After leaving the VA clinic that morning, my Mountain Boy and I had full intentions of driving around the city, around the area, taking some pictures and just familiarizing ourselves with the place on our short turn-around trip to Salmon.
After pulling into the parking lot of this place in search of a rest-room, and after wandering for just a short while, both LC and I realized that those plans were officially trashed.
We had unexpectedly found a place that we wanted to kill time in while waiting for his second appointment.
There was nature, history, beauty, solitude, art and architecture here, and here was where we were going to stay for the duration...............
A couple of days before we headed to Salmon I had taken Jamie for a walk around the neighborhood late in the evening.
As we walked I looked down at my pup.
She was dragging behind me. Walking unenthusiastically. Not looking around, or sniffing every bush, or marking every 10 feet, or rushing to get in front of me.
Jamie had been like this for the past couple of walks and as I had watched her I wondered if she was getting sick again. Or if she was just old and could no longer be Point Dog.
I watched her with that low-key but irrevocably growing sense of concern that I might not have her too much longer.
And then we went to Salmon.
And then we walked on a wooded trail, and I looked down at my dog and realized that she was walking point.
Enthusiastic. Tail wagging. Leading the way.
She and I (and LC, she and I) have walked trails all over Alaska and Tennessee and Wyoming.
Jamie has climbed mountains with me. Crossed creeks and rivers. Climbed under and over fences. Climbed over logs and walked over endless bridges and on endless trails.
As we walked on this beautiful, wooded trail I looked down at my dog - and then looked up at my guy - and said "I think our dog's been bored".
I don't know for certain if that's what the last few walks at home have been all about, but Jamie LOVES trails, and she LOVED this trail that we were on in Salmon..............
One of two small structures we found early on the trail..............
One of many places we found for Jamie to drink.
This place reminded me so much of Alaska.
I look at this picture and think about all the travels that the three of us have been on together over the past few years.
I took many many pictures just like this one while we lived in Juneau.
Beautiful pictures of my beautiful family, against a back drop of blue sky, endless mountains, endless green and snow and water.
I like this picture................
Every 100 yards or so on the trail were signs that provided information to hikers about the eco system they were traveling in.
Information about the vegetation, animal life, bird life, the water systems and more.
I took pictures of most of them but only posted a few of the signs.
Click on the pictures and they will enlarge if you're interested in reading the information...............
When LC and I saw the blue tarp laying partially hidden in the long grass, he pointed to it and said "Look - a naturally occurring plastic tarp".
It's been years since we went on that walk.
Back in Tennessee a number of years ago me, LC and a guy I used to work with, went for a long walk on trails on the outskirts of Tullahoma.
The young man was very knowedgable about the different kinds of plants we came across during our walk, and eagerly shared what he knew about them with both of us.
At one point he was discussing naturally occurring.........something.
I don't remember what it was now.
But as we continued with our walk, everything was naturally occurring this and naturally occurring that.
When we came across a beer bottle laying on the ground, he looked at us with a straight face and told us that it was a naturally occurring beer bottle.
After that the running joke was naturally occurring Wal-mart bag. Naturally occurring foam insulation.
It became a small and spontaneous running joke for the rest of the hike, that LC and I never forgot.
So many times in so many states we have seen something in nature and referred to it as naturally occurring.
When it obviously wasn't.................
When I am in picture-taking mode I take pictures of anything and everything that catches my attention.
Even multi-colored rocks sitting almost un-noticed in the grass..................
There were single track trails that veered off in many directions along the way but we did not have enough time to take them all.
We saw much on this day, but there was so much more to see that we missed because we were working under such time constraints.
At this point we had a choice of veering back onto single track or picking up the wider and open double track trail we had initially found ourselves on when we first arrived.
The wide open trail would circle us back to the truck, and it was time to head that way.................
A small log structure but definitely not original.
Cement floor, machine cut lumber, round screws.
Looked good but not old...............
Taken from inside the small log structure, and looking through an open window................
By this time in the day I began to feel like we were rushing.
Rushing to get to the end of the trail. Rushing to get back to the truck. Rushing to find our way back to the VA.
Rushing to get my pup some more water because we had been away from the river for a good while.
A rope bridge that spanned a marshy, deep, moss filled pond.
LC and Jamie were up ahead of me but I slowed for a few minutes, curious to take a better look at this thing.
As I did I heard a noise on the opposite side of the pond.
Startled, I looked up to see a young deer looking at me.
I tried to snap a couple of pictures of him but I couldn't see him through the trees in the pictures.
Still, this contraption was interesting and I turned my attention back to it.....................
I may have missed a sign providing more information about these structures.
LC thought that at least some of them were sweat lodges.
I regret not paying them more attention to them now, because they are beautiful and architectural and hugely interesting in hindsight
All of these things were gathered close together.................
LC looked at this huge, old, gnarly tree and then told me in a surprised voice that it was a cottonwood tree.
I was surprised as well.
We have seen cottonwoods all over Wyoming and Idaho, but never anything that looked like this.
A huge, expansive, multi branch, gnarly branched monstrosity of a tree growing in the low lying and marshy area that we were now walking through.................
At one more trail intersection I found this old log structure to my left..............
And a garden to my right that was filled with rocks covered in painted figures.
There were probably 20 or so rocks and I took pictures of many of them, but posted only a couple.
In truth I don't really know how accurate the paintings were.
Some looked as though they "might' be replicas of original Native American art work, but some looked more like south American artwork, and some even looked like complete fantasy pieces.............
A totally random gnarly log................
The front of the log cabin.....................
I was surprised to learn that there are wild horses in Challis.
As I walked away from the sign I realized that I had some research to do, to see what I could learn about wild horses in Idaho.................
A totally random handful of way-cute miniature horses....................
As we got close to the main building LC offered to short cut it, and cross up and over the grassy hill to get the truck.
I would walk the last part of the trail with Jamie and LC would pick us up in front of the building.
I thankfully agreed to his offer, because by this time our dog was very very tired.
As we loaded Jamie back into the truck, LC reached for her water bottle and bowl.
LC blasted the air conditioner on high to cool both man and beast down, while I snapped these last few pictures in and around the beautifully landscaped grounds close to the parking lot.
After being at this facility for the past couple of hours I realized that we had never even made it to the front doors of the main center.
Not even for the purpose we had stopped here for originally. Instead, I watered a tree out on the trail................
We had barely enough time to drive through the main section of town before heading back to the VA.
Not the way we had planned to spend a few hours, but we did not regret one moment of it...................