Our Respects to Granite
Copyright © 2006
by Richard S. Platz, All
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Ward Lake Backpack
Trinity Alps Wilderness
August 2-7, 2005
"Why are you here, old man?"
High atop the Trinity Alps chessboard, the pieces
move at a geological pace. Granite plays white, Peridotite red.
A white bishop, Caribou Mountain, guards the northeastern flank
of Thompson Peak and Wedding Cake, Granite's king and queen.
Across the Salmon River Valley looms the red queen, Red Rock
Mountain, spearheading the attack of ultramafic forces massed
in the Swift Creek drainage. At the head of Swift Creek the
Granite king's rook, Black Mountain, wearing a crown of black
schist, has broken through into enemy territory and glowers
at the red queen across Kidd Creek's stark upper canyon. Beneath
them metasedimentary rubble strews the battlefield. If a man
could scrabble these massive stone pieces for a thousand lifetimes,
then might he begin to perceive the progress of the game.
Red Rock and Black Mountains each cradle an alpine
lake. Behind the red mountain's eastern cloak lies 7040-foot
Landers Lake. Black Mountain's exposed eastern arm embraces
Ward Lake at 7140 feet. The previous month we had climbed more
than 3000 feet and eight miles up the rusty rock of Swift and
Landers Creeks to Landers Lake. Now it was time to pay our respects
I had been to Ward Lake twice, Barbara once. Our
trip there together was in 1995, a nine-day expedition up Swift
Creek. From our base camp at Mumford Meadow, we dayhiked to
Landers, Horseshoe, and Ward Lakes before climbing into Bear
Basin (where we encountered a bear), over the Deer Creek divide,
around Seven Up Peak, and out through Granite Lake. On the fourth
day, tired from the previous day's scramble into Landers Lake,
we ascended the granite headwall to Horseshoe Lake, then in
late afternoon continued on to Ward. Tired and anxious to return
to camp before dark, we sojourned at the water's edge only briefly,
watching a bald eagle carve its signature across the blue sky.
My first experience of Ward Lake had been a two-day
trudge up Swift Creek with Mr. Popper and Douglas for the 17th
Annual Spring Acid Backpack Trip in June 1988. Pressing ahead
alone early the second morning, I endured unexpected dizziness
and leg cramps as I broke a trail through the drifted snow to
the prime campsite on the southwest shore of the lake. I was
soon joined by Bruce, another member of the expedition, who
"popped over" the short way from Big Flat via Kidd
Creek. Stricken with a severe cold, I laid around Ward camp
aching and mopping my nose. Ever since, I had yearned to try
the "pop-over" route from Big Flat.
In preparation for our July backpack we telephoned
the Weaverville Ranger Station to inquire about the Kidd Creek
route. The ranger cautioned us that the trail at the head of
Kidd Creek lay beneath serious snowpack and Ward might still
be frozen. Landers, we were told, thawed quicker, though the
trail there might be buried under patches of snow. So Landers
became our July destination. We crossed no snow. Those little
rangers are courteous and helpful, bless their hearts, but they
do tend to err on the side of caution.
By August we were ready to take on Kidd Creek.
In the furnace of mid-summer we drove to Big Flat. We bought
sandwiches at the Forest Deli before motoring 18 miles up rough,
single-lane Coffee Creek Road as it climbed 2500 feet, arcing
like a meat hook into the heart of the Trinity Alps. Accessible
by passenger car, Big Flat Campground is a popular place, with
trails threading out into the wilderness like dendrites from
an excited neuron. The campground was pretty full, but we had
the good luck of finding a fine campsite on the bluff overlooking
the Salmon River. A large trail crew was camped to the west,
and we wandered over to ask about the danger of bears in the
"Whut bears?" the crusty trail boss
wanted to know as he sharpened his axe on a whetstone.
A host of voices kept screaming "Wally"
or "Willy" or "Woody" over and over until
the shrieking became needles of irritation. A young woman stopped
by our camp to explain that her group had lost her little dog,
and had we seen it? She shared elaborate stories of the pet's
appearance, character, ancestry, and bowel habits until our
neighborly grins had frozen painfully on our faces. The caterwauling
finally quieted down when someone captured the cursed little
beast around dusk. Fortunately, such loud and clueless persons
tend to cluster like suckling piglets around their motor vehicles
and do not ordinarily vex the back country. In anticipation
of an early start, we loaded our backpacks after dinner and
left them under a tarp atop the picnic table, built a small
fire, and when it was decently dark, turned in.
