30-Jul-2002 -- Realizing that this confluence is located in the Sawtooth Wilderness Area surrounded by 10,000+ ft. (3000+ m.) peaks, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. But at least the confluence appeared close to a trail, and having lived in the area a number of years, I knew the area was breathtaking. So we made our plans. Originally we hoped to take horses in, but none were available for the time slot we had. The distances didn’t seem impossible for a three day hike so we ended up buying tons of camping equipment and planning the hike.
We caught the first ferryboat across Redfish Lake in the morning. We had the pleasure to meet Tracy from the USFS on the ferryboat and would run into her repeatedly during our next couple days of camping and hiking. At the end of Redfish Lake, we entered the Sawtooth Wilderness Area and started hiking along Redfish Creek, hiking 7.7 mi. (13 km) and climbing 2000 ft. (840 m) to our planned destination, upper Cramer Lake. Can we say sore? We barely had the energy to make camp and put up the tent. But talk about beautiful solitude!
After nursing our bodies through the night on hard ground, we had our instant egg breakfast and headed out toward the 9500 ft. pass on the way to the confluence by Hidden Lake. Although it would be a 1000 ft. climb each way, it looked like a relatively easy 2 mi. hike. Right! Passing Tracy, who was wielding a shovel doing trail work at 9400 ft, we made our way over the pass and to the confluence – 4 miles later! Finally! But now clouds were blowing in and we didn’t want to be caught this side of the pass from our camp, so we moved quickly to record the confluence and head back over. But it was so beautiful; it was hard to go fast (never mind it was a bit steep too - and it didn't help when I had to double back ½ mi. to retrieve my glasses!) The wild flowers in dark green grass were spectacular color set against the granite and the views were awesome.
Now we were really sore – but buoyed by the thought that the hike out would be downhill, we set off for the Redfish Lake ferry. Hiking out the 7+ miles, I was grateful that I had brought my cheap knockoff sandals from Thailand; they were perfect for the hike since my boots turned out to be too short and my toes were being beaten to pain going downhill. It was an eye-opening transition going back to civilization from our beautiful solitude. Back at the Redfish Lodge general store, we grabbed a couple ice cream bars and collapsed, feeling like aliens as we watched a couple Porsches showboating for the beach people. We had just come back from a different world.