Monday, June 12, 2017

Challis Camping Trip - Part 1

On a very warm and very sunny Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, we readied ourselves and our newly finished camper, focused on getting out of town and up to Challis for a few days.
Life had been very busy, and both LC and I were eager to be close to the mountains and close to water.............
Although we had wanted to leave early in the morning, it was closer to noon before we actually got on the road.
Whenever we try to leave this tiny desert community for a few days or more, it feels as though we are stuck in the center of a vortex that keeps pulling us back.
As we loaded the camper and the coolers I could almost feel us picking up speed.
By the time we had secured the house, we had finally picked up enough speed to break free from the vortex and finally we were eagerly on our way and heading north.
Next stop Challis.
Actually the next stop was Arco to pick up gas, muffins and coffee.
The stop after that was Mackay to pick up money at the ATM.
And FINALLY it was next stop Challis.
As we stopped briefly at a second gas station on the outskirts of Challis I looked around me (as I always do), immediately enamored by the Salmon River that we had just crossed and the mountains that surrounded us in all directions.
I like Challis very much.
This piece of elk-shaped metal sculpture was located above a post at the gas station, and I snapped this picture while waiting for LC and while wandering with my dog in the parking lot..............
Our happy new-old camper pulled great on the trip up.
With it basically gutted out it was very light, and pulled true and straight.
By the time we reached Challis though, I had already asked LC to do whatever he needed to do with the lights, so that we could take the Suburban on our next trip.
3 hours with a 65 pound dog standing on my lap while sticking her head out of the window can get old very quickly.
By the time we reached Arco I was already at that point.
But our happy-go-lucky dog had a great trip and mine wasn't so bad either in the end.
Next trip though............she needed to be in back..................
We were camping in a free campground that was located seven miles north of Challis.
We had camped there before.
Right on the river, surrounded by hills and mountains and beautiful scenery all around us, it was a favorite with both me and my Mountain Boy.
The only amenities it had was one vault toilet.
But it was a small camp ground, beautiful, and we loved it.
As LC unhooked the camper and got it squared away i wandered quickly with Kory.
We were the only campers in the camp ground by mid afternoon and I wondered if that would hold throughout the remainder of the day.
Surely not.
Not in late May on a very warm weekend in the Lost River Valley.
For now at least, we had the entire place to ourselves...................
We were all tired.
A hectic week.
A late night.
An early morning.
 Frenzied camper-loading.
A 3 hour drive. 
Eager to do more wandering, suddenly I looked over at LC and we both agreed that a nap was in order first.
As we headed from the picnic table over to the camper we noticed that the cows in the adjoining field had noticed US.
And were very curious about us.
As they slowly ambled in our direction Kory looked at them with growing alarm,
She was on leash because the two lane highway was close.  And as the cows continued to slowly wander in our direction our on-alert pup pulled aggressively on her leash.
No Baby.  You can't have them..............
Very curious about these new people and pup,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
As we had pulled into the campground we had noticed two adult cows and one young calf, grazing contentedly along the side of the highway.
When we saw them we openly worried that they might be hit by a car.
Instead, they wandered down into the campground.
As the rest of the herd made their way over to us, these three wanderers also rambled up to the jake fence to commune with their compadres.
It was all very sweet and quiet fun................
We watched these friendly and curious creatures for a good while before finally climbing up into the camper and laying down.
LC and I are still at the point of congratulating ourselves frequently on the job we did on that old beater of a pull-behind that we had worked on for months.
We'll get over that self-congratulations in time.
But as we layed on the comfortable double bed and looked around the inside of the camper - and then looked over at our pup (who was already sleeping soundly on "her" bed) it felt pretty good to have made something comfortable out of something that really should have been thrown away.............
Picture taken through one of the screened windows from inside the camper.
We were in the mood to rest and apparently so were they.................
One more of the three metal signs we have on the wall inside the camper...............
A couple of hours later the three bovine adventurers were still in the camp ground.
By this time they were happily grazing and it suddenly dawned on both LC and me that this wasn't the first time that they had wandered away from their farm and wandered down into the campground.
We were ready to do some exploring in the mountains and resolved to stop at the neighboring farm to let them know that their cows had come down to visit us.....................
No-one was at the farm so we could not report on the wayward cows.
Moving on............ 
We had no idea where we were going.
All we knew was that Kory had been stuck in a truck for a few hours and then stuck on leash all afternoon.
She needed to run, and so we went in search of a place for her to run.
15 minutes after we left the camp ground we found ourselves up in the mountains and following a swollen and fast flowing creek.................
I look at this picture and something "clicks" for me.
We were only 15 minutes from the town of Challis, but also up in the mountains, wandering close to a swollen and fast flowing stream, and totally alone.
It was a beautiful place.
I've always loved Challis and always loved Salmon, and as I looked around me and then looked over towards the truck (that was partially hidden behind a couple of tall pines) this place felt good to me.
I was pleased to be in this very place at this very moment.................
It was almost dark by the time we arrived back at the camp ground.
A quick fire and cup of hot coffee and we all retired back into the camper.
Our puppy crashed immediately.
Tired, but not yet ready to go to sleep, LC and I dug inside a container that was hidden underneath the bed and pulled out a deck of cards.
We hadn't planned it that way, but it turned out that there was exactly enough room between our bed and Korys bed to set up two camp chairs and a folding table.
LC and I are usually pretty well matched when it comes to card playing, and as soon as we were set up the trash talking started.
We're pretty well matched when it comes to trash talk as well.
We do that whenever we play cards (which is typically only when we camp and when the power goes out at the house).
We are typically well matched but on this night LC beat me two games to zero.
No matter.
We had had a great first day camping and on that first night we slept very soundly...................
The mountains are calling and I must go.............John Muir

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