The day we left Boise we drove right to the Saw Tooth Mountains in the Saw Tooth National Forest. The mountain range is probably visible from a greater distance then what we saw but fires in and around Idaho have left a smoky haze on the horizon. We drove through Stanley Idaho stopping for gas, fuel for our stove, and some interesting looks from some trailered llamas before heading to Alturas Lake just about 13 miles away. We were out of luck on getting fuel for the Jetboil due to eclipse crowds the previous week, which meant we would need to get creative about our dehydrated dinner!
Alturas Lake is a beautiful and chilly mountain lake with a really nice campground that has spigots for drinking water and some duff type toilets. It was warm and later then we expected when we got there so we just set up camp and went to the lake for a swim. The inlet creek was teaming with young salmon (which I had never seen in person before).
We met a very nice family, the Jones’, who boiled us water for our meals, regaled us with tales of the pacific northwest, and invited us for more hot water in the morning to make our coffees. The night ended well with some quick planning for a morning hike and a night with the rain fly off the tent to really enjoy a clear starry night!
After coffee in the morning Jacque and I headed out for an easy 8-mile flat hike to Bridal Veil Falls just off the Stanley Lake Trail at the base of the Saw Tooth Mountain Range. Once parked we ran into some Department of Forestry fire fighters headed in to check on an old fire. They told us we were fine to go on our route and not to worry. Bear spray in hand we headed out along a mostly flat and very well maintained trail. The scenery was once again breath taking. By scenery I mean the mountain range, woods, and pretty much everything except the falls. This trail doesn’t get you very close to them and from a distance they were not as grandiose as we had made them in our head. Luckily we know to curb out expectations so the whole thing was actually rather amusing and I would still say its worth going out to wander this area. I think if I ever go back I will attempt one of the Alpine Summits to the top of the range. Alas Jacque has a cold and the smoke wasn’t helping so we took our time, took a relaxed trail, and got a later start than intended for the 6 hours to Lewiston to meet up with Jacque’s biological mom.
I don’t normally like to drive long distances but so far this road trip has had many highlights in the driving. The drive from the Saw Tooth National Forest to Lewiston was never boring and the countryside made the drive more an adventure in “Holy Crap” then anything else. The route we drove took us through 4 national forests (Saw Tooth, Boise, Payette, and Nez Pierce), Hells Canyon, across the Pacific Time line, and along the Snake and Salmon Rivers. With no service through most of the trip we decided to start making a list of things to Google when we get back to civilization. So far we need to know what the blue bird with the weird head thing is, what salmon eat, more about Hells Canyon, when does a hill become a mountain, and if Hells Canyon is from earth quakes or volcano’s. Also we still haven’t seen the finale of Game of Thrones and we hear there is no cell service or wifi at the Ranch so looks like it will be after Glacier before we can see it! At least no service means no distractions and no spoilers! I think I might be in love with Idaho! It’s really very special and weird in how its nothing like what I thought!