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Exploring Idaho

Where Lava & Water Flows

Filer, ID - Thursday, 6/15/17

Neither Mike nor I had ever been to Idaho, and we were really looking forward to visiting some friends near Twin Falls. From Crystal Hot Springs, Utah we drove to Filer, ID to visit our good friends Bob & Julie. We set up camp in their cul-de-sac for three days in hopes that Mike & Bob could take a flight or two.


When we arrived, the weather looked like it would be perfect for an evening flight, so Mike began assembling his motor. It was good that the weather was cooperative on Thursday night, because Mike did not get another chance to fly in Filer.

Mike & I had a great time with Bob & Julie. They were very generous with their time and obviously very proud of their home town. Despite having just had knee surgery, Julie came along with us to show Mike & i the sights. What a trooper!

Our first stop was the Twin Falls Visitor Center on the Snake River. This is the site of the famous base-jumper bridge. Apparently watching people jump from the bridge is quite the attraction for locals. We had lunch at a restaurant on the cliff overlooking the bridge, but no one was jumping that day.


The next day, we took a tour of the Snake River. Water levels were unusually high due to the snow melt. Bob & Julie said they had never seen so much water going over Shoshone Falls. I learned that Shoshone Falls is 45 feet taller than Niagara Falls, and is sometimes called the "Niagara of the West".

It was stunning to see so much water pouring over the cliff!

Craters Of The Moon - Sunday, 6/18/17

We said goodbye to Bob & Julie on Sunday and headed north toward Craters of the Moon National Monument. We camped there at the Lava Flow Campground for 2 nights. Talk about living in an asphalt jungle! You might expect something like this in Hawaii, but in Idaho?!


This lava field covers 618 square miles. You can see it clearly on the map's satellite view.


I was surprised at all the new life taking hold in the lava flow. We were there at just the right time of year to see these tiny pink flowers carpeting the rocky landscape. It was unexpectedly colorful!


Sun Valley - Tuesday, 6/20/17

Ahh... Sun Valley! This is absolutely one of my favorite campsites so far. I'm sure I wouldn't like being here in the winter, but the Sawtooth National Forest is just beautiful in the spring time.

We arrived on Tuesday. We didn't like the first campground we came to, but the next campsite we found was extraordinary! These are the mountains at the end of the valley where we camped.


A large circular driveway lead to our very private campsite.


There was a path from the driveway to nearby Corral Creek. I loved sitting on the banks of the creek and listening to the water rushing by. It was so peaceful there.

On Saturday afternoon, we attended Sun Valley's Fire Fighter Appreciation event and I met Smokey Bear.


As much as we hated to leave our beautiful spot in Sun Valley, we were looking forward to visiting our friends Steve and Charity. So we came down from the mountains and spent Monday night, 6/26, at the Elks Lodge in Mountain Home, ID.

Fruitland, ID - Tuesday, 6/27/17

Steve and Charity live among acres and acres of farm fields. Even though they had just gotten back from vacation, they welcomed us enthusiastically. Both Steve and Charity fly Powered ParaGliders like Mike does. They have a flying field right next to their house and they were hopeful the weather would cooperate for everyone to get a flight or two while we were there,

Bob & Julie surprised us with a visit on Thursday. Bob was in the market for a new paraglider and Steve had a couple for him to test fly. The weather was cooperative and everyone got to fly at least once. We were envious of Steve having such a perfect place to launch just steps from his back door.

On Friday, Charity, Julie and I went to the Trader Joe's in Boise. I sure do miss have a TJ's close by. It was refreshing to have some "girl time" with my friends. After lunch, we headed home toward Fruitland, about an hour north of Boise.

On our way home, we had a surreal experience. A driver going the opposite direction on I-84 lost control of her vehicle and careened across both southbound lanes. The car flipped several times across the median and became airborne just as we approached. It was flipping straight at us! Charity had to swerve onto the shoulder to avoid hitting it!

Thank you, Charity, for doing such a great job of avoiding a collision! The vehicle slid to a stop across both lanes on our side of the road. Others helped the accident victim out of the car and to a safe place. I can't believe this is the only photo I have of our entire stay in Fruitland.


