Thursday, May 23, 2013

Backwoods Mountain Road Adventure

I am always up for adventure.  That's why I love living in Idaho so much. 

Here in Idaho, there are adventures waiting everywhere you turn.  You just have to pick one to try.  It is a marvelous place to live if an adventurous life you seek.  Idaho offers it all! 

For us... all it takes is one beautiful day... add in a red Ford pickup, and two crazy-in-love adventurous souls... and you've got an equation for a day of unexpected roads and adventures.

On a day when neither my husband or I had anything better to do than just be together, we jumped into our trusty 4x4 Ford pickup, and off we went to spend the day together.  Most of the time, we just begin driving nowhere in particular, turning down roads we've never been before, and just enjoying being together, and exploring together.  Life doesn't get much better than this! 

So... that being said.. just a few days ago... the sun was shining brilliantly, and the world around us was beckoning us with calls for adventure... we listened... and off we went.

But. One. Problem.  

You would think the two of us would know the routine by now... at least bring a chainsaw in case we get into a problem with trees.  Bring some bear spray, just in case of an encounter with a wild animal not too happy to see you.  Or even better... why not just bring the 'ole pistol for those unexpected adventurous moments... just in case...

But no.  We didn't. 

That's right.  You heard me right. 

We didn't bring any of the above mentioned items, which really... for all adventurous souls here in Idaho... ought to be staples of any trip into the outback. 

I guess there were too many stars in our eyes just thinking of being together for the day... and we didn't even pause to consider that there might be some necessary pieces of equipment that would make our day, much, much easier. 

So... anyway... off we went, rolling down the highway, with nary a care in the world, acting like we were 18 years old, and not a care or a concern, just happy to be together, and to be spending the day together on an unknown adventure. 

You might think that by the time we reached our 40s, we would have lost some of the sparkle, and excitement that folks acquire by this time in their lives, but I am happy to say that my sweetheart and I love each other more today than we did all those years ago when we first began our life together.

So... with stars in our eyes, and nary a thought in our heads to concern us with such necessary things as a chainsaw, or bear spray... we set off on our adventure for the day...

The twists and turns of our journey took us deep into the heart of the mountains.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  You couldn't even see a cloud in the sky, and the temperatures were hitting an all time high here for this year, up into the 90s! We went from snow/hail/rain last week to 90-degree temperatures this week.

I am always amazed at how tall the tamarack trees grow here.  This one stood far above and beyond any other tree around it.  The tamaracks are not evergreen.  They lose their leaves in the fall, and regrow them in the spring.  So this tamarack is not dead, it is still alive, but just hasn't put out its new growth yet. 

When you are traversing the mountain roads in this area, the road or trail will usually come to a crossroad, and you have to decide to go up or down, left or right.  It's the luck of the draw.... and all part of the adventure!

If you haven't been this way before... it's a real adventure... and you want to be sure you remember the way you went in, just so you can find your way back out... because these roads don't ever seem to come to an end, they just seem to continue on endlessly!

 Which way to go... we chose to the left, and up...

Uh oh!  Before long, we realized why this road looked less traveled than the one we had been on.  The road turned into a trail, and before long the trail turned into dense, thickly forested trees that had not been cut back in years.  The trail was still visible, but the trees had grown so closely together that you could barely see the trail. The above picture is the view looking out the front window of the truck. Do you see a trail?

There was one there, but not much of one.

I turned around and took a picture out the rear window of the truck, and  you can see how densely wooded the trail had become.

Now you may be asking... why don't you turn around?


A great question.. one I was asking... but there was no answer.

You see.... there was no place to turn around.


At first, as we drove along, and the trail didn't seem too bad, we thought that soon we would find a turnaround spot. 

We didn't. 

So... instead of turning around before it got THAT bad... we kept going, hoping to find a place that would allow us to turn around.

But, of course, that didn't happen.  And at one point, I was worried we might need a chainsaw to get back out, because a tree limb had fallen across the road after we had crossed, and I was worried we might not be able to move it.

But, that tree limb moved fairly easily, with both of us tugging on it, and we were back to the business of getting out of this dead end trail.

It soon became quite apparent that there was no turanaround out here, and that we simply had to back out.

And so... that's what we did.

My husband backed about a half mile or so, and put his trucking skills to good use, while I occasionally grabbed tree limbs and moved them out of the way of our side mirrors.  Finally, we got to the place where we could turn around and drive out of that overgrown trail we had chosen to explore.

We continued on down the mountain, enjoying the beautiful views in every direction, glad that we had gotten out of that dead-end road without any major difficulty.  My husband's skills as a truck driver certainly came into play as we backed out of that road.

I was very glad to see the junction of the next road.  It was quite a relief.  We got out of the truck, and just looked at the view around us.  It was such a gorgeous day, and the panoramic view there was remarkable.

Then we continued down off the mountain, and found ourselves following another dirt road that seemed to lead... somewhere... but it was definitely more traveled than the one we had been on before. We followed that road down to a creek bed.

We got out and walked around the river bed area.  The Forest Service had evidently placed rocks in front of the river bed in order that off-road vehicles could not traverse down here.

There were lots of signs of life down here, from moose poo to bear tracks and fresh bear poo even.  The crickets were singing, along with a loud chorus of frogs.  Nature's music is the best!

Fresh bear tracks in the mud.  There was lots of bear poo too... but I didn't take a picture of it... lol!

A view from down at the river, looking back up the hill.

There were lots of these green lillies with yellow flowers growing everywhere.

To finish off our adventurous day together, we ended up at a well known local restaurant that is situated over the Tourelle waterfall, The Falls Inn.  We stopped here to get a refreshing drink  and a light snack, and to watch the water crash and pound the rocks as it traveled onward south.  The West Branch of the Priest River flows under the Falls Inn creating the amazing Torelle waterfall. 

This is the view that is available from inside the Falls Inn looking out over the frothy water rushing downstream.  We enjoyed the view as we sipped our cool drinks, and snacked on a big order of fries and chicken strips that we shared.  I knew I needed to cook dinner once I got home for our children, so we chose to just share a light snack together.

The Falls Inn is well known in these parts for their "humongous" sandwiches which are piled high with meat, cheese and all the toppings. We didn't splurge on a sandwich today, as dinnertime was fast approaching, and I had two hungry teenagers waiting at home for dinner.  But... if you are ever in the area, and would like an amazing sandwich, the Falls Inn lays claim to the best sandwich in this neck o' the woods!

So.. this was the ending to our adventurous day together... one we enjoyed to the fullest, and hopefully next time we venture out on such a mission... we'll be just slightly more prepared for the unexpected than we were today...

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