Not a Bad Consolation Prize
After spraining my knee (I think) the day before near Goat Lake in the Sawtooth, I slept in and drove through Sun Valley to pick up some chemical ice packs and a knee brace. I was hoping to do some epic traverse in the Finger of Fate area that I would call the Traverse of Fate, but I woke up having difficulty straightening my left knee or even walking around. So I figure out a new plan: “take it easy” and do a nice little hike in the Pioneer Mountains followed by an easy hike up Idaho’s tallest peak, Mt. Borah, the next day.
I got to the Pioneer Cabin trailhead after noon. Putting on a knee brace definitely made things better. I still was hiking pretty gingerly, but it seemed as if the mileage was making things better. This trail was very pretty, winding up a dry, mellow valley. Higher up, I crested a small divide and saw the namesake Pioneer Cabin. There was some people, but not too crowded considering how close to Sun Valley I was (and it was a weekend).
I turned off the trail and went a little higher to a little knoll. It offered pleasant views of the Pioneer mountains, some of the only peaks in Idaho above 12,000 ft. It was impressive how different these mountains were when compared to the Sawtooth. And I knew the Lost River Range was even more different and just over the hill.
When I got back to the car, I was the only one left in the parking lot. Although the day started out pretty disappointingly with the realization of my knee injury, I was happy that I was still able to have a nice leisurely hike and come up with a less aggressive backup plan that would allow me to experience Idaho’s mountains and not abuse the injury too badly. It really made me appreciate just being able to see such beautiful ranges across the west, even if I would be limited to easier hikes for a little. To some people, leaving their injured partner behind and then immediately getting injured yourself might seem like an omen to back off, but to me it was more just of a bittersweet reminder of how fragile our bodies are and the need to accept the mistakes we make and simple make the most of the present opportunities. Off to Borah peak!