While we were in Fruitland, I made the difficult decision to quit flying. It had been over a year since I'd flown and I had to admit I am no longer athletic enough for the sport. Steve is teaching a neighbor of his to paraglide and he needed a harness, so I sold mine to him.


One day I may still fly the trike we have in storage, but my days of foot-launching are over. I will never forget how it feels to free fly and am so grateful that I took the opportunity to learn to paraglide when I did. It's been an amazing experience!

Mike & I didn't really know where to go next, so we asked Steve's neighbor. Having kayaked in all 48 lower states, he said his favorite place of all is Stanley, ID. So on Sunday morning, we said goodbye to Steve & Charity and headed back into the mountains toward Stanley. We spent Sunday night in the Boise National Forest along the Payette River near Lowman.


Stanley, ID - Monday, 7/3/17

On the drive into Stanley we came upon this beautiful wildflower meadow. It was adjacent to a very small, 2-site campground, available by reservation only. The person camping at one of the sites said that people had been stopping by all day long to take photos of this view.


A little further down the road we came upon Stanley Lake. This is a view of the Sawtooth Mountains from the lakeshore.


We arrived in the small mountain town of Stanley, Idaho the day before Independence Day. Stanley is located at the northern boundary of the Sawtooth National Forest. This is the view from the hilltop city park.


Here are some old trapper cabins.


Stanley held a Fourth of July celebration in the center of town. Main streets were blocked off and there was live music all afternoon. There was even a short fireworks display after dark. We thoroughly enjoyed being a part that quaint, small-town celebration.

Our first campground was right on the Salmon River. We watched people floating by every now and then.


These are the Sawtooth Mountains a little south of Stanley. That's the Salmon River in the foreground.


The most beautiful dump station in the world; just look at that view!



I have to say that I agree with Steve & Charity's neighbor; the area around Stanley, ID is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

We stayed in Stanley for two weeks in 3 different campsites. All three were first-come-first-serve and free. We spent our first week in a dispersed camping campground on the banks of the Salmon River. Our second campsite was in a dispersed camping area along ID-75. We spent our last night at a dispersed campsite on a Forestry Service road near Redfish Lake.



Boise to Coeur d'Alene, Monday, 7/17/17

Mike's iPhone began acting up while we were in Stanley and we wanted to replace it before it crashed completely. The nearest Apple Store was in Boise. So, on Monday morning, 7/17, we left Stanley and headed southwest toward the big city of Boise.

We got a replacement for Mike's iPhone at the Boise Apple Store and spent an uneventful night at the Boise Elks Lodge. We'd heard that Coeur d'Alene was nice, so the next morning we headed north on US-95. Along the way, we stayed overnight in Cambridge, ID at the Washington County Fairgrounds...


...drove through Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge carved by the Snake River...


...took a break to watch the river flow by...


...spent the night in the parking lot of an abandoned discount store in Grangeville, ID...


...and checked in at the Coeur d'Alene Elks RV park on Thursday, 7/20.


We enjoyed several days exploring the area around Coeur d'Alene. The lake was beautiful and we preferred the older parts of town. The newer, gentrified areas were much less appealing to us. We took advantage of being near a Honda dealership and had the brakes serviced on our CRV while we were here.

Bonners Ferry, ID, Wednesday, 7/26/17

We ended our exploration of Idaho at Boundary County Fairgrounds in Bonners Ferry. We were less than 30 miles from the Canadian border here. This is a popular little park for local families and a very nice place to spend up to 72 hours free of charge. We left Idaho the next morning and headed towards Glacier National Park in Montana.


That's all for this post. Next time, I'll tell all about our adventures in Montana.

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

If you're interested in following along with us, please subscribe to Our Permanent Vacation by clicking this "Subscribe" link. Until next time!

Posted by DillyLynn 11:01

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A number of years ago, Pat and I spent 3 weeks touring Idaho in our 2003 Corvette. Some days we drove only 50 or 60 miles because it was so neat. We did the Hell's Canyon rapids. Lovely trip.

by J. Craig Carrell

What a good looking group! great job again Delia it will be fun to see you in a couple weeks in New Mexico till then keep enjoying life and safe travels.

by julie Dille

Love your snow covered mountain photos. They are so beautiful.

by irenevt

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