The Sawtooths have a special place in my heart for many reasons. In 1971 I worked for the U.S. Forest Service out of the Challis National Forest Ranger Station in Stanley. I was the first wilderness ranger for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The new ranger station had just been completed in its present location.
While waiting for the backcountry snow to melt off the pack trails leading to a small cabin across the Middle Fork from Indian Creek Landing Strip, I helped landscape the new ranger station grounds and also accompanied John Rember, the wilderness ranger for the Sawtooth Wilderness, on trips into the Sawtooths. Back then there were few hikers and backpackers, especially deep into the mountains. I instantly fell in love with the ruggedness and solitude of the Sawtooths.
In 1976 I married my sweetheart, Lesa, already an avid backpacker. In 1978 we began backpacking throughout the Sawtooths, starting early in the season at lower elevation trails and lakes.