hikersThe majority of people who visit the interior of the Boulder-White Clouds get there on foot. For many decades, the area has attracted hikers who come to camp and fish. Director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, Lynne Stone, has been spending time in the Boulder-White Clouds with her son for more than 20 years. Their first camping and fishing trip was at Fourth of July Lake when he just five years old. Now that he is older, they bypass the lower lakes, go over ridges, and follow mountain goat trails to places where few humans are.

“As he has moved on and lives out of state now, we still talk about those places we went to,” reflected Stone. “The times we got scared climbing and I got cliffed out, he was able to go on and get to the top. I gave him the camera. He is ten years old, and I am handing him the camera because I’m scared to death. These are memories in the society that we live in where most kids seem to spend their life in front of a keyboard and a computer. Or they are wrapped up in sports like baseball where there are winners and losers. You go into the backcountry. You set up your campfire. You get your tent and your camp set up. Everybody is a winner. It’s just something that all ages can do. Listen to the quiet where all you can hear is the sound of the wind blowing through the whitebark pines. You can hear rocks rolling that those mountain goats are sending down. And you can look up and try to find them. That’s what makes it a special place.”

Around 300 miles of trails draw hikers from around the nation to the Boulder-White Clouds. Idahoan Tom Pomeroy said he has had his best outdoor experiences in Idaho in the Boulder-White Clouds. He remembers a particular hike where he saw more than 180 elk in one place, and a night camping at a lake where he looked at a map and realized that in one line he was more than 20 miles from a road. Pomeroy values the Boulder-White Clouds for its silence and expansiveness. He said: “Some of the ridge opportunities are amazing here. You can stand at places in the Boulders and see the Pioneers, Mount Borah, the Sawtooths, and into the River of No Return country. If you are on top of Castle Peak, you can see the Continental Divide in Montana on a clear day. You can see out into the Snake River Plain. The views and the scenery here are world-class.”


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