Mountain Home to Cottonwood BLM Cmpg, ID

Mountain Home to Cottonwood BLM Campground, near Challis, ID

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 … 276 Camper Miles – Total 6,911

Sunny, low 80s

We bid Dustin farewell this morning and headed for a dental appointment for Sandy in Boise while Dustin headed back to work. After the appointment (no problem identified) we stopped at a pharmacy for a just-in-case antibiotic prescription and picked up some groceries. Then it was north-bound, headed towards Glacier NP. We took the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway (ID-21 and US-75) through the Boise National Forest and the Sawtooth Range Wilderness, passing by Lucky Peak and Arrow Rock reservoirs. It was a beautiful, scenic drive past lots of campgrounds, trail heads to trails designated for cross-country skiing and along the Payette River, a clear, blue-green stream rushing over a rocky bottom. The roads were serpentine with steep grades.

There are lots of fires in Idaho and Washington this dry summer. For that reason it was especially smoky in many areas. We thought about camping near Stanley and actually looked over the campsites at Redfish Lake. They were beautiful but it was so smoky that it made your eyes burn. We moved on, but not before stopping at a few end-of-season outfitter sales at the shops in Stanley. Good gear, but not discounted enough to get us to buy.

We continued our drive via US-75 and US-93, the Salmon River Scenic Byway, through the Salmon-Challis National Forest. We saw areas where forest-fire crews met and kept their equipment but saw no active fires. The smoke finally diminished and we chose to stop at a BLM facility, Cottonwood Campground, just above Challis and right along the Salmon River.

It was very pleasant. We took our folding chairs to the edge of the river and read for a while. Returning to the camper, we grilled burgers and had a tossed salad for dinner.

Cottonwood Campground to Jim & Mary’s RV Park, Missoula, MT

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 … 195 Camper Miles – Total 7,106

Sunny, hazy with smoke, warmed up to mid 80s

This morning we continued north on US-93 along the beautiful, deep, steep valley of the Salmon River. The long views were still clouded by smoke in areas but it was getting clearer. Along the way we crossed the 45th parallel, the line that marks the halfway point between the equator and the north pole. In areas, the river was lined with cabins and ruins of old cabins. In other areas there was recent development with many attractive new log homes.

It stood to reason that the new homes were of log construction as we soon began to pass many manufacturing facilities that produced log homes. These homes are each a bit unique as the logs have to be individually fit. So the builders actually preassemble each home at the manufacturing facility and then disassemble it, load the kit on a truck and deliver it to the owner’s site to be reassembled and finished. Weather-wise, it is clearly autumn in this area. You can’t tell by the evergreens but the leaves on shrubs and aspens are turning gold and red and very pretty, indeed.

Smoke Obscures Even Nearby Peaks Along Salmon River
Smoke Obscures Even Nearby Peaks Along Salmon River

We drove through Missoula, one of the largest cities in northwest Montana, and took a campsite at Jim & Mary’s RV Park just north of town. We drove back downtown and took a walk from across the Clark Fork River and through the campus of the University of Montana and adjacent residential areas. It reminded us very much of State College.

Back at Jim & Mary’s, we took showers and made a pork stir-fry for dinner. Afterwards, we went to the campground’s community room for a free concert by LeGrande Harvey, cowboy-singer and song-writer, and his sidekick, Rod Brod. After the concert the campground served complimentary fresh huckleberry ice-cream for all.

Jim & Mary’s RV Park

Thursday, September 7, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 7,106

Sunny, high 80s

Sigh … another lay day. This time for Bill to finalize arrangements for the two Kick ‘n Glider Nordic Ski Club trips we will run this winter, price them and send in trip descriptions to be published in the club’s trip guide. It was also time to send in money to reserve our places on the trips we will do and to catch up on notes for this web site. Later, we went into town to do some errands. Dinner was a fast-food sandwich for Bill and a salad for Sandy.