Red Fish Lake Trip Report - Scott Hallenberg - Full-time Photographer | Surf and Snow Country Images (Everyday)

NO VENOMOUS SNAKES !!!!

After a few months with adventure glamping trips to deserts locations, during the month of June, I began making the transition to mountain locations. Certainly there are many different considerations when camping and hiking among the aspens, spruce and pine than in red rock country. Layers of tech clothing, (i.e. shell’s, puffies, wool blankets, come to mind for those potentially chilly nights.) When towing Louise, !966 Airstream Caravel, we had to decide when it was safe to de-winterize the fresh water system. In most parts of the country, June is a pretty safe month, but at elevation, the weather can change on a dime.

Our first trip was to the Sawtooth mountains in central Idaho. We left Utah with day time temps in 80s, and arrived just north of Ketchum to find a spot in the woods near the Big Wood River. This was a great spot with close to proximity to hiking and biking trails and for a quick trip back into Ketchum, simply because it’s one of favorite ski towns that is doubly awesome in the summer time, with terrific coffee shops, restaurants gear stores, and home to one of favorite outdoor magazines, Big Life. We had had reservations at the Glacier View Campground at Red Fish Lake the following night so this was just a quick stop, which easily could have been a much longer stay.  

After a beautiful hike early Saturday morning with our pup Willy who enjoyed a numerous water crossings, shady trails, and wide open meadows, we grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee in town before packing our camp site just ahead of the 1:00 departure time. We headed north towards Stanley over the spectacular Galena pass.

We found our assigned camp spot having made reservations six months earlier and were happy with the views, space and proximity to The Red Fish Lodge. Admittedly, the Lodge as more of at throw-back resort feel than a “roughing it feel” but with pretty much zero cell service and epic hiking trails, we find that it’s a perfect mix of civilization and rugged bear and backcountry. We stopped in the Red Fish Ranger Station to check status of the trails where I noticed a sign, that stated there were no poisonous snakes in the Saw Tooth Mountains but did have some advice for bear and cat encounters. We were happy to find the trails we wanted to hike on this trip were open and got a few ideas for future trips.

Kicking back with terrific in terrific campsite

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The first day we hiked to the Bench Lakes where most of the trail led us through shady pines a small stream crossing perfect for a black dog. As we got the spine we had views of Red Fish Lake to the South and an jagged range to the north characteristic of the aptly named Saw Tooth Mountains. The Bench Lakes consists of four high alpine lakes where we easily could have spend the entire afternoon exploring.

That night we experienced freezing temps into the high 20s. We woke up to a lazy morning of reading books and drinking delicious coffee, love the aero press, in the toasty confines of Louise with heated with a marine grade furnace we recently installed. The Cozy Cabin produces a comfortably consistent ambient temperature. It’s piped into our propane system and vents outside. However, it uses the cabin air for combustion so we open window which also manages any condensation we might generate. Later, we drove into Stanley for a look around as a wave of sleet and snow flurries filled the air…yes we had to remind ourselves it was June. I really like Stanley but never seem to spend enough time checking things out. It has a cool vibe, nice people, and it’s economy seem driven by the tourist industry, particularly white water rafting on the Salmon. We heard from our camp neighbors there are several terrific restaurants in town so next time we’ll be sure to spend more time checking out what Stanley has to offer and hopefully venture along the Salmon River to the Challis area.

Days of Hiking

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Our next hike was to Marshall Lake. The trail report emphasized how the journey was more important than the end result. It was a bit longer and steeper than our previous hike with several downed trees that we stepped over or stepped around. We were impressed with Willy’s ability to navigate the trees as we realized how spoiled we are with our home trails were even the “wild trails” are quite manicured. The view going up the trail was no less spectacular as gained new vantage point of the Sawtooth Range. As the trail report eluded, the end of the hike was at Marshall Lake but it was heavily wooded with fast moving water so it was difficult to see or explore. On our way back down the trail we were treated to wide view of the White Cloud Peaks.

As our campsite was without services, the Inergy Kodiak came in handy to keep our computers and camera going without a hitch. We were also able to top of Louise’s house batteries too. We could easily extend our stay with this arrangement. A few weeks after this trip I was meeting with Overland Retailer near Denver and had the opportunity to pass through Rocky Mountain National Park which contain paved roads above 12,000 feet. I know people struggle with their traditional gas generators at elevation as the thin air is difficult to combust and if it even works, the power output is greatly reduced. I’m happy to report, the Inergy Kodiak goes anywhere and rocks it; all with renewable inputs, quiet operations, and consistent power delivery while consuming less space and weight.

Adventures back in Utah with a quick pass through Rocky Mountain National Park, too

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While our Red Fish Lake trip was way too short with some unseasonable weather, we were happy to make it and plan to return next year. During our drive back we had lunch in Sun Valley and listed a few improvements we wanted to make for Louise in time for our next local trip the following weekend. This time we were just doing an overnight at Smith and Moorehouse situated east of Oakley, UT on the edge of the Uinta Mountains, near the origin of the Weber River contained in the Smith and Moorehouse reservoir.   The snowpack from the Uinta Mountain range provides the major  water source for Utah's population as it  is the origin of  the Bear River, Weber River, Provo River and the Duschene River while also containing over 400 lakes and ponds!  This trip was particularly nice as we were able to let Willy do a little swimming in the Reservoir as temps weren’t as chilly as Red Fish and we set up the Springbar Canvas Tent as we had a terrific wooded spot nestled among a few Aspen and Pines.

This trip was nice as we were able to let Willy do a little swimming in the Reservoir as temps weren’t as chilly as Red Fish and we set up the Springbar Canvas Tent as we had a terrific wooded spot nestled among a few Aspen and Pines.


Some of the Essential Gear:

The Inergy Kodiak continues to deliver reliable quite power, so we don’t need a traditional Generator. It’s smaller, lighter, and quieter. We can use it to charge our airstream and can use it inside the airstream which is a terrific benefit over a gas generator especially during inclement weather.

The Rockagator back pack and duffle bag are terrific and holding up great, keeping gear and clothing dry.

The Olukai footwear, especially at camp can’t be beat. The slipper or what I call camp mocs are perfect for chilly mornings and cool nights. The leather flip flops are so comfortable and perfect after long hikes and for sitting in front of the campfire.

Of course the Springbar small totes are a stylish way to transport food and bottles of wine and the Classic Jack tent is not only well designed and functional but adds and ambience to any adventure glamping site.

New on these two trips we tested some Praise Cheezus which really allowed us to see the light. These are prepare meals that warm in a pot of boiling water that services too. We found they were the perfect dish after a day of long hilly hiking as they were easy to prepare and completely hit the spot, These meals paired perfectly with our Maipe Malbec box wine, surprisingly practical while perhaps appearing a little less than classy. Both will likely be staples for future glamping adventures.


I hope you will  check out my other trip reports and my “Gallery and Wall Art” galleries. Any purchases made will support future projects and a portion of proceeds going to worthy causes.  If I can answer any questions, please let me know (scott.hall.images@gmail.com).  


Adventure On Friends, Adventure On!!

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