Krenke Creek to Lamoille Canyon

Day 1

This hike started at Krenka Creek over on the Ruby Valley side of the Rubies. I drove over Secret Pass on secondary highway 229 and drove for a few miles until I found a sign along the road for Krenka Creek. I then turned right and started down a good dirt road to the trailhead. You have to drive on private property to get to the National Forest Boundary so please stay on the road.

I had started hiking at 07:10 hr. at the National Forest Boundary. At the beginning of my hike I saw five deer and heard some coyotes howl. At 09:05 hr. and a lot of switchbacks later I was on top of the mountain looking down on Ruby Valley. What a nice view it was too. The trail splits on top to the left and to the right. I took the left fork toward Soldier Canyon. After a while of hiking I found a sign that say I was on the Ross Creek Trail. While I was still on top and a little before Soldier Canyon I saw five bucks in a herd by.

I arrived at Robinson Lake at 11:28hr. and eat lunch. There were around twenty head of cattle that watched me eat lunch. At 12:42 hr. I headed down the trail or should I say up the trail. I was on my way up behind Robinson Lake to a saddle were I could cross over into a canyon on the other side. This climb was not near as bad as I thought it would be.

There is no trail on this part of the hike accept for a small game trail. Part of the way up I saw a mountain goat feeding. I think that probably helped my climb because I spent a good bit of time watching it with my binoculars. I got within around 100 - 125 yards from it before it moved off. I knew I would probably see something good because about 20 minutes from the house that morning I remembered that I forgot the camera. DUH. Life goes on.

The time was 13:51 hr when I was on the saddle above Robinson Lake. You could see South Fork Reservoir and all of Spring Creek from there. I followed the game trail left (west) to Cold Lake. The closer I got to Cold Lakes the worst the game trail became. Once I was around 2/3 of the way to the lake there wasn't much of any trail at all. I arrived at Cold Lakes at 14:49 hr. I did some fishing and just hung out for the rest of the day.

Day 2

I headed out of Cold Lakes at 07:20 hr. the next morning. I had hiked (or crawled) to the top above Cold Lakes by 08:07 hr. There was no snow on top but I did find a lot of deer beds everywhere. I looked over to Ruby Valley and saw some clouds that didn't look very friendly.

I saw another goat when I was walking along on top. The first time that I seen this goat he was coming off of an out cropping of rocks that was on the very top of the mountain facing Ruby Valley. I only caught a glimpse of him that time. I dropped my pack and headed to the edge of the mountain to see if I could get another look at him, and there it was around 100 yards away just standing there looking at me. I thought take a good look, the camera is at the house.

After a few minutes I started hiking again and that is about the time it started to rain. This part of the hike between Cold Lakes and Thorpe Creek was very easy. It is all on top around 10,000 ft. or more and fairly level.

When you get to Thorpe Creek Canyon things change. Coming from Cold Lake you are heading straight for Smith Peak which is at 10,839 ft. Once you get close to Smith Peak you will run into some cliffs. To get around this I dropped down into Thorpe Creek Canyon a little to get around them. I found another game trail and followed it for awhile.

This trail was steep and in the trees which was interesting with a pack on but all in all it was ok. This I thought was a LONG HAUL dropping from 10,000 ft. down to around 9,500 ft. and then pulling myself back out of this canyon which required hiking back up to an elevation of 10,700 ft. But when I was back on top again I could see Verdi Lake and the trail coming up Talbot Creek to Verdi. I hiked down to the canyon floor and followed the trail to Verdi. I arrived at Verdi Lake at 13:28 hr. it was around this time that it stopped raining. I filled up my water bottles, fished for a little bit to no avail and then headed out at 14:23 hr.

When you hike out of Verdi you have an 800 ft. climb ahead of you so be prepared. This part of the hike was by far the hardest part. The climb out of Verdi is steep and long but simple. Once you are on top everything gets worst. When you are on top again you will have Verdi Lake to your back and Lamoille Canyon in front of you.

This is were the worst part comes in. When you come down into lamoille Canyon stay to your left as much as you can. For me this was like a big puzzle. Do I go this way or that? Is there a ten-foot cliff around that corner that will force me to back track some or will it be ok. I had hiked this part of the mountain before but it didn't seem to help any on this trip.

The best advise I think I could give you would be don't be in a hurry to loose elevation, don't go straight down the cute in front of you, and take your time. Keep an eye out for what is in front of you and good luck. After you get close to the valley floor by Terraces Picnic Area I felt like things were getting worst. Although I didn't think that was really possible.

The problem was that a couple of years ago a snow slide wiped out part of the picnic area and now I found myself in a bunch of aspens that were growing parallel to the ground. Can you imagine how hard it is walking through a really thick patch of brush while crawling over these trees at the same time with a pack on? To be fare about everything you could probable walk around this obstacle some how but I had been hiking for around eight hours and much of that in the rain plus it was starting to rain again. I knew my destination was on the other side of these trees and I wasn't going around. So I went through instead.

I arrived at Terraces Picnic ground at 16:20 hr. and it started raining just as my loving wife pulled into the grounds to pick me up.

SUMMARY

This hike was well worth it. I seen plenty of deer, two blue grouse and two goats and caught a few fish in the process. From Krenka Creek to Robinson Lake was easy. Robinson Lake to Cold Lake was a nice off trail hike also. Cold Lake to Thorpe Creek Canyon was really easy. From Thorpe Creek to Lamoille Canyon wasn't very easy but the scenery and the surroundings made it all well worth it in my opinion.