Thursday, June 12, 2014

Camping Big Lost River Valley - Part 5

This was the second time that my Mountain Boy and I had walked the grounds of the Sacajawea Cultural Center, that is located just a couple of miles from the center of downtown Salmon.
We knew nothing of this place during our first trip to Salmon last September, happened to come across it as we were driving around killing time in between VA appointments, and spent a couple of hours walking in both wonderment and awe of the beauty that was all around us.
Picture post card beautiful.
Stunningly beautiful - both the well maintained grounds of the center (which is filled with wetland areas, a huge variety of trees and grasses and flowers), and the endless snow-capped mountains that circle this entire area.
We love this place.
In September LC and I walked with Jamie.  She was old and slow and although we didn't know it at the time, likely also slowly dying.  The trails that wander alternately between open grasslands and closed in and tree-lined single track trail, total about 2 miles.
She made the entire trip, and it was the longest that she had walked in many months.
Our dog - who was as devoted to us are we were to her, and who had been with first me (and then LC and I) for most of her 13 years, was dead a month later.
As I looked at this wonderful and majestic dog statue that is located close to the parking lot of the center, I thought about Jamie for a few moments.
I miss her very much.  It was very hard to lose her.
Even on the last night of her life she struggled mightily to pull herself up onto first the trunk at the end of the bed, and then up onto the bed, just so that she could curl up with us and sleep. 
Just as she had done for years.
We had tried to pick her up to lay her on the bed but she wanted no part of it.
Once we were settled into bed we both listened as we heard our girl struggle to get up.
She made it.
And then both LC and I sat up and pet her and kissed her, and spoke soothing words to her, and I rubber her ears in that way that I knew she liked.  Because I think we both intrinsically knew by that point that she had very little time left.
I miss her..............

On this trip we were now walking with Kory.
A dog that we have now known for seven months.  
A girl who is young and healthy and athletic, who loves walks and who loves life as much as Jamie did...........
Pictures of the manicured grounds located close to the Cultural Center and parking area.
Flowers, trees, endless green and endless views of the mountains in the background.
Very beautiful..............
Still close to the entrance to this place is one more beautiful copper statue.
It is a life size statue of Sacajawea.
There is a link to her life story in my previous blog post.
She is surrounded by flowers and trees, and stands on a podium holding an infant child.
It is a beautiful piece, and both times I have visited this place I have found myself drawn to it, mesmerized by it, loving it..............
One of these days I want to actually go into the cultural center and see the exhibits.
Our first trip was a whirlwind of VA visits and checking out the area.
This one was longer but neither LC nor I were in a place where we wanted to or needed to go inside.
Rather, we both needed to move.  To walk with our dog.  To be outside and wandering this very wonderful place..........
Last time we were here we followed the trail counter clockwise.  This time we began our walk in the opposite direction, and Kory immediately found the water.
I do miss the water very much living in Atomic City.
We're close, but I would like to have been closer.
We spent a few minutes here, watching our young dog drink and play and enjoy.........
This place reminds me SO MUCH of Juneau.
I remember thinking when I lived up there that I couldn't take credit for taking such beautiful pictures.
Truthfully it was impossible NOT to take beautiful pictures.
There was beauty everywhere there, just as there was in this place............
In addition to the natural beauty of the area, there are a multitude of interesting things to see during the two mile walk.
Artifacts that speak to the history of the area - the Native Americans, the settlers, the mining.
It is hugely interesting, and an amazing opportunity to learn while wandering at your pace, taking everything in, in your own time.
An old settler cabin...........
Informational bill boards are scattered throughout the walk.
Billboards speaking of history, of the birds and animals and insects and trees and flowers that inhabit this region.
The residents of Salmon are incredibly lucky to have such a place right in their back yard............
Everything looked familiar during this trip.
We had seen it all before, just last September.
But as I stood among the trees looking out over the Lemhi River I had such a strong sense of deja vu.  
I remembered this exact spot.  Standing here with LC and Jamie.  Even the tree curving down towards the river.
As I stood there for a moment looking at the water I suddenly missed Jamie very much.
I hadn't gotten close to dogs growing up because my parents inevitably dumped them off in the country when they got tired of them.  Abandoning domestic animals that were totally dependent on humans and who had no survival skills to draw from.
But newly divorced way-back-when, Jamie and I quickly became very close.
She would walk anywhere with me.  Cross every creek.  Climb every mountain.  Walk every trail.  Sit on every rock bluff looking out over forever.  Me and her.............. 
This eagle sculpture is extraordinary.
Located close to the parking lot, we walked over to it close to the end of our walk so that we could look at it again more closely.
LC and I fell in love with this sculpture during our first trip.
One more wonderful piece of art work that decorates the lawns that surround the cultural and visitor center.
It is made of metal, is intricately cast, and the eagle appears to be actually in flight, thanks to the narrow pole that holds it in place................
Kory noticed it before we did - an animal hoof laying among the rocks in the parking lot..............
This was our last day in Salmon.
The next morning we would pack up our gear, reload the camper, and begin our journey back down the Big Lost River Valley.
The plan was to spend one day and night in Challis about 50 miles south of Salmon.
More information about the Sacajawea Center:

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