A handful of days disconnected in the Willowa mountains

I spend much of my life online, something I once reveled in, but have always sought to balance by disconnecting and going outdoors. This year, 2018, I made the longest solo backpack trip I’ve managed since Ann sagged me on the Continental Divide Trail in 2004. On that trip my longest stretch between resupplies was…

Ruby Crest Trail Day 4: south fork Smith creek to Harrison pass

Our last segment is less grandiose than prior days, but intimate and full of small surprises. On our first ridge we meet a party of northbound hikers from Reno who agree to let us take the vehicle they left at Harrison pass back to Lamoille canyon for them. Return trip problem solved! Here and there…

Ruby Crest Trail Day 3: peak 10,207 to south forth Smith creek

Most of the day is spent traversing the magnificent, rocky Overland creek basin. Water sources appear, as well as bright autumn aspen. Ann on peak 10,207 Starting into Overland basin Rock swirls Ann and King peak Overland basin Limber pine portal Rocks above Ridge trail Overland basin and playa Below King peak Small milkweed bug…

Ruby Crest Trail Day 2: Liberty lake to peak 10,207

We soon encounter the 12-mile waterless segment of the trail along the crest. Ann gets footsore before it ends, but we have enough water to stop for the night. Mountain goats, soaring hawks, and the smell of sweet anise all grace the day. Favre lake at dawn Morning coffee Ann climbing to Lake pass Treating…

Ruby Crest Trail Day 1: Lamoille Canyon to Liberty Lake

At last! Ann and I head out for our first full week off in two years. Our destination has been tempting us for years: the Ruby mountains. We get on the road early so we can get a few miles of hiking in before nightfall. Most people hike this trail northbound, but we’re bucking the…