Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From Stanley to Sunbeam, from Clayton to Challis....

Harvest moon rising over City of Rocks

This is an eclectic collection of photos, a bit jumbled and wonderful like the backseat (and trunk, and passenger foot well) of our car on our recent road trip through Idaho. We started on a mad dash for the City of Rocks, and then, when camp sites were all reserved on the weekend, we made a detour that unexpectedly followed Yonder Mountain String Band's song, Idaho.

The Toyota Corolla, entirely more hardcore than it seems at first glance.

City of Rocks

First stop: City of Rocks, to take advantage of the perfect fall climbing temps. The undulating landscape of granite domes looked to me like an endless playground.  Two days was not enough time and we'll be back for more.

Ryan got his start climbing here on family vacations, and I can see why!  I don't think it is possible to visit this place and not at least wonder what it would be like to scale the walls and perch up high with the vultures.

Sawtooth Mountains & Red Fish lake

From the City of Rocks we drove North(ish) following the Salmon River from Stanley to Sunbeam where we stopped for awhile at Redfish Lake and hiked up a ridge to get a view of the craggy Sawtooth Mountains.  The renowned Elephants Perch was close enough to taste, but not to see.  Only 5 hours from home.  Then we headed from Clayton to Challis, through the rangeland palace with sage brush all around.

Along the Road

Views from the car were almost as good as the ones farther from the road.  I love a good road trip where there's always the possibility of discovering a new magic spot.  So very many here.

Wild cows of the West

Useful books for this area:

  • Idaho Atlas and Gazeteer - indispensable!  Good to know the locations of campgrounds as well as public land, especially in areas where a smartphone won't work.
  • City of Rocks, A Climber's Guide - Covers routes and areas that are classic, as well as new areas. Lacking some info that I like in guide books such as what size gear to bring (always interesting to climb 2/3 of a pitch and then find out that you really should have brought that number four cam on a route touted as a great hand crack.)
  • Idaho, a Climbing Guide: Climbs, Scrambles and Hikes - Wish we had brought this!  Alas, we left it at home when we thought we'd spend the entire trip at the City of Rocks.  Looks like a really good guide, covers the Sawtooth and other ranges.
  • Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Northwest - This is the land of hot springs flowing into the Salmon River.  The Forest Service/Visitor Center just South of Stanley also has flyers with some hot springs locations, as well as lots of maps and guidebooks for sale.


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