Aug. 29, 2016

22. Hike into a Mountain Lake

Idaho is FULL of beautiful places. We all know that! But when you take the time to hike somewhere that's off the beaten path, you leave yourself open to observe beauty you can't imagine. That is exactly what my son and I were able to experience when we chose to hike into Upper Hornet Reservoir. It was incredible. I heard about this place from a friend of mine who said the fishing couldn't be beat. They did warn me about the road in, but I was ambitious so I didn't let it deter me. I'm really glad I didn't!

I took my car up there (a Fusion...yes, I know. Not too smart and it didn't get us far on the rough terrain. I have since traded up for a truck!) Because my car wouldn't go very far when the road started getting a little rough, we parked and started hiking earlier than most people would have. Originally we thought we would be hiking about 3 miles. Whoops! Turns out we hiked 5.5 miles in and then turned around and hiked it out. ELEVEN miles! Not gonna lie...I was sore as hell the next day, but it was so worth it. The beauty made me speechless. Those of you that know me probably can't imagine me speechless, but that is how beautiful this place was.

Where to go: Now there are many, many lakes in Idaho and you can choose any of them to check off this item on your Bucket List. I would, however, suggest one you actually hike into, but it is up to you. I found a site at Idaho.hometownlocator/features/physical,class,lake,alpha,
that lists all the lakes in Idaho in alphabetical order. You can also click on any lake you are interested in and they will give you specifics about it and it's location.

Upper Hornet Reservoir: Here is the location to where I went and some specific information about my journey.

There is an upper and lower Hornet Reservoir. After talking to locals and scouring the Internet, I decided on Upper Hornet because it had better fishing.

Directions to Upper Hornet: First you need to make it to Council, Idaho. Council is approximately 125 miles west of Boise. From Boise take I-84 approximately 46 miles west to US-95 Exit 3 toward Fruitland/Payette. Take US-95 for approximately 75 miles and it will lead you straight into Council. Upper Hornet is about another hour from Council, mostly because of the terrain.

To get there as you come into Council Hwy 95 turns to the right. You need to go left on Moser Ave. After that you take a right on Railroad St. then swing a left on Hornet Creek Rd. Then a left on Council Cuprum Rd. and a right on Ridge Rd. Ridge Rd. turns into N. Fork Ridge Rd and you stay on that until you take a sharp left on Spring Ridge Rd. Next is a right on NF-125. After about 2.2 miles you take a left at the fork then right onto Council Cuprum Rd. As it turns into NF-002 at the fork here veer left onto NF-055. At this point the road gets pretty rough.

Here you really need a 4-wheel drive or off-road vehicle. It depends on your vehicle how far you go from here, but don't temp fate by taking a regular vehicle up there. You won't come down easily. It's a straight shot from here, but uphill (at times dramatically). I suggest parking and taking an ATV or off-road bike up there. Or you can follow my lead and hike it up! I'm out of practice, so it was a little difficult but it's not a bad hike and really peaceful.

Hornet Fishing: First of all, make sure you have a fishing license. That said, there was no one....and I mean NO ONE...on the lake when we got there. It was awesome! I wish I had brought my float tube so I could have gone out to the middle, but I couldn't exactly haul it up there on my back. The fish were literally teasing me from the middle of the lake. I couldn't catch anything from the side and since I couldn't cast very far (little arms ya know), the fish were staying just outside my reach and jumping around so I knew they were there. It was torture! Next time they will be in for a big surprise...and there will definitely be a next time!

Special Notes: Great place to bring your kids or pets. If you do bring the kiddos I would be sure you had a vehicle that could make it or an ATV because its a pretty difficult hike. The pets would love it and if you have a horse, it would be a great ride. The reservoir is pretty shallow around the edges so there are many places for the kids to swim. Also, there are plenty of camp spots around the lake and on the road leading up to the lake.

Idaho is full of these spots. It's a complete smorgasbord of lakes and reservoirs. Close your eyes, pick one, and get out there! Most of all enjoy!