On my first trip with the Outdoor Idaho crew, I was as high as I’ve ever been. Literally.
The Pahsimeroi base camp, on the back side of the Lost River Range, sits at 8,200 feet. And then the climbing begins: to Merriam Lake, Pass Lake, the lake at the base of Mt. Borah, and a host of other no-name lakes.
Route along West Pashimeroi River to trailhead. Photo by Jim Hadley.
But to get there is a real experience! You turn onto Doublespring Road (NF 116). The sign at the turnoff to NF 117 says “High clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles only. No trailers allowed.” And, boy, do they mean it!
Some of the “trail” obstacles. Photo by Jay Krajic.
The last 20 miles takes nearly four hours, because positioning wheels around and over large boulders and washes in the route slows things to a crawl.
That was the end to our first day.
The next morning the hike into Merriam Lake was a solitary experience, in part because I am not a morning person. The rest of the “team” had already left, eager to greet the punishment ahead. But they did call out a cheery “The trail is pretty well defined, you’ll be OK, won’t you?”
Outlet of Merriam Lake. Photo by Jim Hadley.
As I made my way up the trail, I pondered if they would have to subtitle the show “Land Where We Lost Idaho PTV’s Graphic Designer.” I found I was also hampered by the altitude and accompanying constant panting and frequent stops, being really out of shape. My last serious backpacking trip was 45 years ago, with my dad. And I would have to pick the highest mountain range in Idaho as a reintroduction!