It’s Sawtooths, Part 1


WC spent the weekend in the Sawtooths;1 specifically in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The scenery there is very nearly up to Alaska standards.

Stanley Lake and the Sawtooths at 6:10 AM

Stanley Lake and the Sawtooths at 6:10 AM

The Sawtooths are a chunk of the Idaho batholith that were heavily glaciated during the Wisconsian Glacial Episode. There are lakes created by terminal moraines of long-vanished mountain glaciers. It’s a bit strange to see lateral moraines, kames and eskers covered in sagebrush and bitterbrush. The summits of the peaks of the Sawtooths are often arêtes, rock pinnacles created by glaciers.

Summit Peaks of McGown Peak, 9,860 feet (3,010 m)

Summit Peaks of McGown Peak, 9,860 feet (3,010 m)

Note the vegetation growing almost to the summit, at nearly 10,000 feet. Toto, WC doesn’t think we’re in Alaska any more.

WC and Mrs. WC spent one night on the west side of the Sawtooths, at the headwaters of the South Fork of the Payette River, in Grandjean.

Sawtooth Mountains from the South Fork of the Payette Valley

Sawtooth Mountains from the South Fork of the Payette River Valley

And then spent another night at Stanley Lake, on the east side of the range. Both have their charms: riverside hot springs, spectacular scenery and, alas, hoards of fellow outdoor recreationists. By and incredible stroke of luck, WC scored the best single campsite in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Campsite #4, Lakeview Campground, on Stanley Lake. More typically, on a fine summer weekend would-be campers are greeted by signs like this.

There are dozens of campgrounds; most of them look like this

There are dozens of campgrounds; most of them are packed. The parking lots for trailheads were packed with cars; the trails themselves have very high use. But by blind luck, we got to camp here.

The view from Campsite #4

The view from Campsite #4

Of course, WC was there for the birds, and bird photos were taken, but that will have to be another post.

 


  1. Not Sawteeth. If the plural of mouse is “mice”/Should not the plural of house be “hice”?/And if the plural of goose is “geese”/Should not the plural of moose be “meese”? – The English Lesson. Someday WC will do a post of the vagaries of English plural words. But WC digresses. This time before the end of the first sentence of the blog post. 
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