It is already the 4th of July holiday, so time for another adventure to Idaho. We planned a short trip to the Hailey area for about 3 days, so I had time to meet up with a few friends and get a short hike in. Mike, Steve and Michelle were all up for a hike on Titus Ridge so we set a date for Saturday July 6th. After the long drive from Denver (about 11hrs) I took a night to rest. Somewhere during that time I got a nasty sunburn on my shoulders, so I can’t say I was looking forward to putting a pack on.
On Friday evening Mike, Steve and I met up at the Prairie Creek CG and lucky for us In the Wild Chef was happy to cook. We decided on Salmon and rice for dinner, which I must say was the best I have eaten camping before. Steve doesn’t mess around; he makes it look way to easy. The three of us had a few beers and hung out till around 11pm then hit the hay. Waking around 6am the next morning the Chef was already busy at it making us coffee and Blueberry Beercakes! Steve is a blessing from the gods; it was a great way to wake up on a chilly morning. I must say one of the most impressive sights was watching Mike pack away the Beercakes, some 7 or so I think. And these were not silver dollar cakes either, they filled a plate…that a boy Mike!
There was a tiny spot to park on the west side of the pass right where the trail started, so off we went. The first section of trail didn’t mess around with gaining elevation, so we all got a nice kick start early in the morning. It was nice since it was still cool; a few in the group were still wearing long sleeves and pants, that didn’t last too long. There was a lot of fallen trees over the first mile of trail, so be ready for some hurdles if you head up this way. We took a very “social” pace for the entire day so it seemed pretty relaxed and was very enjoyable to me. After gaining the first hump around the 9,600ft contour the trail dissipates for a bit, but you can pick it up on the downside (west side) before heading up to the next point on the roller coaster. As big as these bumps on the trail seemed to be, it felt like we were going up them pretty quickly.
There is a small weather monitoring station on top of this point and some of the most amazing views you can imagine. A few in the group seemed a little concerned about the route up Titus, weather there would be a trail or a route through the rocks. We were lucky and found that there was a trail almost all the way to the summit. Not a trail by Colorado standards, but it worked for all of us. After a little side hilling across some kitty litter we made it around the big rocks and joined the summit ridge about 100yrds east of the true summit. From there it was a walk to the top of Titus.
The weather was still pretty good, the breeze was keeping us cool and the clouds helped out now and then covering the scorching sun. We took about 30 minutes on top having summit beers and Steve brought up some of his Spicy Hummus which was out of this world amazing. I typically don’t go for hummus, but this was a bit of the good life. We got our Duck pictures in and decided we should make our way off the kitty litter before the rain came in. Before departing I stood in awe of Castle, a peak I have not climbed yet, but what a beauty it was!
After I dumped the pebbles out of my trail runners we were off down the rest of the trail. Nobody was looking forward to hiking back over the roller coaster humps we ascended on the way to Titus, but I thought it would beat the misery of a long side-hill adventure. In no time at all we were up and over all of the humps and on the final descent back to Galena Pass. It looked like the Pioneers were getting a good bit of rain, so I was counting my blessing we chose the Smokys today. This is an amazing ridge for those that haven’t done it and I would highly recommend it. Next time I would like to take it all the way to Saviers, looks like some good scrambling the further out you get. I always enjoy hiking with my old friends in Idaho, now it’s time for you guys to get to Colorado and we will tag a few 14ers together!
For those of you looking to “spice” up your camping meals check out my friend book: In The Wild Chef: Recipes From Base Camp To Summit by Steve Weston. On this trip he made us Big Dan’s Spicy Hummus on page 15, Trail Pancakes – Blueberry Beercakes with fresh blueberries and blueberry syrup page 131, Wild Jalapeno Mushroom Salmon with Rice page 177. The book can be purchased online at: http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Wild-Chef-Recipes/dp/1927458064/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373386179&sr=8-1&keywords=in+the+wild+chef
Starting Elevation: 8,700ft
Lower Titus Summit: 10,005ft
Titus Summit: 10,110ft
Total Gained Elevation: 2,343ft
Distance: 6.14 miles
Time: 4hrs moving, 1:45 stopped.
Climbing Partner: Mike, Steve, Michelle