Sunday, June 28, 2009

We headed north on SR-75 stopping along the way to check out the campgrounds around Alturas Lake.

There are three campgrounds along the lake: Smokey Bear, North Shore & Inlet. Smokey Bear is down by the lake and has a boat ramp, North Shore sits higher above the lake, and Inlet is at the south end of the lake and is on Alturas Lake Creek. All are $15 per day (half-price with the Golden Age/Golden Access Passports (now the Senior/Access Passes). Of the three, we liked Inlet better, although once we get our Sea Eagle inflatable boat (on order), we may opt for Smokey Bear.

We then stopped to check out the campgrounds around Little Redfish Lake and Redfish Lake, located about five miles south of Stanley. The two campground around Little Redfish Lake, Chinook Bay and Mountain View plus Mt. Heyburn Campground on Redfish Lake are first come/first serve campgrounds. At the others, one must have reservations.

We found a site at Mt. Heyburn Campground that we looked like it might have satellite TV access (it does) and since we're only about 5 miles from Stanley, I figured we'd have Internet access, too (we do). We've signed up for two nights, but we may decide to stay over the 4th of July weekend.

Before we reached the turnoff for Alturas Lake, we stopped at Galena Overlook, just after passing over Galena Summit and took these pictures:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We moved from northeast of Ketchum to northwest of Ketchum...we're currently at Baker Creek Sno Park along SR-75.
Earl put on his waders and did some fishing, but without any luck.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

We left our camping spot early and headed north to Bellevue to pick up our mail. We arrived at the post office about 15 minutes before they opened, so had to wait.

Earl asked directions to the laundromat when he went in to pick up the mail, but when we went by, it was closed (even though the sign on the door said they should have been open), so we drove on up to Hailey and did laundry there. Afterward, we stopped at McDonalds for lunch.

We're now parked about 5.5 to 6.5 miles northeast of Ketchum on Trail Creek Road. There are dark clouds to the east of us up in the mountains and we've already received some rain.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Before leaving Twin Falls this morning, we stopped to fill up with diesel ($2.699), do grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and pick up a few items at Costco.

We then headed north on US-93 and SR-75, stopping along the way to visit the Mammoth Cave and Shoshone Bird Museum of Natural History. Mammoth Cave is a large lava tube...according to their website, it is the largest lava tube in the world open to the public. We were given propane lanterns to view the cave. Unfortunately, they don't really illuminate the cave really well...maybe in the future, they'll put in lights so it is better illuminated.

The Bird Museum was interesting...besides stuffed birds, there were mammals such as Bobcats, butterfly collections, Native American collections of baskets and pots.

By the time we were through there, we didn't feel like touring another cave, so didn't stop to see the Ice Cave a little farther north. After reading about it, though, we might stop and tour it at another time.

In the middle picture, below, you'll notice some carved stone heads. There were many of these heads sitting around the place...but I forgot to ask about them, so don't know the story behind them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Pictures

The two pictures below are of the Twin Sisters. Although they look similar, particularly in the second picture, the Sister on the left is 2.5 billion years old, while the Sister on the right is a mere 25 million years old. The older Sister is made of rock in a formation that geologists call the Green River Complex and is some of the oldest rock in the Lower 48. The youngest Sister is made of rock in a far younger formation that geologists call the Almo Pluton.

Oregon Trail ruts:

We took another trip through the City of Rocks National Reserve, this time driving road down to the Twin Sisters. We then drove out the Junction Entrance and up through Oakley. We stopped at the Lex Kunau Park in Burley to have lunch, and then headed west on US-30 back to Twin Falls, stopping along the way to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Site near Milner Dam on the Snake River.

We're back at Rock Creek RV Park for tonight. Tomorrow, we'll head north to Bellevue where we're having our mail sent.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We left Twin Falls after dumping our grey tank and filling up with diesel ($2.679), heading east on US-30 and SR-81 to Declo where we headed south on SR-77 to Connor. From Connor, we traveled southwest on Almo Road to Almo where we stopped at the City of Rocks National Reserve Visitor's Center.

After picking up a few brochures, we headed off to the Reserve. Our intentions were to find a camping spot for a night or two, but all the RV accessible sites were already taken. We stopped to take some pictures and headed back to Almo and Castleview RV Park, just south of town.

This campground has no services (dry camping only), but it's only $10...and, so far, we're the only people here, so it should be nice and quiet.

We are planning on driving through the Reserve again tomorrow, stopping and taking more pictures, and then driving out the west entrance and on to Oakley and beyond.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We were planning on spending a couple of days in Idaho Falls and then go north to Ashton to drive the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway and the Teton Scenic Byway. But, when we checked the weather report on Saturday, we found that on Sunday, the area was supposed to have "severe" thunderstorms (defined as damaging winds, hail, and rain). So we decided to leave the two byways for a later time and headed south on I-15 and then west on I-86 and I-84. Along the way, we did run into heavy rain and, while it wasn't quite hail, it was more than just rain. We spent last night at the Elks Lodge in Jerome (north of Twin Falls).

