Immediately after passing over a cattle guard, we entered a section of Challis National Forest.
CNF reminds me very much of Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, in that sections of the forest seem to be located everywhere you go.
Take a ride along a two lane highway for an hour and then pull off to explore a side road? There it is.
Climb a mountain seemingly hours out of the way? There it is.
Head towards what you think is simply a large swatch of BLM land? Yup. A sign announcing Shoshone National Forest. And now Challis National Forest.
The last time that we had entered a section of Challis National Forest we had been climbing up and over Arco pass, a few hours to our east.
As we drove across the cattle guard I scanned the terrain, for some reason expecting some grand transition from what we had been seeing for a long while.
Instead it was more of the same.
More of the beautiful same.
Hills. Mountains. Occasional ranches. Long rows of trees and low lying boggy areas that told me that there was water in this dry, mid-summer, fly-over land.............
After stopping briefly to snap pictures on a number of occasions, the terrain subtlety did begin to change.
Rocky bluffs began to make their appearance to our right - high and filled with what looked like caves.
Trees began to appear along the road side - thick and lush and dark green, and occasionally we would pass over a narrow bridge that spanned a stream.
We by passed one campground when we saw that it was not Iron Bog, and that it was filled with huge campers complete with the now-seemingly-requisite slide outs.
Not ready to run into people yet, we continued our slow journey...............
Having seen a sign recently, we knew that Iron Bog camp ground was close by and (now hungry) I was looking forward to stopping for a while and eating the sandwiches, fruit, cookies and Cokes that I had packed for our trip.
These rock formations were unexpected.
Sitting to our right they instantly reminded me of the rock formations that we had enjoyed so much while traveling through Shoshone National Forest on the drive between Cody and Yellowstone National Park.
Sitting high on rugged and rocky hills, the ones in Shoshone had always reminded me of sentries.
Silently standing guard and watching over their terrain. Never moving. Never wavering. Always watchful.
As I snapped these pictures while still on the move, I had that same sense.
There were no other rock formations like this that we had seen in the couple of hours since first turning off the highway.
Even looking at the pictures now, I can almost feel the secret energy behind them.
Or maybe I just read too many Stephen King novels as a kid...............
A few minutes later, and without fan fare, we passed through the entry gates of Iron Bog Camp Ground.
The relatively smooth gravel road that we had been driving for what seemed like a long time, abruptly ended at the camp ground.
As we pulled through the entry I noticed two ATV's headed our way.
The road beyond Iron Bog was a deeply rutted out trail.
There was no more road, but obviously there was a four wheeling mecca straight ahead............
Stopping briefly for a rest room break, I made a grab for Korys leash, and while LC drove the Tahoe down the paved trail that circumnavigated the camp ground in search of a spot for lunch, I walked in the same direction with my dog..............
The place was beautiful.
Surrounded by mountains.
A huge camp ground with room to spread out.
As I walked the trail with Kory I realized that there were quite a few campers spread out over a large area.
All white, and shiny, with fancy pull outs and four wheelers parked along side.
This would be a very beautiful place to camp.
In late fall, I decided...................
Completely famished by this time we sat at a picnic table hungrily scarfing down the food we had brought with us.
Kory likes ham and cheese and we shared our food with her, and then shared our bottles of water with her, before walking down a narrow and almost overgrown trail.
There was obviously water down there somewhere, and we hoped to be able to access it..............
Wildflowers were everywhere, all in bright purples and yellows and whites................
Very quickly we realized that the vegetation was too overgrown, and that we would not be able to get down to the water on this trail after all.
We could hear the two little kids (one running and one on bicycle) that were giddily traveling up and down the short trail of the camp site where they were staying.
We could not get down to the water (but had seen other places on the way to Iron Bog that we knew for certain we could access), and very quickly decided that we were ready to move on.
It had been a brief stop. Just long enough to use a rest room, eat, wander a little.
But now we knew where Iron Bog was, and were ready to continue our journey.
Time to go further and see more..............