In Hope I Byde

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pettit-Toxaway Loop, September 5-7, 2012

Pettit-Toxaway Loop

This is a classic backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains. The 18-mile loop begins and ends at Pettit Lake, a large moraine lake on the valley floor. The loop encounters all the features that have made the Sawtooths famous: toothed peaks, glacial boulders, large and small mountain lakes, avalanche runs, talus slides, granite cliffs, mountain meadows, waterfalls, cascading streams, and dense stands of lodgepole pine.

I've been meaning to do this trip for some time, and have previously planned and left for the Sawtooths in an effort to hike it but things got in the way.  I guess I always assumed that it wouldn't go anywhere and that I would perhaps find a time when the crowds wouldn't be a problem.

Greg approached me about doing the trip the first week of September with him and Bill.  Scheduling wise it worked out great since Mandy and the kids would be back in school after the Labor Day break so we began to make plans.

The summer of 2012 was a bad one for fires, and for a good portion of August and September the entire Sawtooth/Stanley Valley was nothing but smoke.  As we drove into Stanley on the morning of the 5th the visibility on Hwy. 21 was only 1/4 of a mile and looked like heavy, heavy fog.  Once we turned south on Hwy. 75 the smoke began to dissipate and was almost gone when we reached the Pettit Lake trailhead.

Greg, Bill and Bill's dog Enzo.

We had several discussions on whether to start towards
Toxaway or Alice first.  I had read recommendations that
Toxaway was the better choice so that's what we did.

Pettit Lake

This sign caused me some serious frustration and a couple
of extra miles hiking. Normally I am pretty observant
while hiking but Greg informed me I missed this sign for Edna
Lake, and since I like sign photos I ran back a couple
of hundred yards to find it.  Lost track of Greg and Bill on the
way back and ended up walking back and forth for two
miles until I found them.

Had to borrow Brad's underquilt for this trip, I
was worried that my 3/4 UQ wouldn't be enough
for September temps.

Campsite at Toxaway.  Quite possibly the flattest, and most
grassy sites I've ever stayed at.  I spent a lot of time laying
on the grass and stretching.

Bill slept outside with Enzo both nights.

Greg's dog Lola and Enzo playing.

First opportunity to see a Steripen in use.

Left Toxaway and entered Snowyside Pass on our
way to Twin Lakes.

Greg went on a head and had to wait for Bill and I.
It was pretty windy and we all ended up putting on
our rain jackets to cut to nip in the air.

On the other side of this ledge was Twin Lakes.  

Enzo found this part of the trail to be terrifying.  It took
all three of us to pull him through.  It was difficult enough
that we contemplated turning back.  Enzo is a really large
and strong dog, the thought of him, or anyone of us
going over the edge while pulling him along was a
very distinct possibility.  Bill pulled his collar, I pushed
his body up against the hillside, and Greg controlled
his tail.  It was the only way.

Bill slept outside again on his stone bed.

View down the canyon from Twin Lakes to Alice Lake.

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