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Gem & Estelle....Idaho's first OpenCache - OU0118
Overlooking Gem and Estelle Lakes
Owner: IDLookout
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Altitude: m. ASL.
 Region: United States > Idaho
Cache type: Traditional
Size: Regular
Status: Ready for Search
Date hidden: 2006-08-14
Date created: 2010-10-14
Date published: 2010-10-14
Last modification: 2010-10-15
1x Found
0x Not found
0 notes
watchers 0 watchers
538 visitors
1 x rated
Rated as: n/a
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Cache attributes

Dangerous  Listed on OCNA Only  In the Woods 

Please read the Opencaching attributes article.
Description EN

View from the Cache on an unnamed peak between Gem Lake (above right) and Lake Estelle (above left) at an elevation of 6721’.

View from near the cache on an unnamed peak between Lake Estelle (above left) and Gem Lake (above right).

This Cache is located on the top of a ridge peak between Gem Lake and Lake Estelle. To start off with, this is not an "easy" cache. Between the scramble over a talus slope and slippery bear grass on a 40 degree slope to the hike up the final ridge, it's an adventure.

The cache site is 1000' above the lakes, at an elevation of 6721'. The views are unmatched in the area, especially since you can see 4 lakes (Gem, Estelle, Moose, Darling) at once (if you are in the exactly the right spot and "jump" a little to see Darling...)

The cache is right on the line separating the Kootenai National Forest from the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

As for Mountain Peaks, Mount Pend Oreille is to the northwest, Smith Mtn is to the northeast, the Lunch Peak Lookout is due west, and Moose Mtn is due south.

This hike has an elevation gain of 2100 feet, and it's 5 miles round trip. Of course 1/2 of that hike is off trail so that makes it a bit more difficult.

To get to the Cache site, travel 16 miles up Trestle Creek Road 275 to Lightning Creek Road 419; turn north and go ¾ mile to the trailhead for Gem Lake Trail No. 554. Hike up the Gem Lake Trail for 1-1/2 miles until you get to Gem Lake. The trail section (up to Gem Lake) is in fine shape. The rest of it is, well, you get to find your own "path." On the eastern side of the lake at the swampy area, follow the talus slope on the southerly hill up to the "saddle" (48 22.692, 116 07.600) - then follow the ridge to the cache site. I don't recommend a "straight-shot" from the lake up through the brush, as it's a bit "discouraging" at times, if you know what I mean.

An alternate route for this Cache is to turn off on Moose Creek Road 1022 right before the Gem Lake trailhead. Follow this out to the Moose Lake trail 237 trailhead. Hike out to the Lake Estelle Trail 36, and then follow this to Lake Estelle. Then bushwhack up to the Saddle, follow the ridge up to the Cache. This route is a little flatter (though about twice as long) on the lower section, but about the same elevation gain above the lake.

One other warning: If you are skittish about hiking in Grizzly/Black bear country, you may want to skip this hike. On my way up the very steep slope I saw a very, very large, very round, dirty-blonde bear's rear end for a few seconds before a large head looked back at me. Then he quickly disappeared up toward the ridge. There have been grizzly sightings here (there used to be a laminated "grizzly sighted" sign at the trailhead, but it's gone now), and I’ve seen a few others a bit farther northeast years ago.

  This cache used to be listed at Groundspeak, but I moved it exclusively over here for Idaho's first OpenCache (I also have a Terracache a bit down the ridge). I recommend this hike for those of you who like to get off trail every once in a while and go where a lot of people don't. I Really suggest reading the hint. It would be a shame to get all the way to this cache and not find it.

Additional waypoints
Symbol Type Coordinates Description
Parking area --- Trailhead / Parking Area
Interesting place --- The "Saddle"
Additional hints
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Log entries: Found 1x Not found 0x Note 0x All entries