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Section 4

Atlanta, ID to Lola Creek Campground

Distance: 82 miles

Number of Days: 5


Day 13 - June 2

14.5 miles

As we relaxed in Atlanta, we knew the next stretch was going to be the toughest of the hike, thus far. We knew that above 7,400 feet we would hit snow, and that the trail reached up to 8,800 ft. We began the day hiking the Power Plant trail east out of Atlanta that had been taken over by a nearby creek. The trail was well maintained, once you hit the boundary of the Sawtooth Wilderness. The challenges we faced were the high creek crossings, and snow covered trail. With much debate, Steve and I hiked off trail up Mattingly Creek to find a safer way across. I wouldn't recommend crossing Mattingly Creek in the spring but it was worth it. We saw and heard elk across the creek scrambling on the slope and identified some large bear tracks in the snow. We hiked till we found a nice dry flat area below 7,400 ft and fell asleep, praying there was a bridge over the last creek we needed to cross the next day. Later that night we watched a video Steve had arranged of our mother, Aleacia, the video gave us words of encouragement that were meant for this rough day. This day humbled us, we have not experienced a day like this before on trail, at one point I said to Steve "I didn't sign up for this." We were exhausted, every other step was falling through the surface of snow, following the trail by gps location. The danger was imminent as we crossed creeks that were snow covered. We had to make decisions as they were in front of us, not worrying what was behind us, or what awaited us miles ahead. The official ICT follows a different route, following the Johnson Creek Trail, but what we were experiencing at this time of year we decided it was best to take the Alturas Lake trail.




Day 14 - June 3

13.5 miles

We were happy to find the bridge we had been hoping for, existed, it allowed us a smooth hike to Alturas Lake. The miles came easy as we were no longer hiking through snow. We hiked along highway 75 for a few miles before setting up camp near Pettit Lake. Steve ended up snapping the tip of my fly rod that afternoon while I rinsed out some of our clothes.


Day 15 - June 4

19 miles

Connecting back to the official trail on Decker Flat Rd.


we hiked in the afternoon sun till we came to the Alpine Way Trail. We had talked to a campground host that afternoon and he said the Alpine Way Trail was still pretty snowed in but that we could take the new trail from Red Fish Lake to Stanley. We decided to camp next to the Alpine Way Trailhead and make the decision the next morning.


Day 16 - June 5

16.5 miles

Hiking through Stanley and stopping to eat at the Mountain Village Resort sounded way more appealing than hiking the Alpine Way Trail to Stanley Lake so we chose that route. To avoid hiking on highway we hiked Nip and Tuck Rd. to Stanley Lake Rd. which offers, in my opinion, some of the best views of the Sawtooth Mountains.


We made it to Lake Stanley in the early afternoon and sat under the shade before packing up and hiking the road up to Elk Meadows Trailhead.


June 6th

0 miles

Dave and Nancy Shaw brought us lunch and took us back to our comfortable beds in Boise.


Day 17 - June 18

18.5

When we restart the remainder of the hike tentatively July 10th. We plan on starting near Lola Creek Campground. So we had to make a trip up to Stanley Lake to cross off the 18 miles from Stanley Lake to the Lola Creek Campground. We began the day hiking up to Elk Mountain Trailhead. Planning to hike as little of Highway 21as possible, our plan was to hike to Trap Creek connecting to Marsh Creek Road. But after hiking halfway through Elk Meadows we were soaking up to our knees, it was a swamp, no alligators thankfully. We decided to turn around and hike to elk meadows trailhead and walking 3 miles of Highway 21 to Marsh Creek Road, instead. The day was great, back on trail. We even helped locate a lost puppy at one of the campgrounds. After making it to Lola Creek Campground we didn't know what to do with ourselves. Frank decided to try and hitchhike back to the car. I did not think he had a shot at a ride but the 4th car was a hit. Anna and Maddy coming from Boise, had room in their Subaru for us. We enjoyed chatting about our hike and learning that Anna was about to start the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). It was great meeting another thru hiker, and asking the questions we usually have to answer.

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