On Wednesday we arose early, ate our oatmeal,
and finished stuffing our backpacks. We strapped them in place
at 7:45 a.m. and, as usual, they seemed inexplicably heavy.
A sign marked the trailhead for Ward Lake at the parking area,
but we bypassed it. Instead, we crunched up the loose gravel
road to a locked steel gate blocking the road to privately owned
Josephine Lake. Unpleasant signs warned that passage along the
road was WITH PERMISSION ONLY. Apparently the unauthorized were
supposed to take the trail from the parking area, which dropped
100 feet to a wet crossing of the Salmon River, meandered along
its western bank for two miles, then recrossed the river just
before rejoining the road. Two unnecessary river fords was ridiculous.
Tyranny less onerous has spurred the meek to insurrection. We
opted for the reasonable, even tread of the well-graded road
and stepped defiantly around the gate. If our actions bought
stern prison sentences, so be it.
road followed the east bank high above the Salmon River, meandering
the valley floor through a tall mixed-fir forest. We had calculated
the road to be flat as it rose toward the river's source in
the box canyon walled by Black Mountain on the left, Caribou
Mountain on the right, and the Sawtooth Ridge dead ahead. Instead,
the route undulated irritatingly through shallow valleys, rises,
and washes. The Hansel and Gretel forest offered only momentary
glimpses of the stark granite of Caribou Mountain across the
river. After an hour we were growing weary of our heavy packs.
More than two miles from the gate a cairn of large
stones marked the proper trail's return from its watery crossing.
We dropped our packs for a short bathroom break and breakfast
bar. In the brush near the junction we found a fallen trail
sign advertising Kidd Creek to be one mile, Ward Lake four,
and Swift Creek five. The trail left the road for good, diverging
at a shallow angle as it began to climb the northwest slope
of Black Mountain. Another spur road pierced the forest almost
to our trail, and here and there we could make out a cabin or
small house on the large forested lots scattered below as we
gradually withdrew from civilization. The ascent was moderate,
and at last we came to a trail junction. The sign pointed left
to Ward Lake and straight ahead to the Sawtooth Ridge.
Turning left, we immediately arrived at a wide,
rocky gully all strewn with a rich mix of river-rounded metasedimentary
boulders and cobbles, many interlaced with cryptic intrusions
as indecipherable as ancient runes. Surely this rocky wash was
too large for the little stream that babbled happily at the
bottom like an infant cooing from a fold in its father's great
bed. We easily stepped across Kidd Creek on dry rocks. Boulders
and scoured slopes testified to the torrent this creek might
become when it grew high and angry. Climbing the south bank
of the wash, we at last encountered the wilderness boundary
The trail cut east up the moderate slope of a
moraine forested with tall Douglas and white fir. Colorful rocks
and cobbles littered the ground. Massive rounded boulders stood
sentry among the sturdy trunks. The trail switched-back to the
north, almost to the gorge down which we heard, but could not
see, Kidd Creek cascading. The canyon was bordered with open
meadows scoured clear of trees by avalanches. The path then
cut back south to climb increasingly steeply. Behind us, like
sunlight on sunburned shoulders, we could feel massive Caribou
mountain, and blinding visions of its slickrock granite flashed
through the trees. Before long we passed above a steep-roofed
cabin and a few outbuildings, the last of the private inholdings
on the edge of the wilderness. The trail then got serious, switching
back and forth up the steepening moraine.
As the climb become a drudge, we emerged onto
an open outcropping of twisted metasedimentary basement rock
through which pale intrusions wound like taffy. Across the valley,
unveiled at last, majestic Caribou Mountain loomed, its worn
and fractured granite sinews bulged like those of a vital beast,
a sash of green forest draped from its left shoulder. Pausing
for awhile, we traced the Caribou Lakes trail as it climbed
to a forested saddle to the north and located the rugged chasm
harboring privately-owned Josephine Lake. The lake was for sale.
That such beauty could be bought and sold, possessed as a private
bauble by the rich, seemed a bizarre obscenity, an offense against
nature. We rested awhile and absorbed the vista.
