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Ascent of Cache Peak on 2018-11-09

Climber: ALICE SCHENK

Others in Party:Deb Rose
Boise
Cozeth Scott
Idaho Falls
Date:Friday, November 9, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cache Peak
    Location:USA-Idaho
    Elevation:10339 ft / 3151 m

Ascent Trip Report

Cache Peak
Alice in Wonderland

It was a bluebird day when we stepped from the pickup in mid-November 2018. We donned our hikers, hats and backpacks, adjusted trekking poles and headed down the road. Our goal was to summit Cache Peak, the highest peak in Idaho south of the Snake River. At 10,339 feet, it is the only 10,000 foot plus peak in that region, located near the City of Rocks in the Albion mountains.
Rumor has it that Cache Peak got its name from early trappers who used it as a reference point to orient themselves to where they left their pelts (cache) as they trapped and hunted in the area.
It’s a 2,500-foot elevation gain to the top and Mount Independence is close by, the second highest point in the Albion mountains at 9,950 feet.
Deb Rose, Boise, invited me to hike with her and Cozeth Scott, Idaho Falls and at first, I’d said no. I would be teaching that morning and looking at the weather reports the top was supposed to be cold. Very cold!
The Vikingmen came to conquer and they weren’t afraid of the cold. I so wanted to be like them! So, I said yes to the adventure and got a sub for my class. No need to squander an opportunity for joy and besides, I had really wanted to be on top of one more mountain this year. When the snows came early to the Lost River Range it deftly eliminated that option. And I just want to go on more adventures because basically, everything is on my ‘Bucket List!’ So technically I’m working on my ‘Black Belt’ in adventures!
Sometimes you just decide and go for it. No one is ever remembered for what they only planned to do! I’m standing on the threshold of a new adventure, the likes of which I can’t even begin to imagine.
My daughter Megan laughed when I told her it was a last-minute decision to climb. She’s like, “I can do a last minute let’s go to lunch – but climb a mountain?” Probably never for her!
Cozeth drove us up the mountain in her red diesel Dodge Ram, a 4x4 with high clearance. We drove through Oakley and turned on FS-562 (Logger Springs). The gravel/dirt roads we went up were slightly frozen, which was great since we were able to drive closer to the main trailhead.
It’s a brisk, crisp morning on the mountain. Temperatures say 18 degrees or so, but it will warm up during the day. We will warm up too! Cozeth hikes in short sleeves for a while. We walk the road up to the wooden fence. A sign saying ‘Independence Lakes’ marks the trail. I have hiked into these lakes numerous times but never via this route. I’m excited!
It’s a great trail with incredible scenery surrounding us. At the base of the tree line the landscape dramatically starts to change. It isn’t long before we are putting micro spikes onto our hikers. It’s amazing what an immediate difference this makes in our ability to move with bold, confident steps up the mountain.
I am enchanted by the thickly, frosted trees with layers of snow hiding evidence of the green from view. It’s as if a truckload of frosting was dumped from Heaven and it’s become a virtual wonderland of beauty glistening in the sunlight. I belong! I am in wonderland and my name is Alice!
We are walking carefully past and around the snow laden trees because if a chunk fell off at just the right moment and we were underneath it would not be pretty. Nature was not stingy when she landscaped the mountain in snow. Moments like this are incredible and visions like this become forever etched on my hard drive.
Cozeth is on point leading the charge for a while and breaking trail. Deb follows checking her Garmin occasionally using the ‘trail app’ to navigate the route up taken by Dan Robbins, Boise (Idaho Summits) when he last climbed. I am in great company! Hands down, I can follow easier that I can led.
What is it that calls the heart to wander? This I know.... mine loves to be out there in the mountains connecting with nature and seeing wildlife! Being here refreshes my spirit and my heart is vibrating with enthusiasm, sort of like a tuning fork that gets pinged. The afternoon is soon upon us and we want to make it down before it gets late and the sky darkens. Deb and Cozeth had discussed a turn around time of 2 p.m. and if we were not on the summit by then, we would try another day. It’s game on and the odds are stacked in our favor. A little after 1 p.m. we summit and as always, I have spent considerable time woohooing my way up (and then down) the mountain. It's a good emotion and I don't want to waste it. In my loudest and most enthusiastic outdoor voice…I keep saying, ‘YAY!’ That word is a normal vocabulary word for me on adventures. I am so grateful for moments that can never be replaced. Up here there is not much noise. No traffic, just a stillness with the melodies of nature playing in the background, the occasional wind through the trees or birds in the branches.
We is such a lovely word. We have so many priceless memories and so few days to create them in. We went on a hike! We laughed. We walked. We visited a lot. We took pictures. We froze (on top)! It's a word that shouts together. Life is often better when it's we. Solitude has its place, and contemplating life is always nice, but I love doing life as we.
As we near the summit a surge of anticipation floods over me. We did it! The scenery on top is spectacular and the air several degrees colder with the wind chill! So technically a shiver of joy washes over me! The way the wind blew across this summit has caused the snow to stand straight out on the summit post creating feathers at the end like a giant wing! Simply stunning. I’m astonished by the power of the wind and all it has done here. In fact, one small weed I’d seen on the climb up had about two inches of snow attached straight out from it. Mother Nature can be fierce! All the way up the mountain the trees have been extravagantly wrapped in snow-like white frosting splattered everywhere, but this takes the cake! Brown, calm, warm earth below and white-rugged cold, chaotic landscape above. I am snapping pictures but there’s not much time for sightseeing now. The breeze that blows cold suggests we head down quickly. We drop out of the biting wind, then stop in the warm sun for lunch.
We are almost down when I spot a buck standing in the trees. “Run!” I tell him, “There are people looking for you!” Back at the pickup there is much I am grateful for. Our hike today covered 8.8 miles and took us 5 1/2 hours. Both fun and ambitious! We should all have fun and beautiful ambitions for our lives although I’ll give you this, they will be different for each of us. But let me encourage you, take that road less traveled and wander down it for a long while. Those pictures will hang in the corner of your mind forever.
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."----Albert Schweitzer---- These friends I have climbed with today certainly do! Our minds were soon grinding at the possibilities of a future climb in the area which would include summitting Mount Independence also.
This was my second time on the summit of Cache Peak. On May 28th, 2011 I’d climbed up with our fearless Sherpa, Wallace Keck, Park Superintendent of the City of Rocks National Reserve, Almo; Linda Ziulkowski, Rupert; and Joyce Storey and Dean Shanklin, both Idaho Falls. Why? Because it's there. And I was invited. That climb began at 6,000 feet and the top 1,500 was covered in deep snow. We took a different approach that year and summitted in a full-blown blizzard. Wallace had brought little American flags for us to claim the summit with! It was such fun! Our trek down was through the mahogany trees and we slid off part of the mountain on a plastic bag.
I’ve discovered it's not just getting a goal that matters. It's the adventures and friends that you make along the way. But when the goal of what might be creates an impelling vision that implants itself firmly in your heart, you become more than you ever thought possible. And as a bonus, our imagination gets permission to go on a mini-vacation.
That’s what I want. Lots of mini-vacations. Although for now it might be time to stretch my feet out on the footstool, lace my fingers together behind my head and lean back and relax a moment until the next adventure calls. I’ll try to always pick up the phone on that!
Summary Total Data
    Weather:Cold, windy, beautiful!



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