Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cracking Open the Eastern Pioneers

I've lived in the Wood River Valley for a little over five years now and, sad to say, before this weekend hadn't made the relatively short trip over the Trail Creek dirt road pass to explore the Eastern Pioneer Mountains.  For being so close to the Sun Valley area, just 20 - 30 miles, it offers some of the most remote and spectacular trails the area has to offer.  And save a few select hot spots, it's hard to tell the difference between rush hour and non-rush hour trail traffic, it's typically so quiet.

And this is exactly what I found when I stole away for a couple hours during a family camping trip this weekend to Wildhorse Creek for a trip up to Boulder Lake - a modest, 8 mile (2,300 feet vert) run.  It's an out-and-back, with a loop option to Devils Bedstead only if you have your climbing gear, and it offers a great variety of terrain - steep climbs punctuated by Alpine meadows and mellow ascents, and a quarter mile scree scramble to the lake itself, which sits against near-vertical rock walls.

It was great to finally break the seal on this area of trail.  Like a new convert, I feel drunk with the possibilities but sobered by the press of summer's short play now that I know what I've been missing.

Some photos.

Trailhead.  About 5.5 miles out Wildhorse Creek Rd.
Opening steps - through the creek (no logs or bridge) and a sage meadow
Steep switchbacks with some great views
Open meadow at 9,200 feet.  Getting close to the scree and the lake

Boulder Lake
Back down, near trailhead.  Hyndman and Old Hyndman peaks in the distance


Vava said...

Man, that looks amazing! I am very envious as I have no access to such natural beauty and am forced to run through the urban landscape.

Hank Dart said...

I've put in a lot of time in the urban landscapes as well, but sure feel lucky to have such great access to the backcountry.