Still a little smoke haze, but mostly washed out shower last night. Decided to take the scenic rout today, after the countless hours in the desert last week. Great drive past massive dams, up beautiful wooded valleys, with lots of hidden away cabins. The roads are really quiet as school started this week, so everyone has gone home. First town was Idaho City. Straight out of a western. The bar, the brothel, the sheriffs office, all still being used. Just loadsa old pick ups with dogs in the back instead of horses and mules.
Not far up the road from there was Kirkham thermal river, with warm water waterfalls dropping onto rock shelves, before flowing into a sparkling clear cold river. I will draw a picture for you Mr Abbot. All very natural, and no entry fee.....
Then over the top of the hill to Stanley Lake. Very beautiful, and only a few people about, mostly fishing, including a Full bright Scholar who had been at Otago Uni about the same time as me.....long long ago. Chatted to young lady from Oregon and she told us about the Elk Mountain Loop track.
Information was half a mile uphill...3km. A few rocks at the start of the single track....1km rocks. Mostly downhill after that....yes. Along the edge of a beautiful Meadow....yes. Wild animals....only Ju and I. Beautiful views of the Sawtooth Mts....yes. 12 miles.....yes. She got half of it right. Not our most spectacular nor our best ride, but really lovely sections of single track, and great being out in the wilderness.
Then onto Stanley. Population sixtythree. 1.5million visitors over three months of summer. Visitors go mtbing, rafting, hunting, climbing. Locals have the whole town to themselves the other nine months....cross country skiing and hunting. How would we handle that Hanmer?
Freedom camping beside the beautiful Salmon River. Middle Fork of Salmon is a really famous rafting river....and here we are enjoying it.
Tomorrow we hit the Fisher-Williams Mtb loop. Reputedly one of the best mtb rides in the USA. 1500' (that's feet not metres) ascent, and then lotsa superb rolling downhill......will let you know.