Creative Highways: Our Own Private Idaho

In the entire state of Idaho, there are only 1,523,816 people. That's an average of 18 people per square mile. It's hard to want to share this "gem" of a state with others who think it's only potato fields, but here's a sneak peek at our 8 days of camping and seeing old friends in Central and Southern Idaho. How sensational to be able to turn our cell phones and computers off for 8 straight days - definitely no cell service where we were headed:

Our journey from Moscow, Idaho on Sunday, July 11 began with a night camping on Gedney Creek just off the remote and beautiful Selway River. I had camped and hiked the trail before and wanted to find the spot again. We hiked, Ryan fished, and we swam in the chilly, roaring mountain creek.

Selway River, Idaho

Selway Falls, Selway River, Idaho

The next day was spent camping along the nearby Lochsa River and soaking at Weir Creek hot springs along Highway 12. We were pleased to find a lively and hospitable group of young people already soaking, with which we swapped wine, beer, and stories of our travels (we represented Pennsylvania, Montana, and Minnesota). Idaho hot springs have their own subculture, attracting bucolic bon vivants of all backgrounds seeking one thing only: that geothermal wonder pouring out of the earth, bubbling over rocks, filling up pools, and warming the senses in a way no domestic bath can (see the photo below from Bonneville hot springs).

Ryan fishing on the Lochsa River

The next stop was three nights on our favorite river in the world, the Salmon River. We had our own private beach on which to camp, and spent a good part of the day swimming, reading in hammocks, and playing frisbee with Sadie.

Our camp spot on the Salmon

The Salmon River canyon is the second deepest in North America next to the Snake River, which also traverses Idaho. You can't tell from the bottom, but the canyon extends up and out for miles and miles.

Sadie loved our time on the Salmon, leash and worry free!

An abstract of Sadie from underwater

On one of the days along the Salmon, we met up with our friend Mark and drove up to the Seven Devils Mountain range just West of Riggins, ID. Sadie and I drove up as high as we could drive to revisit a trail called the Narrows, which extends along a ridge overlooking Hells and Salmon canyons on either side. We ran, hiked, spooked a bull elk, and enjoyed the beautiful wild flowers scattered about the slopes and meadows. The Seven Devils range is always a sight to behold.

The Seven Devils

Meanwhile, Mark and Ryan climbed at a nearby crag. I eventually joined them and had fun watching Ryan jug up the rope with his camera so he could get some shots of Mark in action.

Ryan loves this stuff

One of Ryan's shots of Mark climbing. Mark is an excellent climber, so it was easy for Ryan to get the shots he wanted.

On Friday, July 17, we said goodbye to the Salmon (that was tough) and made our way down through McCall, Idaho, and along the South Fork of the Payette River. We camped at Bonneville hot springs and enjoyed a wonderful evening soak.

Larissa enjoys the kind of serenity only found in the wilds of Idaho

The next day we headed further East along the Sawtooth Mountain range. We stopped in Stanley, Idaho for breakfast, where they were having their busiest weekend of the year, what with their archery and craft shows going on at the same time!

Our car, which has now traveled close to 5,000 miles on this trip, with the Sawtooths looming beyond

We continued on toward Sun Valley to stay with our friend, Hallie (in Hailey, Idaho, to be specific). On the way, we stopped for some trail running and hiking along the Titus Lake trail, near Galena summit. Sadie enjoyed chasing rocks and swimming in the mountain lake.

Titus Lake is nestled in the mountains along a beautiful trail

Larissa and Hallie in Hailey, Idaho, reunited after 6 years! We stayed at her house overnight and enjoyed catching up and going to the park to see a live salsa/scottish band called Salsa Celtica (I was skeptical at first of this combo of genres, but they were quite updates from this concert to come).

All photos © Chace + Smith Photography

After a wonderful stay in one of our favorite former home states, we said goodbye to Idaho and moved South to Utah, where our adventures continued. Stay tuned for more video and photo updates!