Turning back to the mountainside behind us, we
tried to decipher our route. High above the densely forested
moraine, just beginning to emerge against the cloudless blue,
rose a massive fortress, a sheer vertical wall of gray rock,
toward which our trail zig-zagged. The impenetrable massif was
the north face of Black Mountain, and Ward Lake lay in its granite
embrace on the far, southern flank. Our trail circled east and
south into the upper hanging valley of Kidd Creek, carved by
glaciers into the seismic interface between Black and Red Rock
Mountains to the northeast. On the far side of Red Rock Mountain
lay Landers Lake less than two impassable miles away. Small
We heard, then reached Kidd Creek as it cascaded
down the rock face. It was a lovely spot, with a fine campsite.
We looked it over. Unfortunately, the campsite straddled the
main trail, and hikers were bound to be drawn to the waterfall.
As if in confirmation, a group of three women and two children
caught us and nosed around the waterfall. They were dayhiking
to Ward from the Josephine Lodge. We decided to press on.
The trail grew steep, and we took frequent breaks.
Unburdened by backpacks, the dayhikers soon caught and passed
us. In time we climbed out of the enveloping forest into the
barren, U-shaped upper canyon of Kidd Creek. The predominant
hue before us was red, opposed by a dark sedimentary slope on
the west. Down the curving valley floor was painted a broad
green sward of willows and grass in the alluvium and glacial
till, fed by the matriculating headwaters of Kidd Creek. Only
a few small groves of fir, pine, and hemlock dotted the ultramafic
slopes like tufts of hair on a mangy red hide. The panorama
brought to my mind the long glacial valley that arced up the
East Lostine River toward Eagle Cap in northeastern Oregon.
High in the upper valley, we lost the trail in
a wet meadow. Just above the meadow we found the trail and an
abandoned campsite sheltered beneath a three-trunked mountain
hemlock in a grove of hemlock, white fir, and white pine, at
6675 feet (N 41 01' 06.1", W 122 54' 30.8"). Across
the trail, fifty feet away, the creek gurgled at the bottom
of a shallow rill choked with willows and alders. Lush green
meadow spread above and below, spiced with the whites and blues
and yellows of abundant wildflowers. The view of the stone-walled
canyon was stunning. We had already climbed 1675 feet above
our van and 4½ trail miles in and could have pressed
on the final two miles, climbing another thousand feet before
dropping 400 to Ward Lake. But why? Was not the journey as important
as the destination? We cleared an almost-level tent site, dragged
away a few fallen branches, dug and lined a small fire pit,
and set up the tent and hammocks.
In the late afternoon the dayhikers, returning
from Ward Lake, passed our camp. They had spent only a short
time at Ward and still had a long way to return before dark.
Tired, eyes fixed on the long trail, they passed us by like
We had torn the last three chapters out of Harry
Potter so we could finish the sixth book on our backpack. Perhaps
it was not such a good idea. Hanging in our hammocks, we read
with horror of Dumbledore's fate. As evening fell, the fiction
cast a lugubrious pall over the once-bright landscape.
morning, in no great rush to complete the last two miles, we
drank our tea and mocha and watched the sunlight and shadow
paint the peaks ringing the canyon. After breakfast, we struck
camp, strapped on our packs, and began the final ascent. The
path rose from bench to bench, with increasingly splendid views,
and entered one of several fractures in the headwall of the
canyon. In the defile, the climb became serious, rising steeply
on a tread of sharp boulders and rocky loose talus pried by
ice from the rock face above. We zig-zagged up the steep mountainside
above a deep snowfield that still filled the bottom of the sunless
gorge. Just below the crest, a drift of snow blocked the trail,
but we skirted above it on the precarious slope. A month earlier,
this would have been a stopper.
At 7550 the summit offered our first view into
the Swift Creek drainage. We dropped our backpacks and rested.
A half mile away through the trees and 400 feet below us we
saw Ward Lake perched in the granite of Battle Mountain's eastern
slope. The near face of Black Mountain was encrusted with dark
gray schists and cherts sloughed off by the granitic intrusion.
Immediately to the east and north rose red rock domes and spires
of peridotite scraped, geologists say, from the ocean floor
long ago and uplifted by tectonic forces. In the distance, rimming
Swift Creek, rose snow-clad peaks above Bear Basin.
