August 17, 2002
Upon arriving at Timpanogas Lake, we were not sure whether we should even
get out of the car.
The air was so thick with forest fire smoke, that visibility was about 100 feet.
Little did we know that the Apple Fire in the Umpqua Canyon had exploded to over
2000 acres during the previous night, and all of the smoke was drifting into the
Cascades south of Diamond Peak.
After a vote, we decided to attempt at least one of the mountains we had come to climb,
and decided that Sawtooth would be quicker to climb than Cowhorn Mountain, a couple of
miles to our east.
We quickly hiked the 1.9 miles to Indigo Lake, one of the most scenic lakes in the area.
Our eyes were stinging, our lungs were burning from the smoke, but there was a slight
breeze that was beginning to clear the air, and by the time we reached the pass on
Windy Ridge, our view had improved greatly, and the air was much easier to breathe.
The afternoon breezes did a good job of clearing the smoke from the summit of Sawtooth
Mountain, and we had a great view from the top.
To our west and south was a wall of smoke, hanging like a fog bank, while to our north
and east spread the peaks of the High Cascades.
We had a lunch break on the summit, and then returned to the trailhead by the same route.
Enjoying a fun day with a small group of old climbing buddies were guest Larry Huff,
and Obsidians Josh Ladau, and Brian Hoyland, leader.