Tuesday, July 14, 2020
56 degrees, got up to 80 in Stanley
I should have left earlier, but I was torn about whether to stay here one more night. I like it here. It’s a great, little park – Rock Creek RV Park, but I decided to go. First I went to the grocery store for 3 days of supplies before I float the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Then I found an ATM machine for some cash. I will need tips and to pay Carla for moving the truck and trailer once we get on the bus for the trip.
Back in camp, I finally got to speak to my neighbor, Lenny, in his beautiful 2019 30’ Airstream. He, his wife and daughter are on the road full time. Their home is Kansas City, but they are always out. They write a blog at https://cedarandsilver.com, and are able to work from the road.
I went on getting ready, and when I was done, I walked over to the other Airstream and knocked on the door. John came out with a big smile. He and Lenny met on the road few years ago, hit it off and travel together often. John, his wife and daughter are from New York. I glanced at his heavy duty Ford truck with the Alaska license plate, and must have looked funny. He said they blew something in the engine in Alaska, and had to buy a new truck. With a raised eyebrow, he said, “Alway something isn’t it?” “Yes”, I replied. A very nice, young man with a quick smile, I gave him my card.
I packed up, hooked up and walked around the trailer six times, trying to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. It’s funny, when you move every day or so, everything is routine, but when you stay for a few days, the routine is gone, and you have to check and recheck yourself. I need to print my leaving list. As I drove out, John stuck his head out the door with a big grin and a wave. Nice!
Campsites in the national forest north of Stanley are first come, first serve. I was not going to be first. I registered the address of Twin Falls dump station, but I was unable to find it. It was 12:00 by the time I left town, crossing the beautiful Snake River just around the corner from Shoshone Falls.
Rt. 93 is at first busy, with stoplights sprinkled in, and hot, dry countryside. Fire hazards were listed as high. Then up toward Sun Valley, it gets higher and prettier. Sun Valley was hopping. Cars, bikers, walkers and shoppers were everywhere. You have to keep your wits about you driving through here. There are just so many people, and so many like me – touristas.
Up and over the mountains, there is a beautiful overlook at the Sawtooth Range and down on the origin of the Salmon River. The road follows the river for miles in a beautiful valley with mountains on both sides.
I looked for campgrounds as I approached Stanley, and saw a few, but the river is quite shallow in this area, but it really picks up steam in Stanley where Valley Creek enters. I turned into the town of Stanley to top up with gas, and the town was hopping, just as John had told me. All national Salmon-Challis National Forest campgrounds were full past Stanley. I drove their dusty roads through all of them, but found nothing. I thought I would go another 15 minutes and then turn around, hoping for better luck on the earlier side of Stanley.
It was getting late at 4:30 when I saw an outhouse on the right side of the road above the river. I caught a glance of an old camper sitting on the other side. Fortunately, there was a pull-off, and I just managed to stop. I walked back to the area where the camper was parked, all closed up, looking like no one had been here for a while. These were not defined sites as we think of them, and I would never stay here if Martha was with me. It was rough, but I could see where the sites were. There were only four rough ones, but, hey it’s late, and it works. And there is no Walmart for many miles.
I managed to back the trailer up to the outhouse, and turned up the dusty, bumpy entrance. With a whole lot of wiggling, getting out and checking, moving rocks, I got into a good spot. Incredibly, I was pretty level. I opened the windows, turned the fans on, got some water, fixed a drink and walked across the street to check the river. Turns out I am at Yankee Creek put-in. There was a map showing mileage to each take-out and naming the rapids. The one below was called “Piece of Cake”, but it did not look it to me. A guide in a small raft with a fisherman in front navigated the area, going through Piece of Cake without incident, but there sure was a lot of bouncing and turning sideways. I thought the fisherman would come out, but he did not. This little section of the river looks good to fish. I bought my license and printed it, so that was done. I would have to fish it all from this side. There was no way I could cross this river, only miles from its source! The road follows the river, with many pullovers, so there are plenty of places to fish.
I settled into my very peaceful spot, writing this up and having my cocktail. I had bought a bag of stir-fry for dinner, knowing I would want something easy. Now, if it’s just a peaceful night.