"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, September 24, 2018

No Guts, No Glory

Stanley, Idaho
Sockeye Campground NF

With the temperature change and the higher elevation, Steve was a little bit worried about going over the pass to Stanley.  No problem I said.  I checked the weather.  It's blowing the other way.  See?
Oops.  Then it blew the OTHER way.  Well, it's probably just a little rain.
And at the top of the pass all you could see was clouds.
But... as we came over the other side it was starting to clear.  You could see some blue sky!
Some deer ran by as we got closer to our turn.  We were so glad we scouted out the campground the other day and found that we'd get Verizon at this spot.  Our excitement turned to WTH, the gates were closed, locked and a sign was posted, Closed for the season.  WHAT?  So we called the lodge to ask about nearby campgrounds and he told us that Sockeye was open.  We did see the road that goes up the hill but we didn't want to drive our rig up there without knowing if we could turn around.  He told us big rigs go up there all the time.
And we found a great spot too.  Right across from the lake with decent Verizon.  We were able to boost it to 4 bars.  Even better.

The road up as well as the campground looks like it has been recently improved.  Very nice job. No hookups, $20.
We passed the tiny town of Smiley Creek and heard they had some good food there.  So we drove back and had some really good burgers and chicken tenders.  Their coffee was really good too.  It was cold outside and I was just in one of those moods to have coffee with my dinner.

The town was getting ready to shut down for the season.  I think this was the last week Smiley's would be open.
Nice outside eating if it were warmer.  It was in the 50s daytime, 20s at night.  Brrr.

We mostly relaxed and hiked around a little.  The Salmon River runs slow and shallow by the campground.  It's crystal clear.

On the way back to the truck Hurley seemed very interested in a rock pile.  Ever see a gut pile?
All intact, and still a little moist.  It may seem gross, but it is very interesting really.  You could see all the organs perfectly. No flies or vultures.  Nothing had touched it.  Yet.  That means a fairly fresh kill.  We made sure to boogie out of there before any hungry critters showed up.  Not a place you want to hang around.  It is hunting season and the scavengers know it.  I don't want to run into a hungry bear/mountain lion/wolf/etc. 
The Salmon River has some very interesting stats.  It's 425 miles long starting in the Sawtooth Mountains and eventually joining the Snake River.  It has some of the deepest canyons in the US.  With some at 7000 ft, it surpasses the Grand Canyon and is second only to the Snake River's Hells Canyon.  The Salmon (fish) run 800 miles from the Pacific Ocean back here to spawn.  That's the longest run.  It's also one of the longest rivers which runs entirely in one state.
We drove out as far as we could then hiked a trail to get as close to the headwaters of the Mighty Salmon River, aka, The River of No Return.  What would we find?  A tiny stream?  A spring?  First you drive through what is referred to as the Sheep Hearders Camp.  You'll know why when you have to wait for the sheep to thin out on the dirt road so you can drive through.  There are also some very protective Great Pyrenees dogs there keeping a keen eye on their sheep.  Not to mention the sheepherders themselves.  I had taken an awesome video of them and the dogs as we drove through, but I turned my video off instead of on.  Can you believe it?  I ended up with about 10 seconds of video of my hiking boots.

It was a nice trail most of the way until it thinned out and there was some bushwacking involved.

Since the rive, turned creek, switched sides of the meadow along the other ridge we could no longer see it.  We hiked a bit more before giving up as we knew the trail went on quite a ways and connects to another in several more miles.  I guess we'll never know if it starts out from runoff over the year of several mountain creeks and springs or it just bubbles up out of the ground as a spring.  We turned back and drove some more of the mountain roads before heading home.  The sun was going down and really lit up the colors of the trees.

We drove to the top of the mountain, enjoyed the views and drove back down.

We past some Pronghorn and just a little bit later, a few elk.
And another awesome sunset as we return to camp.


  1. Replies
    1. The area is so pretty. Wish we could've done some fishing but there are many restrictions on this river. The out of state license fee is very expensive too.

  2. Oh Boy, those storm clouds looked serious. Glad it turned out okay. Too bad you never found the headwaters. At least the colors of the leaves gave you something beautiful to look at :-) Good thing the creature that disemboweled it's kill was not around! Gorgeous sunset :-)

    1. Snow is a worry this time of year at the higher elevations. We keep a close eye on it! We're very sure it was a hunter. It is national forest. It's why we try to stay on the trails and not go too far out in the backcountry.

  3. Nice picture of the gut pile, you don't see that everyday and it is the first time I have ever seen one in a blog post!

    1. I thought you might appreciate that pic if anyone 😁. Strangely no one else has mentioned it!


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