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Date:  August 24, 2003

Location  West Eagle Loop Backpack - Day 5

Where:  Minam River to Tombstone Lake


John on the Minam River Bridge

It was great to wake up to a dry morning. Today was our turn around day, after two days of descent we began our climb out of the Minam. It was a pleasant climb up the forested Elk Creek Trail. We knew it would be a climb of over 2400 feet so we resolved not to stop for lunch until we were within 500 ft elevation of Tombstone Lake. We caught a glimpse of Diamond Lake, which I planned comming back and exploring tomorrow. Pikas entertained us here on the rocky slopes.

Jeanette crossing Elk Creek

At last we reached Tombstone Lake and knew at once we had reached our Shangri-La. Tomorrow would be a lay-over day here so we were determined to have the perfect campsite, which meant a clean flat site near the lake, with a view, out of the wind, with some protection, with morning sunshine, but with afternoon shade! Quite a list, but John found the site that met all our requirements. It was actually not on Tombstone Lake, but on a peninsula of one of the smaller four adjacent unnamed lakes.

Jim fishing at camp

I was pretty tired from the day, but after some lemonade, gorp and a cup of hot chocolate I set out to try my hand with the rising trout. Using a dry line, with a long 15 ft leader and a small #18 weighted callibaetis nymph, I made careful casts to the rings left by feeding fish. If everything went just right I got a savage strike from a hungry brook trout. The water was so clear that even John and Jeanette could watch the whole drama, from the rising trout, to the nymph hitting the water, to the trout turning to take its intended prey. Standing within a few feet of camp I soon had three fish, one for each of us for dinner.