View from Fox Peak ridgeline over burnt area (some new growth coming through)
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title
Bit concerning as we could not find the trail head for the Easley Gultch path we wanted to take. later found out that you need to access it from a road that goes through some privately owned cabins.
So instead we drove up Baker Creek (poor RV very rutted road so had to take our white beastie very slowly to prevent it from being shaken to bits,) and parked in a camp area, opposite a road which we hiked up to the ridge. Initially it was a bit of a slog with no views and the feeling of being on a dirt road in a plantation type pine forest. However after about an hour we got high enough for the views to open up and the forest to thin out a bit. We then had a lovely hike to the base of Fox Peak. No real snow around but we did find a couple of streams which we will be able to refill at when we are doing our backpack. We then had a choice to make, go back the way we had come or make a loop trail incorporating Oregon Ridge summit trail and then a descent via Alden Gultch, a couple of miles longer. Decided on the latter.
Hike along the ridgeline was very pretty despite the recent burn a couple of years back we think which burnt all the trees and has left the landscape full of blacked snags. Saw lots of animal footprints, including we think a mountain lion, deer and bighorn sheep or possibly a mountain goat! Also saw a woodpecker pecking for grubs in a tree and a really beautiful small yellow bird with a red head as well as a blue bluebird which is the Idaho State bird.Could not find the trail marker for Alden Gultch which was in retrospect a bit of a giveaway. We were looking for the trail and came across it very easily. The trail itself is unmaintained and very faint in places. As we dropped lower it became quite overgrown and in a couple of weeks with the new spring growth will be largely obscured.
The difficulties really only started when we had to cross the river. We had our new plastic river shoes (another excellent Walmart purchase) which worked really well, soles did not slip at all on the wet rocks even in strong current – water was very cold. The path then became very eroded as sections of the river bank had collapsed and there were lots of tree snags to navigate our way round. Tried to cross the river in my boots and managed to fully immerse my foot! Couple more crossings to go, moved back to my river shoes for one of those. Tried (successfully with only a couple of scratches) to bum hop across a newly fallen tree trunk -felt very precarious, thankfully Mike was carrying the pack at this point, and then one last crossing balancing across a log. Was very glad to get back to the road where we saw the trail sign had been taken down and laid at the foot of the trail – assume this means it is closed?
Decided to camp where we had parked, lovely site and Mike spotted an Osprey soaring above us – bino’s came into their own and we could see its cream underside with we think golden tail feathers. Also saw a large mule buck in the meadow whilst we were eating dinner. Photo is of a younger one we also saw
Epic day, 5500 feet of ascent and 19 miles of hiking. Glad tomorrow is a ‘rest’ day driving to Driggs where we will spend the next couple of days.