to get a week a year.

Al

*

Offline jeffblaylock

  • Horned Frog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2310
  • I'd rather be on the South Rim
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 01:24:05 AM »
It  may be helpful to sketch out the trip before I describe it in detail, out of chronological order. So, here is a brief day-by-day account of the trip:

Wednesday, August 5. Drove 596 miles from Austin to Tucumcari, N. Mex., and stayed at a hotel there.
Thursday, August 6. Drove 484 miles from Tucumcari to Ouray, Colo., and stayed in site no. 12 of the Amphitheater Campground, Uncompahgre National Forest (8,400' elevation).
Friday, August 7. CrossFit workout at Hypoxia CrossFit in Ouray. Drove 326 miles from Ouray to site no. 2 of the Red Canyon Campground, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Ashley National Forest, Utah (7,400'), with stops at Canyon Pintado and Colorado NM.
Saturday, August 8. Drove 336 miles from Flaming Gorge NRA to site no. 5 of the Signal Mountain Campground, Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. (6,824'). Hiked String and Leigh Lake trails in the rain.
Sunday, August 9. Drove 158 miles from Grand Teton NP to site no. D147 of the Madison Campground, Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. (6,800'). Visited and hiked several geyser basins.
Monday, August 10. Drove 153 miles from Yellowstone NP to Bozeman, Mont. Visited Old Faithful in the park, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, and hung out with Joe, a hiking blogger from Bozeman I've followed online for a couple of years.
Tuesday, August 11. Drove 466 miles from Bozeman to site no. 12 of the Grandjean Campground, Boise National Forest, Idaho (5,200'). Placed my resupply along the trail between Pettit Lake and Yellowbelly Lake on the eastern side of the Sawtooths.
Wednesday, August 12. Drove 0.2 miles to the Grandjean trailhead. Backpacked 10.1 miles from Grandjean trailhead up South Fork Payette Trail to a spot along the South Fork Payette River (6,224').
Thursday, August 13. Backpacked 11.4 miles along South Fork Payette River to Benedict Creek to Rock Slide Lake (8,664').
Friday, August 14. Backpacked 6.5 miles through the Ten Lake Basin to a short ridge separating Vernon and Edna Lakes (8,533').
Saturday, August 15. Backpacked 9.6 miles over Snowyside Pass to Toxaway Lake and over Sand Mountain Pass, camping at Alice Lake (8,631').
Sunday, August 16. Backpacked 15.3 miles to Pettit Lake, retrieving my resupply and swapping out gear/food/trash from my pack, to Hellroaring trailhead via a series of trails and forest roads, camping at the trailhead parking area (7,239').
Monday, August 17. Backpacked 6.1 miles up Hellroaring Creek to Hellroaring Lake and Imogene Lake, camping on that lake's south shore (8,489').
Tuesday, August 18. Backpacked 8.9 miles over three passes, resuming the main backpacking loop above Edna Lake, camping at Hidden Lake (8,617').
Wednesday, August 19. Backpacked 10.0 miles over Cramer Divide past the Cramer Lakes to Alpine Lake (8,375').
Thursday, August 20. Backpacked 10.9 miles over "Baron Divide" past the Baron Lakes to the confluence of North Fork Baron Creek and Baron Creek (5,755').
Friday, August 21. Backpacked 3.9 miles down Baron Creek and South Fork Payette River back to the Grandjean trailhead. Visited the hot springs. Drove 45 miles to Stanley, Idaho, staying in a lodge there.
Saturday, August 22. Dayhiked 8.3 miles to Goat Lake and back from the Iron Creek trailhead, explored shore of Redfish Lake, retrieved resupply canister from Pettit Lake, and drove 173 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho, staying in a hotel there.
Sunday, August 23. Drove 510 miles from Twin Falls to Ely, Nev., via Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains, staying in a casino hotel in downtown Ely.
Monday, August 24. Drove 108 miles from Ely to Great Basin NP, camping in site no. 16 of the Wheeler Peak Campground (9,886'). Dayhiked Alpine Lakes and a portion of Wheeler Peak trails.
Tuesday, August 25. Dayhiked Bristlecone Pines trail and toured Lehman Caves. Drove 264 miles from Great Basin NP to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah, camping at site no. 21 of the campground there (6,000').
Wednesday, August 26. Drove 156 miles from the state park to North Rim, Grand Canyon NP, camping in site no. 40 of the North Rim Campground (8,200'). Dayhiked some of the rim trails.
Thursday, August 27. Drove 5 miles to the North Kaibab Trailhead and back to the same camping site. Dayhiked 9.6 miles or so down the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Spring and back to the trailhead (-/+ 3,300').
Friday, August 28. Drove 262 miles from the Grand Canyon to Sedona, Ariz., via Glen Canyon NRA, staying at a hotel in Sedona.
Saturday, August 29. Drove 666 miles from Sedona to Alamogordo, N. Mex., staying at a hotel there.
Sunday, August 30. Explored White Sands NM. Drove 686 miles from Alamogordo to Austin.

