Friday, July 31, 2009

Common eriophyllum
(Eriophyllum lanatum (Pursh) J. Forbes)

We've moved over to Elk Creek Campground which has electrical hookups. We finally had to turn on the generator yesterday so we could run the A/C, so we'll be hooked up to electricity for the next couple of days.

Earl didn't have any luck catching fish in the reservoir...guess most of the trout that were planted earlier in the year, have been fished out. Earl is going to try his luck in Elk Creek that runs near this campground...he just took off wearing his waders and carrying his fishing pole.

We're not sure where we'll go when we leave here. We've been talking about heading up the St. Joe River again...when we were there earlier, the river was still running high and fishing wasn't so good. Maybe it'll be better now...hopefully, we'll also be able to find some cooler weather! I guess we can't complain too much, though...heard on the news the other day where it was 102° in Seattle! Yikes!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As I sit here in the camper while Earl is out paddling around the reservoir in his boat, fishing, I notice a bunch of logging truck going by...heading south, they're empty, but heading north, they're carrying logs.

Where do they go to pick up the logs? Where do they take the logs? In answer to the latter question, they *might* be taking them to Clarkia. When we stopped there to have lunch earlier in the year after leaving Elk River, we drove through town and noticed what appeared to be a staging area for logs.

Earl didn't have any luck on his first trip fishing from the boat, although he said he did get a nibble. Tomorrow, we may move over the the Forest Service campground that has electrical got hot enough here that we have the generator on running the A/C. We can easily go through most of one propane tank running the generator and A/C all day and it costs us around $14 or more to fill one will only cost us $7.50 a day at the FS campground.
Yellow salsify
(Tragopogon dubius)
We're back at Elk Creek Reservoir near Elk River where Earl plans on taking the Sea Eagle boat out for the first time since he got it about half a month ago. It's not too bad here, temperature-wise, so we're dry camping along the shores of the reservoir like we did before. If it gets too hot, we'll move to the Forest Service campground nearby that has electrical hookups.

Instead of going north on the Elk River Back Country Byway like we did previously, we drove west on US-12 to its junction with SR-3 where we headed northeast through Deary and Bovill. It's a longer drive, but it's all paved unlike most of the Byway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After leaving Clark Canyon Reservoir, where we spent Friday night, we stopped in Dillon to get groceries and diesel ($2.429) and then had lunch at Big Hole Crossing in Wisdom. That night, we spent at May Creek Campground on SR-43 west of Big Hole National Battlefield where we attended a talk by a Nez Perce tribal member.

On Sunday, we stopped in Hamilton to do laundry, dump tanks, and fill with fresh water. From there, we headed north to Lolo and then west on US-12, where we camped at Lolo Creek Campground for the night.

Continuing our trip down US-12, on Monday we stopped at Knife Edge River Access so Earl could fish. This particular section of the river only allows barbless hooks and artificial lures and Earl didn't have any luck, so we continued on to the Kamiah Riverfront Park.

We've spent the last couple of days at the Pink House BLM Recreation Area where we've stayed before. Tomorrow morning, we're leaving for Elk River where Earl is going to launch his boat for the very first time in the reservoir there..and hopefully, catch a few fish!

Bear River fleabane

( Erigeron ursinus D.C. Eaton )

Friday, July 24, 2009

We visited Lower and Upper Mesa Falls this morning:

Lower Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls

Lower Mesa Falls was pretty spectacular, but Upper Mesa Falls was even more so!

Then we went to see Big Springs and John Sack's cabin:

Considered part of the headwaters of the Henrys Fork, Big Springs emerges from the Yellowstone aquifer. Each day, 420 million gallons of water flow from the aquifer at a constant 52 degrees. John Sack was a local character who built the house across the is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

We then drove parts of the Fort Henry Historic Byway and the Lost Gold Trails Loop, stopping to read about the 1877 Nez Perce battle at Camas Meadows:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We left Twin Falls on Tuesday and spent that night at the South Tourist Park in Idaho Falls.

Before leaving Idaho Falls on Wednesday, we stopped at the Fred Meyer to do grocery shopping and fill up with diesel ($2.489 with Fred Meyer's Fuel Saver card). We also stopped at the Tesoro to get propane. Last night was spent at Pine Creek Campground on SR-31 southwest of Victor (on the Teton Scenic Byway).

This morning we continued north on the Teton Scenic Byway through Victor, Driggs, and Tetonia. In Driggs, we drove all the way up to grand Targhee Resort hoping to get a great view of the Tetons. No view of the Tetons at the Resort, but we did get a view of Grand Teton, Middle Teton, and South Teton from a scenic overlook:

Instead of continuing on the Teton Scenic Byway when we got to Tetonia, we continued west on SR-33 to see the remains of the Teton Dam which broke back in 1976. You can watch a You Tube video that was taken at the time: . You can read more about the failure of the dam here. Google "Teton Dam" and you'll come up with lots of other stories. Here is what it looks like now:

Tonight, we're parked along SR-47 north of Warm River, south of Upper and Lower Mesa Falls which we will go see tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Yesterday was Earl's birthday...the big 7-0! As usual for our birthdays, we didn't do much in the way of celebrating except go out to dinner at Carino's Italian Restaurant here in Twin Falls...very good Italian food!