The trail dropped precipitously down the slippery
loose dirt and duff of a forested slope before contouring south
along exposed rock toward Ward Lake. Our thighs quivered from
the steep descent as we arrived at a fine horse camp in a grove
of towering red firs above the north end of Ward Lake. A broad
green meadow sloped down to the water's edge five hundred feet
away. We considered taking off our packs and exploring the lake
scanned the shoreline through the binoculars. Miraculously,
no one seemed to be there. Suddenly I felt the need to press
on and secure the premier site in the granite boulders on the
southwest shore, where I had camped before, before someone else
ambled up the Swift Creek trail and beat us to it. Hitching
up our packs, we squished through the wet meadow and out across
the glacier-polished granite dike damming the eastern end of
Halfway across the blinding white slickrock, Barbara
spotted color across the lake. She lifted the binoculars and
discovered a group of six or seven people swimming near tents
at our destination campsite. She sagged beneath the dead weigh
of her pack. "Let's turn back," she sighed. "That
horse camp was just fine."
But I was loath to return to a camp situated so
far from the water. "Maybe they'll be leaving today,"
I protested. "It's not far around the lake. Why don't we
The path along the north shore turned out to be
steep, rocky, and undulating. Sun dazzled off white rock. We
were weary and irritable by the time we rounded the last house-sized
boulder before the campsite. Barbara hung back by the rock.
I approached to palaver.
"Howdy," I called, addressing a wiry
young man in wet shorts who was washing a pot near his tent.
The man looked up, nodding curtly. Beyond him,
several men and women in their early twenties puttered about
their affairs, ignoring the interruption. Probably college students.
I suddenly became aware of a young woman sprawled
on her back, bare naked, sunning herself on a flat slab of granite
a few feet away. She was lean, blond, and showed no reaction
to the intrusion. Ah, the insouciance of youth! Glancing
away, I blundered on, "How . . . er . . . how long are
you folks planning on staying?"
"We'll be leaving tomorrow," the man
replied, puffing up. He was the spokesman. The leader. The alpha
male. He exuded the invulnerable smugness of youth, and might
have added, Why are you here, old man? Get out of our way!
You had your day. We are the rolling tide that will drown you.
Of course, I thought, sweat dripping into my eyes,
this fine banquet would soon be over. Then this cocky young
fellow would crack open his Fortune Cookie and draw out the
thin strip of paper. It would read: "On the day you were
born, you begin to die." Soon enough he would begin to
hear a low drone, like a distant didgeridoo, the underlying
base note of his own mortality. Soon enough The Horror would
But not today.
"Tomorrow?" I repeated, feeling a bit
"Yeah. We'll be heading out at eleven o'clock.
Shouldn't take us that long to hike out Swift Creek."
"Ah." I glanced at the unclothed young
woman, then gazed deliberately away across the water. A puff
of breeze ruffled my hair. Somewhere an escapement seemed to
slip, a cog spun wildly, and I telescoped back forty years (or
perhaps 40,000). With savage certainty I remembered it
An invincible warrior god gazes dreamily out
across silver ripples, thirsting for hot blood. His fingers
tighten on the shaft of his spear . . . .
I shifted my walking stick uneasily. Get a
grip on yourself! Fluttering a hand toward the western shore,
I asked, "Any good campsites over there?"
"No," Mr. Alpha replied patronizingly.
"This lake has only two good campsites. This one, and that
one over there in the trees above that meadow." He pointed
to the horse camp we just came from, where we should have stashed
"All right, then," I murmured, turning
awkwardly, nearly stumbling as I tried to keep my gaze averted
from the naked lady. But she was so palpably there.
From behind the boulder, Barbara never even saw
squished back across the wet meadow to the horse camp in the
red firs. The camp was huge with an oversized stone fire ring
and several nearly level tent sites. We speculated whether other
sites might lie in the trees and slabs to the west where Black
Mountain tumbled into the lake. Barbara pumped water and rested
while I prowled the western shore and the rocky promontory in
the middle of the lake, which pointed like an accusing finger
at the college students' camp. On the west shore were a couple
of adequate campsites, but they lay too near the college campers.
Here and there on the promontory a clearing had been scraped
out and rocks stacked in a blackened fire ring, but nothing
compared to our red fir grove.
Perched atop the glacier-polished rock, I watched
as four new people filed down past our campsite toward the granite
dike on the lake's southeast shore. They appeared to be two
young couples, probably high school age. The girls wore daypacks,
the boys each swung a water bottle. Where the polished granite
sloped down offering prime access into deep water, they quickly
stripped down to swimming suits and splashed happily into the
lake. High-schoolers wore swimming suits, college students skinny-dipped.
