HikingBaron Creek Falls | Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
Karma and I went camping this Fourth of July weekend with some of our friends. We stayed at a spot along the South Fork of the Payette on the road up to Grandjean. On Saturday morning after a lot of coffee to get motivated we drove up to the trailhead at the Grandjean campground. We hiked towards Baron Lakes. Our friends Lee and Abby hiked with us for a couple miles and then turned back. They took Bobeau back with them since he was getting pretty tired and Karma and I were planning a big day ahead of us. Lee and Abby planned on taking Bobeau with them to Bull Trout Lake to go kayaking on the lake. Clancy and Anne were going to meet up with them and go to Bull Trout lake as well. Hank came with us and did really well. We saw a few horses coming down out of the mountains and a couple other hiking parties, but it felt very secluded. We turned East at the confluence of Baron Cr. and the South Fork of the Payette and headed up the wide canyon. Grandjean peak was to our South and there was still snow tucked away in the small areas that were hidden from the sun.
We saw lots of waterfalls cascading down the cliffs above us. We reached the North Fork of Baron Creek and found it a torrent of water. We searched downstream and found a large log to cross the Creek.
Our next water crossing was at Moolack Creek. We found a log upstream of the trail at this crossing.
The trail was covered in thick brush and we were glad that we had worn long pants for the treck. The temperature was a little on the warm side for long pants, but the protection they provided was well worth it.
We found a large tree with some shade and sat down to eat some Gorp and the first our Sandwiches. It was a good break. The only sounds around us were the sounds of birds and water rushing down the mountains. The wildflowers were amazing this time of year. I took photos of many of them that I didnít recognize and some that I did such as Sego Lilies and Indian Paintbrush.
I will try to find the names out of some of the others later. On the way up we could hear woodpeckers pounding away at the surrounding timber. We also saw many trees perforated by their work. It took us about 5 hours to get to the waterfall and it was amazingly loud as we got closer to it. Huge amounts of water were tumbling off the mountains.
We discussed going up to the lakes, but felt a bit exhausted and we were running later than we had planned so we turned around about 7,600 feet in elevation. It looked as if we were about level with the top of the waterfall and after examining the topo map I confirmed our elevation with my watch and GPS and figured we had another 2mi to the lakes. On the way back I pumped purified water into our hydration packs from Baron Creek. We had really gone through a lot of water. We ate the last of our peanut butter sandwiches and almost finished the Gorp. The views in every direction were just awesome! It reminded me of the time I had spent in the Sawtooths with Grandaddy and my Mom and Dad when I was a little kid.
The trek out took us almost 4 hours so we ended up hiking for almost 9 hours straight. Our feet and legs took a bit of a beating between sore muscles and blisters. We stopped at Sacajawea hot springs on the way back to camp to rinse off. We got back into camp around 9:00 at night and made a steak dinner. After dinner we hung around the fire with friends until we couldnít keep our eyes open any longer. We slept outside under the stars and woke in the morning to a squirrel running over our sleeping bags. What a great weekend!