This morning, Earl is going to take the truck to the local Dodge dealer to get the oil changed.

Common bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva Pursh)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We left Stanley on Friday morning after dumping tanks at the Stanley Ranger Station. Last night was spent boondocking at Baker Creek Sno Park, the same place we'd stayed earlier on the trip north.

We made Twin Falls today and are parked at Rock Creek RV Park again with water and electric hookups (a good thing, too, since it's over 90 degrees here!). We dropped the camper off the truck and went to Wal-Mart to get groceries plus a life jacket for Earl to wear when he goes out on his new boat.
On Thursday, Mom, Lorri, Earl and I took a tour around the Stanley area.

The first stop was the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery about 5 miles south of town. A couple of outside ponds held adult Chinook Salmon...yum! (Unfortunately, I'm sure they'd frown on anyone throwing a line in!) The Visitor's Center had some interesting displays, but the most interesting part of the whole self-guided tour was a chance to step into one of the large trailers outside the rearing ponds where an automated adipose fin clipping operation was going on. A young man explained the whole process to us.

The large automated fin clipping trailers cost about $1.1 million, but can be moved from hatchery to hatchery (the adipose fin is clipped to distinguish hatchery-raised fish from the wild population). Using sophisticated computer-aided photography, the machine sorts the sub-yearling fish by length. Pneumatic gates divert the fish in tubes toward one of six snipping lines. Each fish then slides down to the end of a tiny chute, where an automatic clipper precisely clips the fin. Those that somehow slip through without getting their adipose fin clipped, are done by hand. These automated trailers can clip about 90,000 fish per day.

We then headed east on SR-75 to Bonanza and Custer, two mining towns that are now ghost towns. Our first stop was the cemetery in Bonanza:

We then went further up the hill to "Boot Hill." There are only three people buried here: Agnes Elizabeth (Lizzie) King, Richard King (Lizzie's first husband) and Robert Hawthorne (Lizzie's second husband). A sign at the site told the bizarre story of these three people plus Charles Franklin.

The next stop was Custer where several building remain. One of the buildings now contains the museum and another, what used to be a saloon, contains a gift shop.

Brockman Cabin


Empire Saloon (Gift Shop)

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My mother and sister arrived in Stanley on Sunday and we've had an enjoyable time visiting with them. Lorri has cooked some scrumptious meals (Thai and Greek) and Earl and I have also cooked a couple of meals, albeit more pedestrian (hamburgers one night and pork chops the next).

Mom, Lorri, and Earl have had some luck fishing...a total of eight trout. They ran out of the night crawlers Earl had bought a while back so Lorri bought some more that were green (probably dyed)...the fish didn't like those green worms at all! (Well, who wants to eat something green that's not supposed to be green?)

Earl and I have been spending each night out on Elk Meadows Road (before I said Elk Creek, but the sign on SR-21 says Elk Meadows even though one of the interior roads does say Elk Creek which does, in fact, run along Elk Creek). It's been nice and quiet out here with not another soul in sight...except for the wolf we heard and saw yesterday evening. Earl says he heard a couple of bull Elk a couple of mornings ago, but he didn't get up to see them.

Today will be our last day visiting with Mom and Lorri...they leave to go back to Melba tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Wednesday, before we left Salmon, we stopped to pick up a few groceries and then in Challis to fill up with diesel ($2.799).

We wanted to check out the Earthquake Visitor Information Center north of Mackay which details the October 28, 1983 7.3 earthquake in the Lost River Range. The Thousand Springs Valley dropped 7.5 feet that day while the Lost River Range rose about one foot. Earl and I were living in Spokane when the earthquake happened and we could feel it there.

Saying this is a "center" is stretching it some...all that is there are some informational signs about the earthquake and a fence surrounding part of the 21 mile long scarf which can still be seen today stretching across the base of the mountains. But, it was a nice quiet place, with a great view of the valley, so we decided to spend the night.


Mount Borah...the white line at the lower center that looks like it might be a road is actually the scarf from the earthquake

Our camper at the Earthquake Visitor's Information Center with Mount Borah in the background

The next morning, we continued north on the Doublesprings Pass Road through the Lost River Range and into the Pahsimeroi Valley thru May and on to US-93 at Ellis, north of Challis. This is most likely a road that we will not drive again since a section through the mountains was only one lane wide with a steep dropoff on one side. We were very fortunate that we did not meet anyone coming the other way through this section!

We spent Thursday night camped at Cottonwood Recreation Site located along the Salmon River north of Challis.

