Day 256 – Sawtooth Sampler, August 29, 2011
On my way out of Ketchum and Sun Valley, I stopped at the
local cemetery to pay respects to Ernest Hemingway. He penned portions of For Whom the Bell Tolls
while he stayed at the Sun Valley Lodge.
His grave stone is like a wishing well…covered in coins. Surrounding it are various empty bottles of
wine and champagne.
After a short visit to the cemetery, we decided to take
advantage of a cool morning and go hiking on Lake Creek Trail in the Sawtooth
National Forest. The trail map, posted
on the sign board near the trailhead looked relatively straight forward. We wandered into the wooded area, crossed a
bridge, and followed the river for a bit until we ended in an open area. I wasn’t sold on walking through knee high grass
in the sun, we turned around and took the trail the other direction. It ended up in the same place, and I ended up
on the opposite side of the river from the cache I was shooting for as I
figured my cell service would drop a few more miles north. Oh well, the river was lovely and Petey got
to stretch his legs. He has been kind of
cooped up the last few days.
From here we visited several mountain lakes tucked in the
trees beneath jagged peaks. The blue water
changed colors with the depth of the lakes like the Caribbean Sea. If it weren’t for the mountains, pine trees,
and water temperature the lakes could have passed for a body of water in a
tropical paradise. One lake, called
Redfish Lake, got its name for the sockeye salmon that spawn there. Imagine aqua blue water filled with bright
red salmon with a background of green trees, grey mountains, and perhaps snow…what
a sight that would be!
Upon finishing a few short walks along lakeside trails, we
moved on to Kirkham Hot Springs. The
spring water flows like a waterfall out of the side of the mountain and into
the cold, turquoise water of the Payette River.
Visitors to the springs place rocks in semicircles to trap the spring
water in pools along the side of the river.
While the spring is scalding where it pours from the mountainside, by
the time it tumbles down the rocks to the pools, it is bath water
temperature. I soaked in a riverside “tub”
and then hopped over the wall and submerged myself into the frigid river from
waist down for a heat/ice therapy on my aggravated hip.
The area was simply beautiful. Soaking in the springs surrounded by
waterfalls as the sun beamed down and the river roared was extremely
relaxing. Only one other person, a guy
from Idaho City, came while I was there.
He climbed over some rocks and soaked in a pool I couldn’t even see. What peace!
The springs were my last stop for the day. I doubled back to a campground near Stanley
as my drive tomorrow starts from the tiny town.
As I made my way along the snaking road through three construction
sites, I noticed a dark cloud toward the west.
At first I thought a storm was rolling in until I looked a little
closer. The cloud had a red tinge to it…it
was smoke from a forest fire pluming up over the hillside. As it filled the sky, the sun took on a fluorescent
orange glow. Later when the sun set, the
waves of pink and purple smoke hung over the mountain range. Picturesque!