Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Leadore And More - Part 1

I'm jumping the gun a bit with the picture above, but I wanted to post a beautiful picture to start this blog post, and it doesn't get any more beautiful than this............
A couple of days ago LC, Kory and I ventured into the mountains.
We hadn't planned on going into the mountains.  We had simply planned to head up a valley towards the very small town of Leadore, ID.
LC especially, had been curious about Leadore.
Why that is I don't know, but I was ready to escape Atomic City, drive through a valley surrounded by mountains, and see what we would see.
Eagerly throwing together a picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit, cookies, cans of Diet Coke and bottles of water, we both grabbed a jacket each (even though the forecast promised sunshine and warmth) loaded the pup into the truck, and headed towards a valley known as the Lemhi Valley.
The Big Lost River Valley is closest to us, and it contains all the small towns and communities that I have mentioned before in previous blog posts, including Arco, Moore, Mackay, Challis and Salmon.
Driving a little further east there is access to the Little Lost River Valley that we have explored only a little to this point, both times in the winter.
The first time we ended up turning back after a couple of hours, after unexpectedly running into completely barren land, no cell service, and snow drifts that had begun to sweep across the two-lane road we had been traveling.  We had NO idea what was up ahead, and so out of caution we turned back.
The second time we traveled the Little Lost, we turned off before reaching "barren wasteland" and traveled a short way along a ridge line bordering the mountains, until we eventually ran into some young guys who told us that the road was closed up ahead.
Further east still is the base of the Lemhi Valley.
Three valleys that are all close to each other, and that are all beautiful.
This was our first time exploring the Lemhi Valley, and Leadore on a sunny and warm spring morning seemed like a fine way to spend the day.
A picture taken as we headed towards the tiny community of Howe, only about 20 minutes drive from the house................
An hour or so after we had left the house we came across water.
Water, mountains, trees, and a campground.  
I wanted to take pictures, I wanted to walk, Kory wanted to walk.
It was time to stop for a while, and we watched for an entrance to the campground, all of us suddenly eager to get out of the Tahoe and move around.
We had already passed one entrance, and was surprised at how far it was to the second.
As we pulled down towards the water and then climbed out, I looked around me, and was hit (yet again) with the realization that there are so many places that we have not seen yet.
So much that is within easy driving distance.
Within easy day trip distance.
So much that was still hidden away from us, yet to be explored.
We had not even thought about searching out places to camp, but as I looked around me I realized that we could happily stay in this place for a few days.................
We spent a good 30 minutes wandering along the........creek?  river?
I don't even know what they officially classify this as, but it was fast flowing and deep enough that LC could spend a good deal of his time wandering along the bank and tossing his line into the water if we camped here.
I could walk with my dog.
We could explore all of the trails that headed up into the mountains on both sides of the road.
It was beautiful here.
We hadn't planned on scoping out campgrounds, but since we had unexpectedly found this one (and it was free to stay there)........yes..........I could see us spending a couple of days in this place................
Eventually we had walked far enough (how big WAS this place??) that LC headed back to retrieve the Tahoe while I continued wandering with Kory.
The place was silent aside from the sound of moving water.
I watched as Kory occasionally drank from the river, paddled in the river, pulled on the leash eager to go further and see more...................
Eventually my Mountain Boy caught up with us, and I loaded my now-hydrated pup back into the truck.
We had been following the river, and there was a gravel road that also paralleled the river.
After getting back into the Tahoe we continued in the same direction, staying on the gravel road and beginning to wonder exactly how big of a campground this really was.
Originally we had bypassed a lower campground entrance.
We came in at the middle campground entrance, so figured that somewhere there was an upper campground entrance, and assumed that we would find it eventually.
I always smile when I see these low ladders, that are used to climb up and over a fence.............
A large cave that was located on a steep (very steep) jeep trail, directly across the road from us...................
The gravel road that ran the length of the campground was over a mile long.
There was one family camping in a huge fifth wheel (the kind that is so big you wonder why people want to take their house with them when they go camping), and a couple of guys that were fishing.
But aside from those few, this campground was a beautiful place that was surrounded by more beautiful place.
Yes..........I wanted to camp here.  
Mountain bike.  Fish.  Camp.  Hike.  Explore................

An information kiosk located close to the upper entrance of the campground...............
15 minutes are picking up the two lane highway again I realized that I was out of gum.
Thinking that I would have to wait and hope that there was a gas station open in Leadore, we were surprised to see a sign on the highway indicating a convenience store and small campground.
LC pulled in and waited in the Tahoe with Kory while I headed towards the entrance of the run down plywood building..
There was a handful of 5th wheels parked in back of the store and as I headed towards the front door I absently wondered why people would camp here when there was such a beautiful and empty campground located only a few miles down the road ...............
I opened the front door and was immediately greeted by two dogs who ran right up to me.
Momentarily startled, I also immediately realized that these dogs were friendly.
Maybe a little overly-friendly considering that this was a business, but friendly was better than not friendly, and so I recovered from my surprise quickly.
As big friendly fur balls were jumping around the store owner walked up to me, apologized for the enthusiasm of his dogs, told me that they were new and had not yet learned their manners, and then shooed them out the front door.
Surprised again, I realized that the man was heading out the front door as well.
Turning away from the door I finally took a look around me.
Even though the sign above the building had indicated as such, I could see no evidence of goods that would normally be sold in a store.
There were tables and chairs, a long counter with bar stools, and what looked like a kitchen visible through an opening in the wall behind the counter.
Surprised again, I turned my attention to the lone occupant of the store.
An elderly woman was sitting at one of the tables busily focused on a half completed jig saw puzzle.
For a few moments I waited for her to look up.
It must have been one hell of an interesting puzzle because she did not, and finally I said "Excuse me!".
Looking up from her puzzle I asked the lady if the store sold gum.
I already knew the answer but I had come this far and thought it was worth at least asking.
They did not have gum.  They were out of everything right now.  She was sorry.
Turning a polite smile on, I thanked her and walked out the door.
Man and big rambunctious dogs were nowhere in sight..................

Life is for deep kisses, strange adventures, midnight swims and rambling conversations...............Author Unknown 

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