After my most enjoyable Sawtooths backpacking trip, I needed a shower. Well, at least that's what My Lovely Bride told me, but Rudy and Gretchen didn't complain one bit about my smell. After using a couple of hundred gallons of water and two bars of soap, I got cleaned up and dressed for our date... we were celebrating Suzanne's birthday a few days early, and we dined at The Ram, one of the best restaurants in Sun Valley (and also the oldest, operating since 1937). The food was amazing! Suzanne had the tuna stack appetizer and Alaskan halibut; I had the artichoke tart and Idaho ruby trout. As you can see, she got all dolled up for our special dinner!
Here are some photos and comments from two hikes we made in the Pioneer Mountains near Hailey, Idaho... this aspen (Populus tremuloides) along Hyndman Creek has been felled by a North American beaver (Castor canadensis), for food and dam-building. Since my years as a Boy Scout, I have admired beavers, both for their industriousness and engineering skills. They work only at night, and can rebuild a damaged/destroyed dam overnight. Ponds created by their dams help isolate their lodges, which they cover with mud so that the mud freezes as hard as stone in winter, keeping the beavers safe from attack by wolves and wolverines. Lodges typically will hold a max of four adults and six to eight youngsters.
The creek itself was running strongly, but upstream we found a small bridge that allowed us to keep our boots dry.
Suzanne made one of these hikes with me; the other was solo. It's certainly nicer hiking together, but her work schedule was quite busy, so what's a guy to do but go for a hike?
My turning point on the solo hike was this ledge with a pleasantly noisy cascade to lull me to sleep, had I had been so inclined.
Wildflowers were both beautiful and abundant, mostly in meadows along the trail, but also scattered on the mountainsides; here are just a few...
This plaque reflects Hemingway's love of the outdoors, and I would be hard pressed to improve on it were I looking for words for a similar purpose...
While on the subject of maintenance, I must commend the guy in a nearby RV who convinced his wife/girlfriend to climb onto the roof and scrub down the topsides... "Suzanne, look at this wonderful woman on the roof of that RV! She must be very special!" SMACK!!!
From Idaho, we traveled to Montana to visit our friends Dick and Alis Arrowood. Wine aficionados may recognize Dick as the long-time winemaker at Chateau St Jean who put that vineyard on the map, so to speak. He then started Arrowood Vineyards, ran it for years, and sold it. Now he and Alis own Amapola Creek Vineyard (see my blog post from July 8th 2019). We drove to the Arrowood's ranch and had a fabulous 3 day visit. Dick is a top-level competitive sporting clays shooter, and tried to teach me to shoot sporting clays, like trap and skeet but for serious upland bird shotgunners.
Alis is by far the prettiest clay puller I've ever met! Alis is holding a transmitter that "pulls" the clay thrower and fires the target clay into the air at speeds and angles mimicking quail, pheasant, partridge and grouse, but PETA would be happy that only clay targets are fired upon.
(And then if I'm shooting, the bird population is pretty safe...)
Speaking of keeping warm, while the rest of the country suffered through heat waves, we headed into a much cooler climate - here we are in Sparwood, British Columbia, on the west slope of the Canadian Rockies. Our campsite was on the edge of the woods where bears forage for berries this time of year. My Lovely Bride is snugged up with down jacket, tights, hot tea and a warm blanket, and of course a nice toasty campfire built in Boy Scout tradition by Your Faithful Correspondent! (Yes, Brad, when we went to bed, I made sure the fire was DEAD OUT!)
In closing, I would like all my male readers to see me standing by my new truck, the Titan 33-19. This was on display in Sparwood, and I am negotiating to get it delivered to our new house in South Carolina. Our builders are still trying to figure out how to adjust the garage door to fit it in..... okay, it is really huge, with a 350 ton capacity. Built for Kaiser Steel, it operated at the Eagle Mountain Mine in Southern California until being moved to Sparwood for coal mining in 1978. The bed of this truck will hold two buses and two pickup trucks!