We stopped in Challis on our way through to pick up a few more groceries and then drove on to Stanley. We spent last night at a free area called "Additional Redfish Camping" just north of Sunny Gulch Campground.

Tonight, we're spending a peaceful evening camped along Elk Creek Road just off SR-21 northwest of Stanley.


Wild blue flax
(Linum lewisii Pursh var. alpicola Jepson)

Common yarrow
(Achillea millefolium L.)

Dwarf cushion wild buckwheat
(Eriogonum ovalifolium Nutt. var. depressum Blank.)

Scarlet gilia
(Ipomopsis aggregata (Pursh) V. Grant)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Guess I should update this blog...haven't written anything since the 1st!

The Fourth of July passed quietly at Mt. Heyburn rained in the evening, so if any firework shows were planned around the area, I imagine they were cancelled.

The 5th dawned cloudy and rainy, Earl hadn't had any luck at any of the fishing holes, so we decided to leave a day early. We got everything stowed, the camper jacked up and Earl drove underneath. He has to stop a couple of feet before the front of the camper hits the truck bed in order to plug the camper into the truck...that's when he discovered that, somehow, the plastic housing on the plug was broken. We have no idea how it happened, but Earl had a heck of a time trying to get the two pieces together enough to be able to plug it in...without the plug, we'd have no tail lights on the camper. He did finally get it plugged in, and all the lights worked, so we were off toward Salmon where we had planned on spending a week.

I say we had planned on spending a week, but we've changed plans, once again. We're staying at the Elks Lodge and our Elks Travel Guide said it was $10 per day for full hookups. However, when we got here, we found out that the price had increased to $15. Still, not too bad a price considering what the other RV parks in the area are asking, but more than we like to pay. Earl paid for only three days...we'll head off tomorrow back toward Stanley for a mini family get together, checking out campgrounds and other places to spend a night along the way. Since we don't have to be back in Stanley until Sunday, the trip back will be much slower than the trip up to Salmon.

We found a place here in Salmon to repair the plug on the camper, we did grocery shopping, laundry, and Earl bought a funnel and a quart of oil so that he can change the oil on the generator (as soon as we finish the coffee in the now nearly empty coffee can so that he has some place to drain the old oil). We'll probably stop by the grocery store again tomorrow morning as we head out of town to buy supplies for the dinners we'll prepare in Stanley next week (the grocery store in Stanley has a pretty poor selection).

Today, after finishing laundry, we drove to the Sportsman Access area located on the river directly across from the Elks Lodge to have lunch. There is an Osprey nest on a tall pole that we've been keeping an eye on with our binoculars. Today, we got a much closer look as we were eating and were thrilled to be able to see the mama Osprey feeding her three chicks. She had what we assume was a fish, and was tearing chunks off it and stuffing the chunks into the chicks' mouths. Daddy Osprey was sitting in a tree nearby. And, as we left, we stopped to take pictures of a colt that didn't look to be very old. Mama was being very protective, trying to stay between us and her colt...note the look she's giving us!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Excitement in the Campground!

We had some excitement in the campground yesterday afternoon!
We were in the middle of preparing dinner...Earl was barbequing, I had just finished making salads, and had a pot of quinoa on the stove cooking, when a Forest Service Ranger came through with sirens on.  He went through the campground and then left again, apparently, going to the campground next door (which is closed for renovations and has huge signs across the barrier that they aren't to be crossed for any reason).
I don't know all the details, but apparently some idiots in a boat had pulled up on shore at this closed campground and started a fire.  In a fire ring?  Apparently not, considering the consequences.  At any rate, the fire got away from them and started a forest fire.
Everyone in the campground was told to pack up and leave.  This was a major bummer, not only because we were right in the middle of dinner preparations, but after dumping our tanks and filling up with fresh water earlier in the day, we'd come back to our site and dropped the camper off the truck.  So now, in addition to doing all the stuff inside and outside that we have to do to prepare to get on the road, we had to jack up the camper and put it back on the truck (I wouldn't leave the camper sitting there to be burned up unless the fire was licking at our doorstep).
So what to do?  I put the pot of quinoa in the sink sitting on a towel and gave Earl some aluminum foil to wrap up the pork chops which were on the barbeque.  We would have to leave the barbeque there since we're using a charcoal one and the coals would have been too hot to dump, even in the fire ring without dousing them with water.  I put the TV antenna down and started stowing everything inside. 
Just as we were about to start jacking up the camper, the camp host came by to say we didn't have to leave after all, but to be prepared to leave at any time.
The upshot of all this excitement was that the fire was brought under control by the use of helicopters and crop dusters dousing the fire with water (or fire retardant, we don't know which).  There were helicopters and planes flying over the area for hours afterward.
Hopefully, they threw the jerks who started the fire in jail!  At the very least, I hope they make them pay the entire cost of what it cost the Forest Service (and whatever other agencies may have been involved in putting the fire out) to control the fire.