Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Challis Camping Trip - Part 3

We couldn't help ourselves.
We had already begun an exploration into the mountains in back of Challis, but after wandering a short ways we were hooked.
There were endless back roads to investigate.
Nobody knew where we were of course, so wandering into unknown mountains alone wasn't smart, but we had done it before and were about to do it again.
Because we had unexpectedly found a sign telling us that the River Of No Return was somewhere up ahead. 
Mileage unknown.
An hour later we pulled to a stop in the middle of the dirt road, and we all three eagerly unloaded from the truck.
We hadn't made any stops to that point, had been continuously climbing, still had no idea how far it was to the river, and when we came to this intersection we finally had no idea which direction we should be taking.
Go straight?  Follow the road up to the right?
A sign would have been nice, but there was none to be found.
Intrinsically we knew that if we would ever find a river we needed to begin dropping at some point - and we would have a whole lot of dropping to do after the endless climbs we had just traveled through.
But as we stood in the silence of the mountains there were too many unknowns.
Distance unknown.  Direction unknown.  The state of the road up ahead unknown.
Reluctantly we knew that it was time to turn back.
Without a topo map neither one of us wanted to wander blindly any further into the mountains.
We resolved to stop frequently on the way back down though, so that I could snap some pictures of this place.................
What did we see on the way back down the mountain?
Endless blackened trees from last years late summer forest fire.
Early signs of new and healthy growth already beginning to spread in the wake of the fire.
A raging stream that paralleled the winding dirt road.
Occasional mountain pastures that included beautiful and isolated homes that could not be anything else aside from ritzy summer homes.
Beautiful in every direction at every moment....................
One quick picture of downtown Challis.
A quiet, sleepy town surrounded by mountains and close to the river.
We like it there.
We like it a lot.................
By the time we all arrived back at the campground we were tired.
It had been a very long (but also very great) day, and after a quick campfire dinner and a good cup of coffee while waiting for the fire to die down, we all thankfully climbed into our new-old camper for the night.
Kory gratefully climbed up onto her bed and immediately fell asleep.
LC and I turned on our wall mounted tap lights, turned on our headlamps, and immediately began the trash talk while dealing out the cards.
On this night we won one game a piece..................   
After a night of comfortable sleep (and grateful that we had had the forethought to make comfortable sleeping a high priority when we were rebuilding our camper) LC and I woke to the sound of noisy geese.
For the second night and third day, we were both astounded to see that we were still the only campers in this campground.
We really HAD had this place to ourselves for the duration of our trip.
As we all climbed out of the camper I looked around me.
It was chilly but immediately I could tell that it was going to be a warmer day than the previous one had been.
As LC built a fire I wandered the grounds with my still-sleepy dog, both of us slowly waking up.
The Salmon River was noisy.  Very fast moving.  Swollen from snow melt.  
And along the shores of this river were maybe 70 geese.
As Kory marked and sniffed the ground with single determination, I looked over at this surprisingly large flock, and immediately recognized it as a nursery.
More than half of the flock were babies.
Small with peach fuzz feathers, and all waddling in their unsteady gait while adults protectively watched over them.................
While still wandering the campground I glanced over to see what LC was doing.
The campfire was going strong and I could see the pot standing on the grate above the fire and knew that coffee was just a few minutes away.
Beyond LC to my left the cows in the adjoining field were happily grazing.
To my right the goose-nursery was contentedly wadding between the private property on one side of the jake fence, and the campground property on my side of the fence................
With my dog still in tow I slowly worked our way towards the geese, hoping to take some pictures of the adults and babies.
But I didn't get far.
Within a few steps in their direction the adults skillfully herded all the young birds over onto private property, and away from the potential danger of woman and dog.................
By the time Kory and I returned to our campsite, the herd had again spread out along the shore of the Salmon River.................
After a quick cup of coffee (and leaving Kory at the campsite) I slowly crossed the width of the campground again, and then very slowly made my way closer to this herd.
If I could, I wanted to get some closer pictures.
And so I moved very slowly.
Trying very hard not to disturb or upset this very large flock.....................
While quietly leaning up against a tree, I spent the next 10 minutes zooming my still-new camera in and out, quickly snapping picture after pictures of these beautiful birds.
I had been quiet enough so as to not alert them to my presence.
They didn't know I was close.
It was an amazing experience to enjoy them unencumbered.
It was a nice way to finish off our camping trip.
We had only been here for a few days, but we enjoyed every minute of our time.
And our camper worked out as well (in terms of insulation, storage, convenience, comfort and usability) as we had hoped.
Good camper.
Good trip..................

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