What could it mean? Was it merely a symptom of maturity? Or
was it a sign of changing times? Had the freewheeling spirit
of the Sixties been smothered beneath a New Victorianism, begotten
by Homeland Security, born of the Patriot Act, and inculcated
with the oft repeated mantra of "Just Say No"?
Back at camp, I shared my concerns with Barbara.
"I'm hungry," she wisely rejoined. "Let's
After cheese sticks, dried fruit, cashews, and
crackers, we deployed the tent and hammocks and generally moved
into our new camp. Then it was time for a swim. I suggested
the granite slabs where I had seen the high-schoolers splashing
hours earlier. Surely they would be out of the water by now.
But I was wrong. As we approached the fine swimming
spot with our towels and foam pads, we came upon one couple,
a boy and a girl in wet bathing suits, knee deep in the water,
squirming in a steamy embrace as if auditioning for From
Here To Eternity. We averted our eyes and redirected our
steps further up the shore to a more private cove beneath a
solitary red fir and spread out our pads. The sunlight on granite
was blinding, the shade above nearly impenetrable. I was about
to disrobe when Barbara noticed the second couple crouching
in the shadow of the tree just above us.
"Hello," the girl said politely and
waved. Her sullen young companion, in the grip of something
he longed desperately to understand (but never would), withdrew
further into the darkness of his own perplexity.
Once again we relocated, this time to a steep
dirt bank sheltered by some low brush, and swam naked. The water
was refreshingly cool. Afterwards, we sunned ourselves on the
bank. The lake was more popular than we had imagined. Downright
crowded, in fact. The place throbbed with youthful passion.
The water was slick with pheromones.
Ah, and we remembered what it was like. We had
not met until our early forties. Our separate histories were
the dark matter in our communal universe. But our journeys had
been parallel. Having grown into puberty in the Chicago area
during the cold and claustrophobiac Eisenhower years, we had
each escaped to the Golden State to join the flower children
of the Sixties. In California we tested the limits, and each
learned that things were not as we were brought up to believe.
In murmurs and giggles we reminisced for a while, then gathered
our things and, insubstantial as ghosts, drifted back to camp.
As we prepared dinner, the two high school boys
passed sullenly through our camp. The girls waited by the trail
and explained that they had hiked in through Kidd Creek from
the road and were on their way out. Having brought no water
filter, the boys were searching in the rocks on Black Mountain
for a clear-water spring that fed the meadow. A boy shouted
down for the girls to meet them further up the trail, and they
We had seen chickadees, nuthatches, a brown creeper,
stellar's jays, a yellow-rumped warbler, a red-tailed hawk,
and juncos. In the evening we heard the Coughing Deer. As it
grew dark, a single woman arrived from the Swift Creek trail
and deftly set up a camp hidden in the trees and brush on the
west shore of the lake below us. She was as quiet and private
as a shadow, and we likely would not have known she was there
if we hadn't watched her hike in. The following day we would
learn her name was "Eliza."
Friday morning was spent leisurely in the hammocks.
As eleven o'clock approached, we waited for the college students
to leave. Barbara watched them through the binoculars. They
still lounged around the camp unfocused. Ten minutes later,
however, a solitary man, head down and determined, toted his
backpack briskly along the rocky shore and down the Swift Creek
trail. The self-appointed alpha male, we concluded. The better
part of an hour passed before the others straggled after him.
Determined to dayhike around the west shore to
look over the newly vacated campsite, we crossed the meadow
on a path of trampled grass and muddy bogs to Eliza's camp,
where we had to search to find her tent in the tall brush. Her
camp was lean and efficient. Pressing on, we investigated all
evidence of man's presence: yellow and white cardboard sticky
aphid and whitefly traps hung from various shrubs, a blackened
fire ring here and there, a windbeak of stacked rocks, and at
the tip of the stoney promontory, a small solar panel, box,
and antenna broadcasting weather conditions to some distant
The prime campsite was empty. We had the entire
lake to ourselves. Massive granite boulders marched down to
the water's edge. The site was peaceful. But level spots were
scarce. As nice as it was, we decided not to bother relocating.