This is the rough sketch of where and when I passed by.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

*

oldfatman

  • Guest
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 10:21:33 AM »
WOW

*

Offline Ay Chihuahua!

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 879
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2009, 11:16:31 AM »
No, this tale will surely shrug off structure and order, as surely as the carefully planned itinerary seldom came to pass. It shall unfold like an unruly map, spilling its contents here and there and denying efforts to fold it neatly to a precise place of interest. It shall be long in the telling, befitting the length of its coming and going, filling almost an entire month and pushing away all other parts of the world. Mercurial like the weather, stately like the mountains, rambling like the streams, bursting in dazzling colors like the wildflowers, coyly hiding like the wildlife, these it should be.

Yo, Melville, less syrup, please.  :eusa_pray:

 :rolling:

Seriously, though...looking forward to hearing about your Odyssey.


*

Offline tjavery

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1508
  • foto nut
    • http://www.thomasjavery.com/proj_big_bend
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2009, 11:41:08 AM »
This is the rough sketch of where and when I passed by.

And for the data geeks, here's what Jeff's SPOT was sending out:

Aug 3
Latitude:30.3666
Longitude:-97.7319
Time:08/03/2009 22:30:35 (US/Central)


Aug 5
Latitude:34.2333
Longitude:-102.7368
Time:08/05/2009 21:08:27 (US/Central)


Latitude:35.1545
Longitude:-103.7233
Time:08/05/2009 23:31:23 (US/Central)


Aug 7
Latitude:40.8906
Longitude:-109.5592
Time:08/07/2009 21:11:39 (US/Central)


Aug 8
Latitude:43.8426
Longitude:-110.6126
Time:08/08/2009 19:45:24 (US/Central)


Aug 9
Latitude:44.6451
Longitude:-110.8671
Time:08/09/2009 20:30:39 (US/Central)


Aug 10
Latitude:44.4587
Longitude:-110.8267
Time:08/10/2009 09:26:54 (US/Central)

Latitude:44.6586
Longitude:-111.1032
Time:08/10/2009 13:59:23 (US/Central)


Aug 11
Latitude:43.9845
Longitude:-114.8715
Time:08/11/2009 17:33:58 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.1469
Longitude:-115.1536
Time:08/11/2009 20:58:45 (US/Central)


Aug 12
Latitude:44.1131
Longitude:-115.1407
Time:08/12/2009 12:59:10 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0658
Longitude:-115.1215
Time:08/12/2009 16:19:03 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0391
Longitude:-115.1005
Time:08/12/2009 20:30:10 (US/Central)


Aug 13
Latitude:44.015
Longitude:-115.0545
Time:08/13/2009 12:18:32 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9882
Longitude:-115.0584
Time:08/13/2009 15:57:52 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9549
Longitude:-115.0523
Time:08/13/2009 21:18:30 (US/Central)


Aug 14
Latitude:43.9665
Longitude:-115.0182
Time:08/14/2009 14:05:32 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9667
Longitude:-114.9911
Time:08/14/2009 19:11:13 (US/Central)


Aug 15
Latitude:43.9728
Longitude:-114.9695
Time:08/15/2009 10:50:12 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9622
Longitude:-114.9723
Time:08/15/2009 12:34:48 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9439
Longitude:-114.9607
Time:08/15/2009 16:26:38 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9415
Longitude:-114.9433
Time:08/15/2009 19:20:25 (US/Central)


Aug 16
Latitude:43.9575
Longitude:-114.9237
Time:08/16/2009 10:36:10 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9832
Longitude:-114.8772
Time:08/16/2009 13:54:20 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0285
Longitude:-114.8958
Time:08/16/2009 20:14:42 (US/Central)


