Saturday, November 12, 2011

Passing Through Idaho

After taking in the sights of the unconformably implausible Indian Riding the Dinosaur display north of Twin Falls, it is time to hit the road. There is major Idaho real estate to motor across and we are burning daylight. We will in due course stay on US93 for hundreds and hundreds of twisting mountainous and straighter valley miles, through central Idaho and western Montana all the way to the Canadian border. Interestingly, beyond the border this highway retains the number 93 if not the same country as it courses itself into and up through our neighbor to the north. 

Trending roughly north–south, the Sawtooth Mountains are one of the highest ranges in south–central Idaho. Glaciers carved the landscape and in this area left remnants of their passage in the form of moraines. For our first night on the road JC suggests we sleep under the stars in the Sawtooth Mountains National Recreation Area at Redfish Lake, an alpine lake nestled on glacial sediments north of Galena Summit and about five miles south of Stanley.

104_0486SawtoothValleyFrom GalenaPass
Sawtooth Valley from Galena Summit

As we make a few passes seeking a site with a picnic table in the lakeside campground we discover to our surprises that it is popular and full. Dispersed table–free camping alongside the upper reaches of the Salmon River will have to suffice on this mid–summer night.  We sleep in our cars, anyway, so it really doesn't matter where we park ourselves.

Dispersed camper

104_0488Salmon RiverNearRedfish Lake
Salmon River near Redfish Lake
After dinner we relax as darkness gradually descends around us, a moonless sky full of infinite specks of flickering stars stretching further than our imaginations could ever take us. In the morning we shake the sleep from our brains and check out the lake. We don’t fish, but there are miles of hiking trails nearby that would love to take us into the high country if we had the time.

104_0490Redfish Lake
Traveling buddies

Soon we climb back into our cars once again, eager to follow the road north along the Salmon River Scenic Byway. The first time we pull over for photo ops we are barely five minutes from the camping site we just abandoned.

Allow a lot of time if you ever decide to drive this route.  At this rate, we will need an extra week or two to get where we are going. 

104_0491Salmon RiverScenicByway
Sawtooth Mountains



  2. There's more Idaho and then Montana ahead on the way to the Burgess Shale!