Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Idaho, Part I

Saturday, August 9
We have a rule never move on Friday or Saturday as most public CG’s are full. We broke the rule and escaped from the low and warm elevation back to 5,100 feet only an hour down the road. We are the Ponderosa SP in McCall, ID. Full hookups and even a fuzzy over the air TV signal. The town is on Payette Lake. The town and homes look a lot like Lake Tahoe on a smaller scale.

Sunday, August 10
A lazy day. We watched CBS Sunday Morning and then checked out a CG north of here that we will move to in the morning to be close to a place to put the yaks in the water.

Monday, August 11
We moved to the north unit of the Ponderosa SP at the upper end of Payette Lake. No hookups, TV or cell signals, but a quieter and more scenic CG. The Payette River is a joy to paddle. We paddled upstream to where the current becomes moderate and coasted home.

Tuesday, August 12
We were going to drive up in the mountains and see the Salmon River from the southern shore, but the roads became severe washboard and we turned back.

After lunch, we paddled downstream toward the lake until we were tired and turned around.

Wednesday, August 13
We headed south on ID55 along the North Fork of the Payette River and turned east on the South Fork of the Payette River. For every canyon and valley, there is a stream or river. We stopped at the ranger station and inquired about campgrounds. He suggested Bonneville and we took his suggestion. So we are in yet another campsite on stream, this one is called Warm Springs Creek. And yes, there is a hot springs you can soak in a few hundred yards up the river from the CG. We tried it and it was too hot for our taste. There are several hot springs in the area and we may sample them.

There are over 50 named Forest Service CG’s, plus numerous unnamed and free ones in the area.

Thursday, August 14
Our purpose for being in Idaho is to see jagged fin mountains and so far they have eluded us. Today we drove further east to Stanley to see if we could spot some mountains. We were rewarded, but they did not meet my expectations. We inspected Stanley Lake and Redfish Lake CG’s. The first one was not at all scenic, diseased trees had been cut and left in the CG. Redfish Lake is one fine body of water with several CG’s around the shore. All the CG’s are filled with teaming masses and the lodge is overflowing. We found Sunny Gulch CG to be more to our liking. It’s close to Redfish Lake, so we can enjoy the water without being confined with the masses.

We enjoyed a pizza at Sawtooth Luce’s café and spotted a red Lazy Daze parked outside someone’s yard.

Friday, August 15
We really need to quit sleeping until 8am. The temperature is already warm by the time we are ready for the day.

At 10, we got off for the closest destination to us, Grandjean. We hoped for a better view of the mountains, but were again only tantalized with glimpses. We hiked an hour and twenty minutes uphill on Trail Lakes Trail, but wound up in a canyon and it appeared it would be another two hours until we could break free from the canyon and that was well beyond our limits.

When we got down, a young fellow approached me about taking him and his brother out to the highway. They had hiked that morning nearly 30 miles from Pettit-Toxaway Lake across the Sawtooths on the Idaho State Centennial Trail. His brother had injured his leg, so they were not going to be able to make the return hike. We drove them to the highway and they immediately flagged another car headed toward Stanley.

Saturday, August 16
We drove the Dagger Falls Road to see the falls and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Had we known, we could have saved our gasoline. Much of the area looks like toothpicks on hillsides, the result of a fire some years back. The river water level is so low, they stopped rafting there August 6th. Oh and the falls do not fall very far. Time to move on. We are a month late being in Idaho, water levels are down and it is too warm. Maybe we should have gone to Canada this year even with the poor exchange rate? They do have the best mountains in North America, except for Alaska.

Sunday, August 17
We drove 37 miles east to Stanley and are in the Sunny Gulch CG. It’s sunny! We are at 6,500 feet, but the high was 89. We do have internet and one TV station.

Monday, August 18
We have the only partially shaded site in Sunny Gulch and that’s the problem, not enough sun to charge the batteries. We can move a mile down the road and get an open site for free or take a more sunny site here for $7.50. We moved, but only got to 90% charge. Watching two hours of TV takes a lot of power.

We have had enough of Idaho. I was expecting a lot. I am disappointed. People here really like the scenery. We give it a B-. Wyoming is several notches above Idaho. We rate Wyoming A-. I don’t see us ever returning to Idaho.

The predicted high for today would have set a record, but for whatever reason, it was a little cooler. The hottest part of the day here is around 5pm. It starts to cool off by 9pm and is slightly chilly at 7am.

We are going a little south tomorrow - toward Sun Valley. We will spend a few more nights in the Sawtooth’s if we can find a campsite – it’s crowded here. Then we will escape to Oregon. 55 and rainy sounds good to us.

Tuesday, August 19
We finally found the scenic part of the Sawtooth’s. It’s all south of Stanley.
At the Galena Overlook, the smoke was thick from a local fire, so we will come back another day.

We found an ideal campsite next to a babbling stream, Prairie Creek. And it’s free. The closest camper is a quarter mile away. We had a great sunset toast to Ann Rosenburger’s birthday.

Wednesday, August 20
We hiked a mile to see Mountain Goats. They were there – on a hill about a mile away and about a half a mile up. If we had not had high power optics, we would have seen nothing. With the optics, we saw six white dots.

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