Back at camp, we packed a lunch and hung our food,
then loaded our daypacks for a hike to Horseshoe Lake. The trail
was steep and hot, dropping 500 feet in a mile of exposed slickrock
and sunbaked chaparral overlooking the Mumford and Swift Creek
basins. At the junction with the Horseshoe Lake Trail began
a 250-feet climb up the brushy outlet stream in a fir-shaded
canyon to the granite cirque that held Horseshoe Lake. As we
approached the lake's outlet, I heard what seemed to be a bear
thrashing nearby in the brush and braced myself for an attack.
The ruckus turned out to be a young man stacking slabs of granite
in the undergrowth.
I called out, "I thought you were a bear."
The man looked up. "Nope. Just fixing the
trail around the lake."
Lake is a small crescent filling the hole in a Henry Moore sculpture.
Voluptuous mounds of glacier-polished granite emerge from the
water's edge and rise in slickrock cliffs and benches toward
Tri-Forest Peak 700 feet above. Azaleas with tiny white blooms
shrouded the shore in places, and tall red firs climbed the
slope or grew as bonsai from the narrow seams and cracks in
the dazzling basement rock. The only good campsite was perched
atop a granite slab above the eastern shore. No one was there,
so we dropped our daypacks, took off our clothes, and swam in
the refreshingly cool water. Afterwards, we found a little shade,
ate lunch, and studied the intricate intrusions crisscrossing
a granite face that plunged deep into the lake. It was a fine,
After awhile the young man we had seen muscling
granite slabs came over the granite lip to chat. He wore a scruffy
little red goatee and a USFS T-shirt. "I'm helping Eliza
with her trail work," he explained, uttering the name "Eliza"
with reverence. He expected that we must certainly know who
"Are you a ranger?" I inquired amicably.
I liked to know exactly who I was dealing with.
"No, actually not. I'm a volunteer. In training.
Maybe next year they'll be able to hire me on."
Deja vu struck. Suddenly I remembered having this
same conversation. "Say, aren't you the same guy we spoke
to three weeks ago? Down on Swift Creek?"
The trainee ranger stared blankly.
"You were coming down from Landers Lake?
Asked if we had a back country permit, but didn't need to see
it?" I prompted. "We asked you if there was snow on
the trail to Landers."
"Oh, yeah." He grinned as if
reuniting with lost family. "I've been up here all month,
helping Eliza. She's camped by herself up at Ward."
After the young man returned to work, we packed
our things and hiked leisurely back to Ward Lake. Along Horseshoe
Lake's outlet stream, Barbara found patches of bright tiger
lilies. We paused frequently to gaze at the spectacular Swift
Creek basin, from the slopes of Red Rock Mountain in the north
to Mumford Peak and the Mumford Basin in the south, where Peridotite
and Granite were locked in tectonic battle.
At Ward Lake we found ourselves alone. We swam
again from a deserted granite slab on the eastern shore. After
dinner I explored the strange metasedimentary rock formations
at the edge of the granite. We rested in our hammocks, watching
for Eliza to come back. We never saw her return.
On Saturday morning the lake was peaceful and
quiet. We took down the tent and hammocks, packed our backpacks,
and swam once again before hiking out. Even the fish, swimming
in sunlight near shore, seemed sad to see us leave.
climb to the pass was easier than coming down. The trail down
into Kidd Creek Canyon was very steep and rocky. We took it
slow. Near the top of the green valley floor, on a steep moraine
in a grove of red firs, we located the campsite recommended
by Luther Linkhart in his guidebook. Small streams gurgled through
the grass and mud on each side. The camp was off the trail and
had a good water source, but huge trees had fallen across the
only level tent site. A pile of bleaching cow bones raised issues
we did not want to confront. We ate lunch and tried to make
the campsite work, but it was no longer comfortable.
In the end, we decided to return to the lovely
campsite beneath the three-trunked hemlock we had used on the
way in. It was a good choice. The camp had the comfort of an
old shoe, and the view was stunning. In the afternoon we spoke
to five people backpacking in to Ward Lake. Otherwise, we were
The hike down Sunday morning took us through familiar
terrain, the soggy meadow, the waterfall campsite, switchbacks
down through the tall forest, the metamorphic overlook of Caribou
Mountain, the tumbled rock crossing of Kidd Creek, and finally
back to the road. We followed the trail across the road to the
Salmon River ford, but decided against removing our boots to
cross. Instead, we hiked back on the road. It seemed much longer
than two miles. We kept waiting to ford a small stream in a
rocky wash we had stepped across on the way in, but never found
it. The creek had dried up during our five days in the wilderness.
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