We could have chosen the "family friendly" hike to Bent Lakes, but the guy at the Redfish Lake general store said we looked adventurous and recommended Alpine Lake, a mere 11 miles round trip. You take a shuttle across the lake to the trailhead, and we just needed to be back by 5pm to catch the return shuttle. Sounds great.
Shockingly, this hike didn't destroy our legs from the outset, probably because we've been PUSHING OUR FULLY LOADED BICYCLES UP MOUNTAINS for a week. We don't carry real hiking shoes on tour so we were in our bike shoes but they were sufficient, mostly. And we started our climb.
Idaho is a rugged place. No chill, really.
These mountains are called the Sawtooths.
Look how this river will kill you if you fell in it.
The scenery really got pretty about two thirds of the way up.
But with alpine lakes there's always a mystery. You're like where is this lake???
And then you walk up a million switchbacks and you're still like where is this thing???
And then somehow the ground flattens out and up in the middle of these big tall mountains there is a freezing lake.
This one had a dramatic amount of ice. Didn't stop Travis from cannonballing! He's a tiny speck in the lower right.
The water looked so inviting I couldn't help a dive.
It is so cold I felt like I would die instantly and swallowed a ton of water as I coughed and sputtered my way to land. Everything dries instantly here, and I might have explained how intense the sun is.
What took us 4.5 hours to climb took 2 hours to descend, and we caught the 5pm shuttle just in time.
There was music and margs back at the lodge, and we read books and relaxed before returning to our dust camp. We even took it easy the next morning and had a real breakfast with real coffee at the lodge, took a morning swim, and finally left Redfish Lake. It was nice to start our next journey with a layer of dust removed.