South Loon Mountain

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McCall smoke moves in on our trip to the Loons

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Tom wanted to climb something around McCall, in particular North and South Loon. So I called out the troops and we got an early start. Despite the smoky weather in Boise, it had been pretty clear up here, so we were excited to be out.

We drove up in two rigs, but arrived at the Duck Lake trail head at almost the same time. Art insisted that Tom and I would be faster, so we were hiking as two groups. naturally, I missed the (very faint) turn-off, so Tom and I were soon in the back of the pack.

Tom in the morning

When we got to the saddle, Art and Carol were waiting for us. But it smelled like a fire pit. And the first smoke was drifting into our view.

 

Sunshine in the saddle

The view from the saddle was even worse. That's North and South Loon in the "fog."

Smoky Loon

While we rested and admired the smoky view, I noticed this sweet-looking chunk of granite. I had been here before several times, but previously this had not really jumped out at me. I'm dubbing this peak "Humdinger," both because it sits above Hum Lake and also for some other obvious reasons. More on that later.

Humdinger

We dropped down into the valley to Hee and Haw Lakes. That's Humdinger in the background.

Hee Lake
From the lakes, the trail disappears. Here we all are on some really lovely bushwhacking. Meadow
After you pick up the Hum Lake trail, you gain the saddle on the south ridge of South Loon. As you can see, here one is walking through the 1994 Blackwell Fire. Art on the ridge

Summit. Not a truly sunny summit, and the views were obscured by the smoke, but good views none the less. And great company.

We had wanted to try getting all the way out to North Loon, another mile and 800' of gain. But the ridge looked slow and it was already one o'clock. Time to head back.

Summit
As we walked the trail back, I suggested we do a loop and go see Hum Lake, which I had not seen before. So here we are walking the trail to Hum Lake. That's South Loon in the background. Heading for Hum Lake
And here's Hum Lake Hum Lake
Art and Carol looking marvellous with South Loon behind them.
Happy hikers
The trail in the saddle goes all the way down to the lake, then you have to climb back out. We decided to instead traverse from the saddle in the background. Here we're back on the trail with just a few hundred feet to go to saddle #2. Traverse

After a brief rest in that saddle, we were on our way down to Duck Lake.

Of course by now, the smoke had cleared out somewhat. Oh well. We later determined that we had been engulfed in smoke from the McGuire Complex, a fire burning up near Dixie.

Dropping down to Duck Lake
Map
Map

Mr. Natural Home | 2012 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski