Life on the Open Road

The continuing saga of a full-time RVer, who travels primarily in the West.

Friday, June 30, 2006

More on Glacier National Park

While visiting the park, we stayed in Whitefish, Montana. It’s a wonderful old railroad town, kind of old-fashioned. I felt like you could leave your door unlocked there.

I wanted to do some hiking up at the pass in the park, but there was still a lot of snow there. I did drive over the pass to Saint Mary Lake (picture #1). I then hiked 2 miles in to Avalanche Lake, which is at a lower elevation. Returning from the lake, a mule deer let me follow along behind him on the trail. He didn’t seem concerned about me at all. The third picture is of Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Helicopter Tour of Glacier National Park

I decided about a year ago that I should do more tours by helicopter or small plane of areas that it is impossible or too difficult to hike to. This one has to be the crown jewel of them all. Wow! I even got to sit in the front seat. (The trick to getting the front seat is to go on the tour by yourself.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sawtooth Valley

Leaving Ketchum, we drove north over Galena Pass into the Sawtooth Valley. The valley is bordered by the Sawtooth Mountains and is the birthplace of the Salmon River. We've followed the river all the way to our current location, just south of Salmon, ID. Each time, we've camped along the river, primarily at Sportsman’s Access Areas. The river is very high and therefore not good for fishing, but Ron actually caught one today. He threw it back, but he said it was just huge. Hmmmmm.....

Idaho is loaded with wonderful natural hot springs. The one pictured is called Russian John, north of Ketchum near MM 146. What a beautiful back drop! The other picture is the Sawtooths and Redfish Lake.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ketchum, Idaho

This is the vacation home of the rich and famous. We settled ourselves 5 miles out of town on Trail Creek Rd in the National Forest. Later, we also found lots of wonderful, free, officially numbered campsites on Corral Creek road nearby. The photos are of our campsite and the view out our front window. The area is surprisingly sparsely used–we saw only 3 other campers.

Three minutes away at Sun Valley, the wealthy spend gobs doing wealthy-folk things. Also within minutes are the vacation homes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, Paul Allen, and lots of other celebrities, who come here to escape the spotlight. Locals, by unspoken consent, do not hassle them when they are out and about. We visited Hemingway’s grave; he killed himself here in the 60s when his cancer got too painful.

Fierce thunderstorms and hail swept over us frequently, but in between we managed to hiked some nearby trails. This area had a lot of snow this winter. The rivers and creeks are quite high and the higher trails are still snow-covered and not open yet. It would be better to visit a little later in the summer.

Friday, June 02, 2006

City of Rocks National Reserve

This is a place we had never heard of, located WAY out in the middle of nowhere, near Almo, a little town in southern Idaho. It sounded interesting, so off we went, traveling 25 miles of dirt road to get there. There are lots of unusual rock formations, which make it a rock-climber’s paradise. Although the climber in the picture had a rope, we saw other climbers go hundreds of feet straight up without any ropes or safety gear at all.

The California Trail cuts right through the park. Thousands of wagon trains passed through here on their way to California during the years of the gold rush. Although the ruts are pretty much gone, there is a rock here that is covered with the names of pioneers written in axle grease.