ID – Chasing Spring, April Showers Bring May Flowers

Rain is not my favorite weather event. Many years ago I lived for a short time north of Seattle and quickly learned I’m a sunshine girl. 

Goodbye Windy Wyoming. Hello Idaho. Will you show me some beautiful mountains and help me find spring?








Tuesday, 04/18/17: I entered Idaho via Highway 89 at Bear Lake

The Oregon Trail Museum in Montpelier was disappointing. Not nearly the quality of the one I visited last year in Oregon. Looks like someone else feels the same way.

I spent the night at Montpelier Reservoir. The thawing ice sounded like popping popcorn. 

Wednesday, 04/19/17: My day started with a short detour into Wyoming. Why am I going north when I’m chasing spring? This is Salt River Pass at 7,630′.

Back in Idaho, I was Tetonia bound for a reunion with friends Jasmine and Jason. 

They have a sweet view of the Tetons from their house. I should have taken time to capture the sunset with my camera, instead I only have this quick snap with my phone. 

Thursday, 04/20/17: A day to play at Grand Targhee Resort. I snowshoed while my friends skied.

Friday, 04/21/17: It snowed a bit during the night. 

My cue to keep moving . . .

I drove Highway 33 to Highway 28, taking a detour to explore the Charcoal Kilns. Look ma no snow. I must be headed in the right direction. 

I found a nice spot to camp and hike along a forest service road. 

Saturday, 04/22/17: Must.Hike.Today! I don’t have intel so need to find a Visitor Center or Ranger Station. After too much driving, I arrived at the Lola Pass Visitor Center on Highway 12 and found hiking at the nearby Snowshoe Falls Trail.

Sunday, 04/23/17: Rained during night and most of morning, but stopped in time for an afternoon hike on the Selway River Trail.

Monday, 04/24/17: Rained during night but enjoyed a mostly dry hike on the Split Creek Trail.

Tuesday, 04/25/17: Rained hard all night. Still raining in the morning. I returned to the Fenn Ranger Station near Selway Falls. Met a couple of wilderness rangers who gave me lots of recommendations for later in the season. On the other hand, the ranger staffing the Kooskia Ranger Station should be fired. He had a bad attitude and was less than helpful!

Tips for obtaining most applicable hiking recommendations:

  1. Ask to talk to wilderness rangers as many staff manning the desk are not hikers
  2. Be specific in your request such as length of hike, type of terrain, preferences
  3. Share examples of what you’ve done so they can gauge your skills, abilities and interests

Tuesday, 04/25/17: Spent much of this rainy day in Kooskia at the library catching up on internet chores, researching options to escape this neverending forecast of rain, and successfully finding Permetherin at the local feed store. Tip: Save money and use the dilute and soak method described in this blog post by Section Hiker: Permethrin Soak Method Guide. (One caution, after soaking and drying garments I recommend running through one rinse cycle in washing machine especially if you intend to rinse in back country water sources. I was surprised at how much milky solution came off during the first rinse. We don’t want that in the water supply nor leaching into our skin when we sweat.)

I drove south on Highway 13 then east on Highway 14 to one of the free campgrounds along South Fork of Clearwater River. It rained non-stop pretty much all day. I have a list of potential hikes for tomorrow along the Highway 14 Corridor (Salmon River Ranger District). Fingers crossed for a break in the rain but as you can see forecast called for 100% showers.

Wednesday, 04/26/17: At 6:45am, although it was raining on my car, I saw a patch of blue sky and felt optimistic about the possibilities. But no, it rained most of day. I took a short hike on Cougar Creek Trail #413, drove to Elk City, and enjoyed some mega rolling broiling creeks and waterfalls. Wednesday, 04/26/17: Grateful for my cold weather gear, especially this balaclava I designed and made out of micro fleece, and my 10-degree ZPacks sleeping bag.
Thursday, 04/27/17: With sleet and snow during the night, I was motivated to keep moving south, with hopes of finding seemingly elusive spring. 

I drove Highway 14 to Mount Idaho Grade Road to Grangeville, then 95 to White Bird Hill Summit and on to Riggins where I hoped to gather information about the Snake River Trail from the Hells Canyon Visitor’s Center. It sure looks like I found GREEN spring!

Wouldn’t this replica lookout be a great playhouse? I believe it was at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest office in Grangeville

I was extremely disappointed in the information available at the Hells Canyon Visitor Center in Riggins. The staff member wasn’t helpful and the materials were sorely lacking. At least she was able to recommended USFS Road 241 (Race Creek Road) to Iron Phone Junction for views and dispersed camping.

Well this happened about 5000′ and far from the intended destination.

Got a little snow overnight. 

So very happy with my tiny house. 

Friday, 04/28/17: Race Creek Road had plentiful signs of spring.

Look who I found at Payette Lake in McCall. I’d hoped for a long walk along the shore but as you can see it was a tad cold. There was a biting wind blowing off the lake. 

I continued my travels southward, first on the 95 along the Salmon River, then the 55 along the Payette River. Just like elsewhere, they were broiling brown from the spring thaw. Maybe I’ll find spring in Boise?


Spring 2017 Road Trip: Days 51-61 (out of 78)



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