Admittedly it’s an odd time to fire out a post about the height of summer. Outside, it’s snowing harder than it has all season and Chossy is streaking through fields of powder, scooping up an occasional mouthful. Large flakes are quickly erasing my mornings worth of shoveling.. But oh well. Who’s to complain? One of the many reasons we love this valley is its healthy helping of all four seasons. The holidays are a time for remembering. For us, that often involves clicking through past posts here on TSC. One event that has stood out among the rest and one that I will never forget was my hike in the White Clouds with my dad.

The road less traveled. We passed only 2 cars on our drive to the trailhead.

We spent most of our time around Island and Cove Lakes.

Signing in at the trailhead.

The newly minted wilderness.


A nice place to have a snack.

Hiking in. Our camps were around those peaks in the distance.

The White Clouds have a very distinct look to them. Here’s a view from the hike out.

On the drive home, I was glued to the atlas. “We could go here! Or here… and here…” The options for summer hiking and fishing within a short drive of town are truly astounding. So far we’ve nailed a hike in the Sawtooths and White Clouds. Next year? Maybe the Pioneers or Boulders?

I really do believe that the coolest colors nature has to offer are on old growth snags.

Amazing colors and patterns on a snag.

Cove Lake camp.

Camp robber.

Morning at Island Lake.

Cove Lake. Our favorite spot.

From bud to flower.

My dad loves to take pictures of flowers.

Island Lake camp.

A good friend sent me an email before our trip. “I’m not telling you what to do, but buy this rod.” In it was a link to a cheap tenkara fishing rod. No reel, just a long flexible rod with a bit of fly line and leader. Perfect for backpacking and fly fishing along steep banked alpine lakes and small streams, the tenkara setup slayed it. My pops will be getting one for next year.

First cast on the tenkara… no joke!

Beautiful cutthroat.

Morning fishing spot.

I believe we camped at the highest elevation my dad has ever camped at. Right around 10,000′.

Island Lake

Yeah.. probably gonna stay here a while.

Pops pulling in a lunker at Island Lake.

Mountain goats.

Catch and release all day long!

Sometimes the backcountry can be overwhelming. The beauty and serenity. The peaceful views. What’s around the next bend? On this trip we took it at our own pace. Let people pass, passed a few ourselves. Find a nice waterfall? Sweet, let’s chill and eat salami. Oh, a fork in the trail, which way you wanna go? In this fashion we explored on trail and off. Found our favorite spot to set up camp along Cove Lake, explored higher and thought, “ya know? Cove Lake is the shit. Let’s go back.” So we did. And continued to slay the cutthroat and rainbows from the banks of a perfectly blue, grassy lake strewn with granite boulders that seemed placed specifically for fishing.

Post graupel storm.

Oh you’re lost? Here’s a beer follow us.

Looking over Walker Lake

Late light over Cove Lake.

At one juncture, we struck out across the backcountry, following the contours of the land and boulder hopping to our next camp. Thunder clapped in the distance and we were pretty sure the storm was moving faster than we were. Ducking into a stand of old growth we donned our rain gear and crawled into a small cave of dense branches. The rain turned to graupel, and the landscape quickly turned white. PSSSSHHHHHCCCT. Time to crack a beer I suppose. Hell, we’re in this for the long haul, no sense in braving this type of weather. After an hour or so the storm let up and we stepped out to snap a photo. As the shutter snapped a series of photos we heard a voice. Odd, seeing as how we were well away from any marked trail. A woman appeared from the woods, dripping and obviously shaken. Her map was soaked and she carried only a thermal and a fanny pack. We again changed course, to walk with her until we could find a view of the lake she was looking for. At that point, she calmed down quite a bit, the sun came out and I offered her a beer. Being from Oregon she was genetically blessed with superior taste in beer and acute longing for hops. After a short visit, she was on her way, descending to her group (and camp) with a Good Life Descender IPA.

I hope you all have a warm fire and a lapdog to pet this holiday season. Wishing you all all the best from our little roost here in Hailey.

3 thoughts on “Slaying Cutthroat with Pops

  1. I think about this trip often. What a hoot. Some where along the way I realized my son was all grown.
    P.S. I do miss that hiking staff, left it at the trailhead, rats……..

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