Backpacking Idaho: From Alpine Peaks to Desert Canyons
by Douglas Lorain (Wilderness Press)
© 2015 Douglas Lorain/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.
50+ mile (6 day/5 night) backpacking traverse of the Lost River Range (Loristica camp ground to highway 93 over Leatherman Pass). My son and I did not see anyone for the first 4 days and then less than a handful of other hikers. It was quite a difficult trip gaining over 18,000 feet (including day hikes). First day we hiked to Shadow Lakes. The hike from the ridge down into Shadow Lakes can only be done safely in the position described in the book. There is not much of a trail and you should be comfortable using a compass, gps, and topographical map. It rained every afternoon. Second day we followed Heli Canyon down and then the trail to Swauger Lakes. We traversed over and then up Dry Creek and went over Dry Creek Pass. We camped by the East Fork of the Pahsimeroi River right below the north face of Mount Breitenbach. We saw a lone wolf as we were finding a suitable location to camp. Third day we followed the East Fork of the Pahsimeroi river to the West Fork. We followed the west fork up until we reached the Merriam Lake trail. We camped at Merriam Lake and stayed there our fourth day. Fourth day we had some time to explore above Merriam Lake where we found a beautiful delta and an unnamed lake. We lived with three bighorn sheep (rams) for a day. Fifth day we followed the West Fork of the Pahsimeroi River further up and camped at Pass Lake. We had some time to explore above Pass Lake and went into a good-sized snow bank where we slid down after reaching a ridge at about 11,500 feet (we got enough cell phone coverage to text my wife to tell her we were cutting our trip short by a day and that she needed to pick us up the next day on highway 93). Sixth day we backpacked over Leatherman Pass and down Sawmill Gulch to highway 93. I thought that it would be easy for us after getting over Leatherman Pass, but the trail disappeared in Sawmill Gulch and we had a hard time of it. The gulch is steep and had lots of vegetation around the stream.
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