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Trout Lake & Big Fisher Lake

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This year my wife and I spent the Fourth of July weekend backpacking. For me, every day is Independence Day when out in the backcountry with a backpack. I love the feeling of having everything I need on my back, especially when the pack weighs less than 20 pounds. I can't say enough good things about ultralight backpacking. And, with the right equipment, there is no reason to sacrifice comfort. The only thing I really miss about the heavy pack is the feeling of floating after removing the weight. Sort of like the pleasure gained from removing a tight shoe.

On July third, we packed in to Trout Lake in the Selkirks. The trail is in good condition, the elevation gain is moderate and most of the snow was gone. The black flies and mosquitoes had not yet become problematic. This is where we pitched my brand new, homemade, lightweight tent. Weighing less than two pounds, it is made of silicone-coated, "zero-porosity, high performance rip stop nylon fabric." Plans can be found at http://www.tarptent.com/index.html. I modified the plans to include a full mesh bottom to exclude ants and other insects. With leftover tent fabric, I made a combination ground cloth and emergency shelter. For tent poles, I use my titanium hiking poles.

We moved on to Big Fisher Lake on the 4th and it looked like we were the first ones to hike there this year. The saddle above the lake is around 7,400 feet and still has a lot of snow in places. The views are spectacular. Creston B.C. and the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Montana are easily seen. The snow is quite firm and generally easy to travel on, with a few tricky spots. At 6,700 ft, Big Fisher was about half covered with ice and loaded with fish. We spent two nights there, climbing the nearby peaks during the day.

When he hiked back out, we met a large group from Rocky Mountain Academy who had just hiked the Selkirk Crest from Chimney Rock to Trout Creek – a ten-day trip. It is great to see young people developing an appreciation of, and respect for, the wilderness.

For information on hiking Big Fisher Lake or the Trout Lake trail, call or stop by the Bonner's Ferry Ranger Station on Hwy. 95 at the south end of town. Their number is 208-267-5561.

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Author info

Jim Mellen

Tagged as:

hiking, Bonners Ferry, Big Fisher Lake, Trout Lake, Selkirk Mountains

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