Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mail Cabin Canyon

I went hiking up Mail Cabin canyon from the highway. Here's a view of Windy Ridge, 3 miles from the road, that we ski in the winter. Wanted to follow the trail on up to its junction with the Mike Harris trail, and follow that on south to Mosquito Pass to link up with Saturday's hike. I stopped a half-mile short of Mosquito Pass because I didn't see any need to drop down 500 feet to the Pass, only to turn around and hike back up to where I was.

Seems this week has been sponsored by the letter 'M'. First Mosquito Pass on Saturday, then the Mike Harris trail to Oliver Peak on Monday, and today Mail Cabin Canyon and the Mike Harris trail to Mosquito Creek drainage.

Trip details and more photos at EveryTrail

The trail junction with the Mike Harris trail is not where it is shown on my quadrangle map (Palisades Peak, 1966) or on my TopoUSA software. I spent some time looking for the ridgeline trail that runs south from the saddle at elev 8620 and found no sign of it. The only trail I found is the one shown by the black GPS track outline here. The section of green-and-gray dashed trail was nowhere to be found. Click map to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday

The weather forecast wasn't all that great, but the actual weather sure looked good. Eric and I went mountain biking on a Cache Creek - Game Creek loop, first time either of us had ridden the Game Creek trail since it had been rebuilt last year. (Kind of lame that it's the end of July and we're finally getting a Cache-Game ride in!)  The new trail is nice, not as exciting as the old one but also not as dangerous.

Going for a multi-sport day, Eric suggested a late afternoon kayak trip down Alpine Canyon. I didn't have that much energy, so we did an evening raft trip instead. Dropped off a vehicle at the South Park bridge, picked up the raft, bought some sandwiches for dinner, launched from Wilson bridge at six o'clock straight up, and landed at South Park about 8:45 using just about all the available daylight. The fishing was slow, but it was a lovely evening to be on the water. Lots of new snags this year in that stretch of the Snake River!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oliver Peak

Another place that has been on my list for years, but never got there for whatever reason. Guy, Janet, and I went out for this pretty easy hike from Mike Harris campground to the top of Oliver Peak. Five miles and 2400' vertical, good trail except for the final few hundred feet of elevation gain; that part is off-trail, a little bit steep, through a open hillside with sagebrush and whatever else.

We spent a few minutes trying to find the trail down into Elbow Fork of Palisades Creek. The topo maps show it, and there is a forest service trail sign nailed to a tree, but no evidence of the trail itself. Apparently it doesn't get much use...

Trip details at EveryTrail

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A glassy day on Jackson Lake

Hmm, the weather forecast is for 85 degrees, sunny, and calm... a perfect day to take the sea kayak out on Jackson Lake.  This time I put in at the Signal Mountain ramp, paddled over to Hermitage Point, clockwise back around past the dam, then past the Signal Mountain ramp a couple miles down to South Landing. 14 miles in all. The lake was like glass most of the day, and the water temperature is 70 degrees in the shallows near shore, so perfect for a refreshing swim.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mosquito Pass and more

Looking east from Mosquito Pass (8310'). The trail sign is for the trail that runs along the divide from Mail Cabin summit to Mosquito Pass and south to Mud Peak and Mud Pass, etc. The trail down to Mosquito Creek is immediately behind the sign, though you can't see it in this picture.

I've been wanting to get up here for many years, but never made it for one reason or another. The trail is well-maintained for the first couple miles of trail from the end of the road, but the remaining 3 miles or so to the Pass have not been maintained in quite a while. Lots of downed trees, overgrown stretches, etc. I'm glad I didn't try it on a mountain bike, it would not have been fun. The lower two miles had evidence of regular horseback usage, but the upper trail didn't appear to have been used in quite some time; the only tracks I saw were elk and deer. On a gorgeous sunny Saturday in late July, I didn't see another soul, just a couple of elk. Wow. The wildflowers were spectacular.

I hiked the trail south from the Pass, wanted to find the junction with the trail that comes up from the East Fork of Palisade Creek. I didn't find any marked trail junction, or any other well-defined trail, but I think I found a good candidate. Guess I'll just have to come up the East Fork and find it that way.

Trip details at EveryTrail

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jackson Lake - Spalding Bay to Bearpaw Bay

An absolutely gorgeous summer day in Jackson Hole, clear skies and practically calm winds... time to get out the sea kayak! I paddled from Spalding Bay over to Bearpaw Bay, not a long paddle but a nice start to the season. Also did a short hike from the lake over to a smaller unnamed lake; it turns out to be connected to Jackson Lake as a lagoon when the lake is full like it is now. Water temperature was 65 degrees in the shallows near shore.

Trip details at EveryTrail

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Phelps Lake tour

Jill, Katie, and I decided to go for a hike around Phelps Lake. Unfortunately the parking lot at the Rockefeller Preserve was full with a line of cars waiting!  So we drove to the Death Canyon trailhead, hiked up to the Phelps overlook, down to the lake and out the north shore to the road, and then followed the road back around to the trailhead.  The wildflowers are looking good, it's still too soon for huckleberries, and Death Canyon looks as beautiful as ever. We stopped for lunch at the jumping rock on Phelps Lake; we didn't jump in (brrrr!) but a few other people did.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gates of Lodore

Yay, a river trip with Jill, Katie, and Eric (and Dave, Petra, Matt, Mike, Keener, Chris, Dan, Julie, and Steve). Eric won in the lottery for a Gates of Lodore permit, on the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument. Four days on the river, gorgeous scenery, good friends, good weather... hard to beat!

I'll post other photos to a Picasa album when I have more time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Upper Palisades Lake

Hard to believe that I've lived the last thirty-plus years within an hour's drive of this trailhead, and had never hiked all the way in to Upper Palisades Lake. I decided it was time to change that, so did a solo overnight backpack trip. Lots of people and horses on the trail inbound and outbound, but nobody else at the lake overnight. The weather was perfect.

Upper Palisades Lake, Idaho at EveryTrail