Aug 17
Latitude:44.0242
Longitude:-114.9327
Time:08/17/2009 12:49:40 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9975
Longitude:-114.9489
Time:08/17/2009 15:33:44 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9928
Longitude:-114.9527
Time:08/17/2009 19:29:55 (US/Central)


Aug 18
Latitude:43.982
Longitude:-114.9613
Time:08/18/2009 11:25:18 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9728
Longitude:-114.9694
Time:08/18/2009 13:04:48 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9727
Longitude:-114.9926
Time:08/18/2009 15:08:55 (US/Central)


Latitude:43.9988
Longitude:-114.9993
Time:08/18/2009 18:45:08 (US/Central)


Aug 19
Latitude:44.0155
Longitude:-114.9959
Time:08/19/2009 10:19:40 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0315
Longitude:-114.987
Time:08/19/2009 12:23:09 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0703
Longitude:-115.0038
Time:08/19/2009 15:16:11 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.066
Longitude:-115.0202
Time:08/19/2009 18:59:10 (US/Central)


Aug 20
Latitude:44.075
Longitude:-115.0238
Time:08/20/2009 10:45:25 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.0828
Longitude:-115.0305
Time:08/20/2009 12:12:06 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.1335
Longitude:-115.1002
Time:08/20/2009 19:47:09 (US/Central)


Aug 21
Latitude:44.1324
Longitude:-115.1395
Time:08/21/2009 09:56:55 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.1494
Longitude:-115.1509
Time:08/21/2009 10:57:56 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.1604
Longitude:-115.1749
Time:08/21/2009 11:56:44 (US/Central)


Latitude:44.2155
Longitude:-114.9373
Time:08/21/2009 13:32:19 (US/Central)


Aug 22
Latitude:43.6815
Longitude:-114.3659
Time:08/22/2009 17:42:53 (US/Central)


Latitude:42.5892
Longitude:-114.4585
Time:08/22/2009 20:31:56 (US/Central)


Aug 23
Latitude:40.6504
Longitude:-115.4073
Time:08/23/2009 17:39:35 (US/Central)


Latitude:39.2474
Longitude:-114.892
Time:08/23/2009 21:20:18 (US/Central)


Aug 24
Latitude:39.0122
Longitude:-114.3012
Time:08/24/2009 22:02:24 (US/Central)


Aug 25
Latitude:39.0057
Longitude:-114.2197
Time:08/25/2009 10:24:55 (US/Central)


Latitude:37.0341
Longitude:-112.7345
Time:08/25/2009 20:35:56 (US/Central)


Aug 26
Latitude:36.1221
Longitude:-111.9498
Time:08/26/2009 13:22:18 (US/Central)


Latitude:36.2103
Longitude:-112.0594
Time:08/26/2009 21:29:12 (US/Central)


Aug 27
Latitude:36.2106
Longitude:-112.0597
Time:08/27/2009 18:47:35 (US/Central)


Aug 28
Latitude:36.8568
Longitude:-111.6039
Time:08/28/2009 11:41:06 (US/Central)


Latitude:34.8718
Longitude:-111.7595
Time:08/28/2009 19:30:40 (US/Central)


Aug 29
Latitude:34.2538
Longitude:-110.0292
Time:08/29/2009 13:03:19 (US/Central)


Latitude:32.88
Longitude:-105.9594
Time:08/30/2009 00:44:40 (US/Central)


Aug 30
Latitude:31.8465
Longitude:-103.0915
Time:08/30/2009 14:13:07 (US/Central)


Latitude:30.3664
Longitude:-97.7321
Time:08/30/2009 21:13:41 (US/Central)



:icon_biggrin:

*

Offline alcap

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 45
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2009, 12:51:10 PM »
Thanks T.J, thats pretty much all we need. That sure saved Jeff a lot of time writing about his trip.  :icon_lol:
Alcap

*

Offline tjavery

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1508
  • foto nut
    • http://www.thomasjavery.com/proj_big_bend
Re: The Sawtooth Redemption
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 01:42:57 PM »
Thanks T.J, thats pretty much all we need. That sure saved Jeff a lot of time writing about his trip.  :icon_lol:


No problemo. But personally, I'm looking foward to the Melville stuff :icon_wink:

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments