Our second out-of-state trip this summer brought us to gorgeous Idaho, my childhood stomping ground. When I was 22 I left for Seattle, but not before living and working in some of the nations most pristine wilderness and forests. 3 summers fighting fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest and a summer on the Fish Crew in the Boise National Forest has given me the opportunity to explore the center of this beautiful state.
Stanley has a population of 69 people year-round, but for a few summer months the town blooms into any river rafter, mountain climber, or outdoor adventurist's dream come true. It's nestled at the base of the stunning Sawtooth Mountains, on par with the Grand Titans, for those who have visited Wyoming.
Heading East out of Stanley, we drove along windy highway 75 for Sunbeam Dam on the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River. The Dam supplied power to the town of Sunbeam, Custer and Bonanza while they were still booming mining towns. When the various mines closed down and the towns became deserted, the dam was no longer needed. Below Dusty walks along what remains of dam, intentionally blown up to allow the once abundant salmon runs to once again reach their breeding grounds.
Next we head for Slate Creek, quite possibly my favorite place in all of Idaho. Hoodoo Mine was created in the late 60's to extract Molybdenum and Uranium until it caught on fire in the 70's and was abandoned. Back then, the government didn't demand mining operations reclaim the land, so you can still see the various rail cars, mine structures and enormous tailings pile. Of all the mines to work at during this period, Hoodoo Mine was considered one of the nicest, because it had a natural hot springs within walking distance. This allowed the miners to have regular baths - a welcome retreat from the difficult, dirty work in the mines.
The tub built by the miners is still in use. Pipes salvaged from the mine are used to fill the tub. Each one dumps in water of a different temperature ranging from 120 degrees (flippin HOT!) to chilly creek water piped in from up stream. Situating the pipes is a bit tricky, but definitely adds to the experience and allows you to get the water temperature JUST RIGHT! :)
A ways up stream from the mine is this beautiful little waterfall. What a perfect spot for a fun ScenicBoys shot! Dusty looks so natural hanging out naked next to a freezer cold babbling brook, don't you think? At this point I think we're both Pros at braving whatever elements our camping adventures present.
We spent the night near the hot springs (PEWW!!! Stinky Sulfer Smell!) and the next morning we took one more dip before heading to my parent's place. This is the view heading Southeast down Lemhi Valley toward... well the middle of nowhere really. :)
We made it to my parent's around 4pm. We took showers, visited with the folks, then jumped on the 4-wheeler and cruised on up King Mountain just in time to catch this beautiful sunset.
We spent most of the next day driving back to Seattle - an 11 hour drive without stops. Of course the ScenicBoys can't pass up the opportunity to snag a few fun pics whenever we see cool natural land features. This is part of Craters of the Moon National Monument - a highly volcanic area that erupts about every 3000 years and has scarred more than 100 square miles of Southeast Idaho. The visitor center mentioned it's been over 3000 years since the last eruption, so we decided to make quick work of this area and get the hell out of there!
The sun was setting as we drove along I-90 back to Seattle. We hit some nasty Labor Day Weekend traffic, but at least we had this cool sunset to watch as we crawled home in bumper-to-bumper traffic. :(
This weekend we're switching things up a bit and heading out into Puget Sound on friends Jon and Logan's boat to go camping on a few of the islands. Can't Wait!!!