|Hike Name:||Sawtooth National Recreation Area - Bench Lake|
|Trip Date:||June 30, 1998|
|Trip Weather:||Sunny, Partly Sunny|
|Trip Precipitation:||Rain, Thunderstorms, Hail|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 71-80, Low: 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||BirdShooter and I had plans to do a different hike today but abandon the idea when we figured out the lake was probably frozen over at this time of year. We ended up at the Redfish Visitor's Center on a tip from a lady in Stanley and secured a backcountry permit (for $2) while we were there. BirdShooter and I hiked up a well graded trail along Redfish Lake this afternoon and had excellent views of the lake from the ridge. After hiking another 0.5 miles on the trail, we met up with a spur trail that led to a series of lakes called the Bench Lakes. We hiked past two of these lakes, explored a third, then pitched camp and did some fishing at the second Bench Lake. I hooked a brook trout on the first cast and the smaller fish were hitting flies on the water all over the lake. The fishing was interupted, though, when a thunderstorm rolled through the area around 6pm which was followed by some hail at 8:30pm. We ended up cooking dinner at 9:30pm as a result, then sat around the fire until about eleven. The mosquitos were horrible while fishing this evening and remained active until we got the fire (and some smoke) kicked up around the campsite. With the smoke and some insect repellant, the insects were manageable though and we had a nice evening at the Bench Lakes tonight.
The next morning we were on the trail by 8:30am and we had an easy downhill hike out. It rained overnight and the tent and our bags got went, but all said the spontanaity of the hike made it a cool trip.