Eight Days, Six Peaks
Like a Bird Dog on Point
Story and Photos by Alice Schenk
Wayne and I had left our Rupert home early, hoping to beat the storm we knew would blow through later on that Labor Day in 2020. But as we descended from the Franklin County High Point, the wind that wraps the globe came whipping through the trees and across the top of the mountain, kicking up dust. Regardless, it had been a wonderful day, tagging high point number thirty-one for me, as I continued my chase to summit all forty-four county high points in Idaho.
Franklin County’s High Point is an unnamed peak that stands at 9,484 feet in the Wasatch Range on the border with Bear Lake County. The high point is actually two very small and sharp pinnacles atop a great rounded and rocky summit. To reach it, we took Highway 89 to the turnoff for the Beaver Mountain Ski Area (this would be our third county high point near a ski resort). As we drove along Beaver Creek past the Beaver Creek Campground, I was surprised to see many beaver dams were still intact. The road in was brutal, with deep ruts and big rocks. We pulled our SUV over a few times to let trucks pass that were pulling trailers and four-wheelers down the mountain. At Danish Pass, we parked and began the hike, which was short and straightforward. When we got back to the vehicle, we drove through Egan Basin to Pat Hollow, the site of a January 1953 plane crash that killed forty returning Korean War veterans who went down in bad weather on their way from Seattle to North Carolina. We returned to the highway at St. Charles and continued past Bear Lake and Fish Haven—a different route home because extreme afternoon winds were expected in the Pocatello area.
“A very strong cold front will surge into southeastern Idaho, with damaging and dangerous winds,” the National Weather Service in Pocatello warned. “We need to emphasize this is not a typical windy day in Idaho. This is an extraordinarily strong backdoor cold front bringing in a surge of cold Canadian air. Winds from a strong northerly direction in September are atypical. Wind speeds of 30 to 40 m.p.h. and gusts exceeding 55 m.p.h. are expected to come surging down from the North between 3 p.m. and midnight.”