Today dawned clear and sunny. After breakfast, we headed off to Costco trying to find a new Benchmark Idaho Atlas since the one we have is several years old and falling apart, but they didn't have one (we'd stopped at the Costco in Pocatello yesterday, too, looking for the map, but they didn't have one, either).

We had lunch at Arby's and then went to the Visitor's Center and then on to view Shoshone Falls, east of Twin Falls.

Tonight, we're at Rock Creek RV Park, a Twin Falls city park ($11 for water and electric hookups).

Golf course in the Snake River Canyon, taken from the Visitor's Center.

L.B. Perrine Bridge. 1500' long, 486' maximum height above the Snake River Canyon.

Shoshone Falls. 212' high (50' higher than Niagara Falls).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Charcoal Kilns

Our third, and final stop, was at the charcoal kilns located at the base of the Lemhi Range.

The kilns were built in 1886 by Warren King of Butte, Montana from clay said to be from deposits along Jump Creek on the east side of the valley (Birch Creek Valley). The kilns made charcoal for the two blast furnaces at the smelter across the valley at Nicholia which processed silver and lead ore from the Viola Mine.

At one time, there were 16 kilns all in a row here, but now there are only four, the others having been raided for building bricks elsewhere. The remaining four are protected by the Targhee National Forest.

Quoted from Roadside History of Idaho by Betty Derig, p. 153:

In its prime, each kiln held thirty to forty cords of wood and produced about 1,500 bushels of charcoal per load. filling one usually required a full day, and it took a week more for the wood to burn and cool. ... It is estimated that they hauled 150,000 cords of wood for the brick kilns and an even greater amount for some forty open-pit kilns. When the kilns were abandoned in 1889, forty acres of cordwood lay stacked and ready to burn.

Forty acres of, that would have been something to see!

Gilmore, ID

Our next stop was Gilmore, an old mining town that is now a ghost town (although a few people still live there and, in fact, there is land for sale could probably get a really good deal!).

Picture from the kiosk at Gilmore

Post Office/Mercantile building

Leadore, ID

On our way from McFarland Recreation Area where we spent Thursday night, to Kaufman Sportsman Access area where we spent last night, we made several stops, the first being the small town of Leadore.

We stopped to take a picture of an old church...there was no sign indicating denomination, but it's my guess it's probably Mormon [probably not, since, as I've learned, Morman churches don't have crosses]...and the remains of what was undoubtedly a bank in days gone by. The only thing remaining is the safe!

We'd also seen several old cars pass us going north on SR-28, one of which was parked in Leadore. Just as I had finished taking pictures of the car (a Stevens-Duryea), the owner came out. Earl asked him if there was a car rally going on somewhere, but he said, no, it's just a group of owners touring the U.S. All told, we saw about 12 old cars heading north.

Last night was spent camping at Kaufman Sportsman Access area along SR-28 north of Mud Lake (didn't have Internet access there). Earl was going to do some fishing, but the wind was howling and later on, it started raining, so he didn't even attempt to go down to Birch Creek, just a few hundred feet from our door.

The picures below were taken during a break in the weather...the rainbow just after the first rain storm:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When we left Salmon, we pulled into McFarland Recreation Area a few miles north of Leadore on SR-28 for lunch. A storm was brewing to the north, so we decided to wait awhile before heading on down the road. Well, Earl got into a conversation with another camper, and before we knew it, it was 2 o'clock...and since we're usually off the road by 2 or 3, we decided to spend the night.

This is a nice, small BLM campground...only five sites, one of which is set up with full hookups for a camp host (electric turned off and dump locked since there isn't currently anyone filling the position). It's nestled in the Lemhi Valley between the Lemhi Range to the west and the Beaverhead Mountains to the east.

Since we are traveling the Sacajawea Historic Byway (SR-28 between Salmon and Mud Lake), we stopped in Salmon to tour the Sacajawea Center. This whole area is rich in Lewis & Clark fact, the "Corps of Discovery" crossed the Continental Divide into Idaho at Lemhi Pass southeast of Salmon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We stopped in Hamilton to do laundry and have lunch.  The laundromat was very nice...unlike some we've run into.
It started raining after we crossed Lost Trail Pass on US-93 at the Idaho/Montana border, and has continued to rain.  We stopped in North Fork to drain tanks and fill up with fresh water and are now parked at a pulloff along US-93 south of North Fork.  Hopefully, it'll be done raining by tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

After leaving Haugan this morning, we stopped at the Costco in Missoula and at the Safeway to fill up with diesel ($2.369). Then it was down US-93 on our way back to Idaho. We're spending the night at Blodgett Canyon Campground in the Bitterroot National Forest northwest of Hamilton. It's a small campground (6 sites) at the entrance to the canyon...a popular place for hikers (the Blodgett Canyon trail, according to the camp host is 12 miles long). We got the last site open in the campground.

Here are some picture of the surrounding cliffs...unfortunately, there is no good view down the canyon from this vantage point.