Wednesday, July 6
It’s a cool summer morning in Sawtooth National Forest, ID. I’ve met up with Nina of Wheeling It to go on a hike, Paul is staying back at their motorhome with their dog Polly, who had surgery recently. Polly’s the reason they’re here right now, attending doggy rehab in Ketchum this month to get her leg back in good form.
There are an incredible number of trails in the Sun Valley area, surrounded by national forest land on three sides as it is. During the winter, Sun Valley draws tourists in for skiing. In the summer, folks come to escape the heat of the lower elevations in southern Idaho and enjoy the trails. In fact, some of the ski hills are open in the summer for hiking.
Nina and I both enjoy 5-6 mile lengths, so studying distances on the poorly-copied brochure I have from the Visitor center, I find a couple options in that range. The challenge is knowing which is a “good” one. Information is hard to find online, so I end up picking Adams Gulch Loop pretty much arbitrarily.
Adams Gulch Trailhead is on Forest road #141 off the west side of highway 75, hidden behind million-dollar summer homes with perfectly manicured lawns and unusual architecture, not to mention great views of the mountains. Sun Valley, particularly the countryside north of the town proper, has money.
The trail starts out uphill through an open meadow filled with wildflowers. I’m pretty sure I’ve been seeing wildflowers every month since February this year, I must finally be catching on to that following-the-good-weather thing other full-timers always talk about.
We continue climbing. Fluffy cotton clouds make for interesting shadows across the landscape, but hold no promise of rain. Already I’m happy with my choice in trails.
Below, suburbs sit in the valley. While the area we’re walking through feels remote and wild, we really aren’t far from civilization at all.
The day warms quickly. Most of the hike is through open land, but occasionally the trail passes through a stand of young aspen trees, which also shelter wildflowers. The variety and colors are incredible, we must be here at peak season, what a treat!
My pitiful map is not the most legible and at an unmarked crossroads we start to wonder if we’re heading the right way. If we miss our turn, our 5.5 mile hike becomes over ten miles, which would make us awfully late for lunch. A local woman out exercising directs us ahead into a wood of conifer trees and we thank her for her assistance. The boughs offer welcome relief from the sun.
When I first drove up here over a week ago there was still a tiny bit of snow in the peaks, but it’s all gone now. The highest point in the Sawtooth Range is under 11,000 feet, not as tall as the Sierras and we are into July now.
Finally our route starts back downhill. I’m not sure what the elevation gain and loss has been along the trail, but it’s certainly more than I was expecting. Coming down the trail boarders a curious pond, murky and green. I wonder if there’s thermal activity under it, as it reminds me of some of the hot springs out at Yellowstone, the cooler ones that allow algae growth.
Near the end of the loop, the trail crosses a small stream to get back to the trailhead. I take the logs thrown over it in a bridge, but Nina opts to wade through. The water is quite cold, as I think her expression adequately conveys.
We eat at A Taste of Thai in Ketchum afterward, where the lunch specials only cost $8.50 a plate – quite reasonable for this rather upscale area. We share an order of Massaman Curry and Pad Thai, both of which are very good! (Sorry, no food pics this time, was too hungry. Have more flowers instead.)
Thursday, July 7
I drive the long two hours south to Twin Falls, primarily to pick up my mail.
For those not on the road, for whom the process of receiving mail as a full-timer may be an enigma, it’s suppose to work something like this: You contact your mail forwarding company (a service you pay for, located in the state in which you “live”) and have them forward the mail they’re holding for you to wherever you’re currently staying at that time, be in an RV park, or perhaps a post office nearby if you’re boondocking.
It’s more of an art form than an exact science, because there’s no saying for sure how many days it’ll take for your mail to reach its destination. You don’t want your mail to arrive before you do, but neither do you want to wait past when you had intended to leave an area.
This time I miscalculated rather severely, underestimating the distance between Twin Falls and Bellevue (my last camp), where I had intended on being when my mail arrived. I also misjudged the length of time I wanted to stay in Bellevue, but since it was already going to be over and hour to get my mail, it wouldn’t hurt much more to drive up into the mountains (where it’s prettier) and have a two hour drive. I’ll make a day of it.
And so the first couple hours of the morning are spent under a cloudless blue sky, watching sagebrush and farmland march by Bertha’s windows. It’s a pleasant drive, if time-consuming.
I get my mail, which this time is more than just a manilla envelope from my mail forwarding company. It’s also a sizable box from Harmony House, a dehydrated and freeze-dried food company. I’m going to be running an experiment and see if I can get away without carrying cans of soup and frozen skillet meals and move to dehydrated food for my main meal of the day instead. I have a couple reasons for trying this: it weighs much less, lasts longer, is cheaper (particularly buying in bulk), and doesn’t require refrigeration for leftovers as you can choose to cook only what you eat in one sitting. I’ll be writing a blog post of my findings.
All of the pictures you see on my blog (at least all of those from July 2012 onward) have been taken with my trusty iPhone 4S, now four years old. It’s served me well over the years, but has been glitchy lately and the battery is dying a slow death which is inconvenience to a boondocker with limited power. It’s been my plan to take the launch earnings from “The Little Guide To Dreaming Big” and invest them into a new phone, the cost-effective iPhone SE. It’s reputed to have a good camera, so in exchange for all of your help in e-book purchases, you’ll be getting something back soon in the form of nicer blog pictures (at least I hope they’ll be nicer).
Soon, but not today. The Verizon store in Twin Falls is out of stock on SEs, and a call to stores in Ketchum and Sun Valley reveal the same problem – it’s only been out about three months and is apparently a very popular little phone. I put in an order for one from the store closest to my current camp and should have it on Wednesday. We’ll see.
In the meantime, this photo I took of Shoshone Falls with the old phone will have to do for now. Shoshone Falls Park is located along the Snake River at the north end of Twin Falls, east of the Perrine Bridge. Called “The Niagra of the West”, the water level today is low and the falls aren’t as impressive as at other times of the year, but it’s still worth the $3 parking fee. This is my last stop before making the long drive back to camp.
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