By the time my Mountain Boy walked out of the VA clinic for the second time in one day, he had decided that he liked the clinic he had chosen, and had decided that getting out of bed at 5am and driving to Salmon had been a worthwhile trip in many respects.
We were less than four hours from home, the drive had been a quiet and beautiful and uneventful trip, we had spent a few hours walking and wandering and picture taking, and oh yes.......the medical care seemed good as well.
We had stopped only a few quick times on the way up, as we were unsure exactly how long the drive would take and what we might encounter along the way that would slow us down.
On the way home we stopped a handful of times and for longer duration, finally taking the time to enjoy some of the sights we came across along the way.
The terrain is stunning. So beautiful that it takes your breath away.
So beautiful that it could make you cry.
Whether LC stays with Salmon, or eventually chooses to sign up for a clinic closer to home in either Pocatello or Idaho Falls, neither one of us regretted gong on this journey.
We were less than 30 miles from Salmon on the way home before we made a brief stop at a now empty campground.................
I don't know why I didn't notice it on the way up to Salmon, but on the way home I realized that this drive reminded me very much of the drive between Cody and the East Gate of Yellowstone.
The winding two lane highway. The mountains and trees and rugged rock bluffs adjacent to the highway, and the river paralleling the road.
It was all very much like that in the Shoshone National Forest.
That section of forest often gets overlooked by tourists when they travel from Cody in the winter and early spring.
The first year that we were in Cody we drove out to the East Gate in late May.
The region had received more than 200% over their regular snowfall level that winter, and even in late May the East Gate was still closed.
There was still snow and ice on the ground, although much of it had melted, but what kept the gate from opening were continual mudslides in Sylvan Pass.
As we approached the gate that day we parked the truck over to the side of the road, and a car filled with Asian tourists pulled in behind us.
We had parked the truck so that we could take pictures of the area before turning back and returning to Cody.
The tourists, in broken English, asked us if the gate was open and when we told them no, they were obviously disappointed.
We ended up giving them directions to the north east gate in Cooke City (that WAS open) and they quickly turned around and were headed for Cooke City.
I understood the focus of people who had traveled to the area specifically to see Yellowstone National Park, but thought that it was a real shame that they were so intent on seeing Yellowstone that they didn't even notice everything else that was around them.
The drive through Shoshone National Forest in winter and early spring is filled with mountains, trees, river, bison, big horn sheep, elk, deer, and endless views that were just as outstanding as anything they would see in the park.
The same could be said for the drive up to Cooke City.
And it was all overlooked because the goal was to see Yellowstone.
Understandable. But also a shame.....................
I didn't even notice them until LC pointed them out to me, and by then we were flying across the river with cars behind us and no place to safely pull in at the last minute.
A small herd of big horn sheep grazing down beside the river.
For a second I could see the look on LC's face, but we had a LONG way to go before reaching Atomic City and I couldn't see back-tracking.
A couple of miles later LC pulled off the highway when he saw a sign for a bridge.
As we drove closer to the huge metal beast I asked LC to drop me off on this side of the bridge so that I could take some pictures, and I would meet him on the opposite side...............
Standing in the center of the bridge I snapped this view of the river first looking in one direction............
And then looking in the opposite direction..............
As I continued to slowly walk across the bridge, power-snapping pictures as I went, I found myself (first subconsciously and then consciously) using the metal frame of the bridge as make-shift frames for my pictures............
The mountains in Idaho are just as rugged (if not more so) as they are in Wyoming. The sky is just as blue. The water is just as wonderful. The rock formations are (almost) as interesting.
So far (admittedly only not-quite two months) Idaho has been a good move for us...............
I have no idea what Dugouts means.
More research for another day, as we continue to learn about the area in which we now live.............
After taking many pictures near the bridge, I climbed back into the truck and we drove back across the old metal and wood structure, heading for the two lane highway.
Only..........instead of turning right as I had expected, LC turned left.
Surprised I turned to look at him, wordlessly inquiring what he was doing.
He turned and looked at me with a big smile.
I had forgotten about them in the excitement of seeing the beautiful river flowing under the bridge.
We were heading back to the big horn sheep.
LC drove back across the overpass, looked ahead of him, looked behind him, and pulled a very quick u-turn before pulling into a small parking area that we had both missed the first time, as we were speeding down the highway.
Between the bank of the river on our side and the span of the river, this small herd (that was quietly grazing) was a good distance away from us and they blended almost seamlessly with the terrain.
If you click on the picture below you MIGHT be able to see them.
I quickly snapped this real-life distance picture of the herd before slowly beginning to zoom in, in hopes of getting a better picture of them.
As so often happens, between the distance and the capabilities of my little digital camera, I couldn't really get any good pictures of these beautiful things.
But I am very glad that LC first saw them and then went back for them...............
One quick picture snapped from the overpass and while the truck was in motion..............
I love this picture....................
Farm land. Endless farm land..............
An outstanding trip.
We left the house that morning while it was still dark and cold outside.
We made it home with daylight and warmth left to spare...............
Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes - every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man............Orison Swett Marden