After the fun hike in Sun Valley, ID, the weather cools down. On Sunday the 10th it storms, bringing hail and rain. Not a lot, but an on-and-off spattering of drops and plinking of pea-sized pellets that keeps me cooped up inside the Casita, reading. Even with all the windows closed to ward off the precipitation and chill, the sound of the Big Wood River running right by camp provides relaxing background noise. A few birds brave the weather, swooping over the water to collect insects.
It may be a dreary day, but it ends with a rainbow. There’s probably a good saying in there somewhere about looking for the positive in every negative situation.
The next morning, I awake to a dusting of snow on Easley Peak. It disappears quickly as the sun climbs higher in the sky.
July 12, Tuesday
Hiking day! I meet up with Nina at Fox Creek Trailhead, just a couple miles north of our last hike and still in the Sun Valley area. Today we’re hiking the Fox Creek Loop, which according to my map is suppose to be five miles, but Nina’s smartphone tracks it closer to six.
We go the opposite way of the bike traffic, starting out south along the creek, which is actually bigger than the river near my camp. The water coming down from the Sawtooth Mountains is clear and cold.
The western bank is often considerably higher than the eastern side, and the trail climbs accordingly, affording hikers a good view from above.
I was a bit worried that this hike was going to be essentially a repeat of the other, since they’re so close together. But the feel is actually quite different. There are a lot more trees in this part of the valley.
There are still some good open meadows though, and like Adams Gulch the wildflowers are abundant – patches of color hiding among the grass.
The vast majority of the flowers I can’t name. I know the ones pictured above are lupine, but this taller plant with pink flowers is a mystery.
Then there’s the tiny yellow flowers that grow in bunches on a stem, which carpet the foreground of this next photo (the peak behind is Bald Mountain, you can see the ski runs on it).
Here’s more small yellow flowers on a bush, next to which Nina stands triumphantly with our trail sign. She was the one who noticed the turnoff, a big accomplishment. It turns out neither of us are great at reading maps and following signs and it’s something of a wonder we’ve managed more or less to follow our intended route on both hikes. Go us!
Soon we’re climbing up a hillside away from the creek. This hike also has a fair bit of up and down to it, and like the last one is rated at moderately difficult which I’d agree with. The forest service does a good job with maintenance on the trails though, they’re in good shape.
After another wooded area, we’re spat out into a marshy depression. I wince in expectation of being swarmed by mosquitoes, but the attack doesn’t materialize. There are a few mosquitoes in the mountains, I’ve noticed them up at camp on occasion, but the bugs really haven’t been bad at all this year. It doesn’t seem like the west has as many biting bugs, perhaps due to the drier climate. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky. Before long we’re climbing again through wildflowers.
One last beautiful vista of the Sawtooth range, and the trail winds through conifers back down to the trailhead. Idaho is going to spoil me for hiking.
Later in the day, heavy clouds roll in from the west, dark and foreboding. But they pass overhead, dumping their loads farther east. I sit outside reading in my camp chair back at the RV, and catch this photo as the sun slides underneath them.
* * *
Up next: My new iPhone arrives and I test it on a sunrise photoshoot near Stanley with Nina, stay tuned!
Also, those who have subscribed to the IO e-mail list will notice they received a mail from me this evening (the 14th) about confirming their subscription information. Yes, this is legitimate and if you will want to act on the directions in that e-mail if you signed up in 2015 or earlier and want to continue receiving content from IO! The list has grown to the point where I now need to pay for it which is a great thing, I’m glad you’re all enjoying my posts. It just doesn’t make sense to pay to send e-mails to people who no longer read them, hence asking you to update your preferences if you’re still interested. Thanks!
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