Crater of the Moon National Monument
Steam rising over the Henry's Fork at sunrise as we prepared to head to Crater of the Moon NM
We stopped in Twin Falls, ID for a free shower
Stanley, ID to Boise, ID to McCall, ID and Hwy 12 toward Montana
We left the Henry’s Fork with a beautiful sunrise headed for Crater of the Moon NM. We arrived at Crater of the Moon a little before 1pm. We found a great pull through campsite and dropped the trailer. Susan made up a quick lunch and then we drove the loop road, getting out for short hikes and pictures. The landscape was breath taking. I took a 2-mile out and back hike to see the petrified trees. As the lava flowed around the trees, the moisture in the tree preserved the tree with the lava hardening leaving imprints of the bark and holes in the lava field.
We returned to our campsite just as another FWC pulled into the spot just above us. Carolyn and Steve Williams stopped by for a visit. Turns out Carolyn and I had corresponded on FWC Facebook about a trailer blown off the edge at Badlands NP, our final destination on the way home. Later a third FWC with a Keystone drove by and waved as he was looking for a spot. We didn’t get a chance to meet.
Crater of the Moon NM
Four Wheel Campers at sunset
Sunrise over Crater of the Moon NM
Steve & Carolyn Williams
We headed out around 8am, saying our good-byes to the Williams and headed for Stanley, ID. We arrived at Sunny Gulch Campground around noon, dropping the trailer and heading into Stanley for lunch at Mt. Village. They had great burgers and beer. While having lunch an artist was wood burning a mural on a wall. It was amazing watching him work and what he had completed was beautiful. We drove up to Stanley Lake and hiked around and then down to Redfish Lake. We feed the quarters for showers at Redfish Lake and then stopped at the Ranger Station to check on the impending weather. Heavy snows were predicted for the Sawtooth Mountains and surrounding areas within the next 48 hours. A revised forecast gave us another day and allowed us to depart before bad weather set in. The next morning we drove looking for hot springs. We stopped at the Boat Box hot springs. We decided not to do this one. I also forgot that I downloaded a list of recommend hot springs that had three others around Stanley. Next time we will try them all.
Wood burn mural
Bear Box Hotsprings
Flyfishing the Salmon River
In the afternoon we stopped along the Salmon River so I could fly fish for a couple of hours. Again, I had no luck, not even a hit. All fun though.
In the morning we got up early to beat the expected snow moving in. We stopped at Mountain Village for a great breakfast, fueled up and headed for Boise and McCall, ID. We took Hwy 21 and planned on stopping at Kirkham Hot Springs, but didn’t see the signs. We saw the steam coming up from the river, and didn’t realize that was Kirkham and kept on driving. It was a beautiful drive with a mix of switchbacks as we climbed out of Lowman, ID. There was smoke in the air and as we climbed out of the valley we could see the last of fire that had been along Lohman Road. It was raining and with the forecast the last of the fire would probably be out. We ended up driving through Boise. There was a cut-off in Lowman that wasn’t marked and the Benchmark showed Hwy 21 turning South and the cut-off straight. That probably cost us 30-45 minutes.
Loman Road Fire, smoke over the valley
We arrived in McCall, ID around 1pm. We went to Ponderosa State Park on Payette Lake and selected a campsite, dropped the trailer. We went to McCall Brewing Company for lunch a some beers. Great food and great beer. The local weather predicted 2-3” of snow for McCall on both days but we didn’t get more than a flurry. We had rain off and on for both days.
We drove the loop road around part of the lake. The views were amazing. This would be a fun place in the summer with all of the lake opportunities. We also took some great short hikes through the ponderosa pines and down to the water’s edge. We returned to McCall Brewing Company for lunch the next day, sampling a few different beers. We enjoyed our stay in McCall and will return again.
We were up the next day heading North to pick up Hwy. 12 and our return to Montana. We had not decided on our next stop, as several of the USFS campgrounds along the Clearwater River were closed for the season. We crossed over Lolo Pass were they had had 4-6” of snow a couple of days before. W e stopped at the campground at Lolo Hotsprings. We picked out a site and then headed across the road to the hot springs. The outdoor cooling pool was 80 degrees and we started there. Outside temperature was around 36. We moved to the indoor pool were the temperature was 104. It was a nice relaxing way to spend an hour and we felt much better afterwards.
McCall Brewing Company