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Our First Campout! - Sawtooths 2024

This trip has long been in the works and in our conversations since Kaylee and I began dating! I made an effort to show her and a friend these beautiful mountains this winter but of course the peaks were shrouded in clouds. It is difficult to describe the rugged nature of these mountains to those who have never seen them. They are called the Sawtooths for a reason! We had to return in warmer weather.

After a trip to the Boise area, we decided to tack on a night of camping to our trip across the state. From Meridian, the Sawtooths were just under 3 hours away. We arrived 30 minutes before sunset. There is free camping on Forest Service land with exceptions given to a 3-mile long stretch of road near Redfish Lake where official campsites are a bit pricey. After loading up on a few last minute supplies in Stanley, we grabbed a sneak peak at both Little Redfish, and Redfish lakes. We were met with road construction at the junction of the main highway and the road to the lakes. Access to the main parking area, the dog beach, and the trailhead parking lot is unavailable as of writing this. The road is being redone completely, so we could only visit the Redfish Lake Lodge and Little Redfish Lake. Regardless, these two destinations were worth navigating the construction for. The wind has been whipping through Idaho this week, so the lakes weren't calm and glassy like I prefer, however, along our trip we did find a few calm puddles and pools from which we were able to snag a perfect photo or two. Because of the construction and the early travel season, very few people were in the Sawtooth Recreational Area. Only a family and 4 fishermen were at Redfish Lake when we visited Saturday night. The calm was tangible.

We chose to camp further south along the river where several pre-made fire circles were waiting for us. No one else was camping in the area. We cleared out the back of my Rav4, laid blankets and a heat-reflective mat down, then rolled out the winter sleeping bags. For dinner: a Cup of Noodles and a soup with hot chocolate as our beverage. The water, supplied directly from the adjacent river, was boiled over the open fire. It was quaint and perfect. We were camped near a burn scar, so firewood was easy to come by.

The night was cold, but not freezing. We woke at 5 am, packed up a bit, then drove down the road to settle in for the sunrise. Neither Kaylee or I had cell service, so we couldn't remember what time sunrise was set to begin, turns out we could have easily slept another 45 minutes.. Oh well, another lesson for next time! The sunrise was brilliant and bright! The mountains shone red in the morning sun then shifted to yellow then white. With the birds singing all around, we were in heaven.

The animals were out today! From a herd of elk this morning, to dozens of antelope and a few deer throughout our trip, the big game were present and accounted for. Two coyotes lingered in the tall grass and sagebrush fields, Sandhill cranes walked two by two in the marshes and hills, Eagles and hawks hunted for the abundant ground squirrel and chipmunk, and marmots sunned themselves along the roadside. It was a busy day for the wildlife! I had my wide lens on most of today so I missed many photos of the animals, however, below there are a few shots of the antelope and a crane that I managed to grab after changing to my long lens before we left the valley.

We were cold and feeling a bit under the weather this morning, so instead of a hike or relaxing next to one of the many lakes, we chose to instead visit a few key spots like Petit and Alturas lakes, then drove Valley Road before turning south and heading back home through the Galena summit pass.

Though a short trip, we captured memories and moments that will remain with us for ever more. The Sawtooths are a magical place (a personal favorite of mine) and never seem to disappoint! Whether you visit the front country, or the back country, you can be sure to experience wonder and beauty at nearly every turn! Kaylee and I are already planning our next trip back!

Here are a few of the many photos I took this trip, enjoy!

p.s. I am really pleased with a lot of these photos and will likely paint a few of them in the coming months, stay tuned for the results.

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Your Sawtooths trip sounds amazing!! And just what you both needed!!

Yes, your beautiful photos will also make beautiful paintings! 😍 😊

Along with photos, also appreciated is the "visual" through your brought to life descriptive and poetic words from the heart!!

Hopefully you can both carry this experience in your hearts and minds eye with the upcoming days and weeks of being back to life. 😚

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Love, love, LOVE your posts!!

They're SO good!!


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