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Returning to the Sawtooths By Lisa Richmond

My husband and I “discovered” the Sawtooths and the Stanley Basin in 1976 while he was stationed in Idaho Falls with the Navy. A friend recommended that we visit the area. It was our first summer as husband and wife, living in an area we were unfamiliar with, and we had no idea what we would see.

Little Redfish Lake with Mt. Heyburn in the background

I remember that moment when we came around a bend of Highway 75, coming from Challis, and got our first view of the Sawtooth Mountains. It literally took my breath away. I was sure that I had never seen anything so magnificent and beautiful. During the brief time that we lived in Idaho, we visited the Sawtooths as often as possible, camping (Little Redfish Lake was a particular favorite!), hiking, taking in beautiful vistas, and letting the beauty of the place soak deep into our bones.

Fishhook Creek

In 1978 my husband was transferred to South Carolina and we had to leave Idaho and the Sawtooths behind. It was almost a decade before we were able to move permanently to the Northwest, and our first order of business was to return to the Sawtooths. Since then, we have often returned and hiked new trails and revisited old favorite sites.

Alice Lake
On the dock at Redfish Lake Lodge. Fishhook Creek.

This beautiful country is the home of my heart. Whenever we return, and I see those mountains, my heart fills and overflows with love for this rugged and sublime country. As soon as we have to leave, I begin to look forward to when we can return.

(Cover photo is Alice Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness; all photos by the Richmonds)