Instructor: Abby Wolford
June 12, 2013
Cramer Lakes The Cramer Lakes are nestled six miles up a gentle incline from Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness of Idaho. The jagged, irregular peaks of the ridges surrounding the lakes form the horizon. Mt Cramer towers over the rest at an elevation of 10,715 feet, the second highest mountain in the range. Each of the three lakes has a short outflow into the next, eventually reaching the South fork of the Payette River. The drainage from the upper lake tumbles over a twenty foot cliff, forming a stunning waterfall and a rewarding site for the weary backpacker. The lakes appear as though there is a massive sheet of glass covering the surface, void of imperfections, allowing fish in even the deepest part of the lake to be seen from shore. A picture of my future wife, Janny, and me standing at the edge of the middle Cramer Lake is framed on our living room wall. Unfortunately, amateur photography does not accurately illustrate my memory of that day's beauty or do the scenery justice. Our satisfied smiles neglect to describe the details of nine blisters on her feet or of sleeping only five hours on the cold, lumpy ground the night before. I had moved to Idaho seven months earlier and this was my maiden voyage into the Idaho wilderness. Despite my silent discomfort and green-horn status in the world of backpacking, this picture identifies in my heart the first time I felt as if I was truly home since leaving Atlanta.
I was born and raised in Florida near the coast and went to college in South Carolina. My father is a CPA and owns his own practice, so my initial plan was to major in accounting and work with him after I graduated. After suffering through my first accounting class, I changed my focus and majored in economics. Intense work in finance for ten years, first as a stock broker and then as managing partner of a hedge fund, burned me out. My career was demanding to say the