After my second visit to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, I'm passionately in love with this area of the country. The landscape is just beautiful. Rolling hills, leading to jagged mountain peaks, with alpine lakes nestled among them. The land is largely untouched, with hiking trails, hot springs, rivers, and lakes everywhere. Lots of recreation. After my first visit last year, I had decided I wanted to come back. With my son graduating high school, and my brother retiring from the military, I decided it would be a good time for a family trip. I especially wanted to spend time with son before he heads off to Boston University in the fall.
The one thing I really wanted to do was to hike to Sawtooth Lake. The hike is about 5 miles to the lake, and 5 miles back, give or take. After a few side trips off the main trail, our total hike was about 11 miles. We also gained about 1800 feet in elevation, so it was like climbing A LOT of stairs. My brother, having been in the army, was used to a lot of walking, but I was a little worried about my son. He's done some hiking, but I wasn't sure how much and I was afraid this hike might push him a little. Thankfully, he handled it just great and wow, was it worth it! There were spectacular panoramic views around every turn, as the peaks of the Sawtooths towered over us on all sides.
I had decided we wanted to hit the trail early, as it's a popular trail and I wanted to be well on our way before it got crowded. Also, the temperatures were supposed to hit at least 90ºF, but only be in the 40's at sunrise, so it seemed wise to hike in the early part of the day. We arrived at the trailhead at about 5:20am, and were well up the trail by sunrise at 6 or so. The air was cool and crisp and there was no other sound except the songs of birds and the rustle of aspen leaves in the wind.