Idaho: Flying in a two-seater plane from Boise to Stanley, the world of Famous Potatoes license plates quickly faded away. We entered a world of jagged and sharp looking mountain ridges. The pilot explained this was the Sawtooth Mountain Range.
In Stanley, after walking the downtown area all before 9am, I decided to rent a bicycle. I rode along lakes at the bottom of the mountains. The water was cold like a mountain stream, but we New Englander swimmers get a lot of practice in tolerating cold water. From the ground, the sawtooth ridge was still evident but now the mountains showed their mass.
Later in the week, I went rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River (over 100 rapids in 100 miles), and the Sawtooth Mountain Range continued its stunning presence. Minks scurried by the water’s edge; bighorn sheep stood on rocky hillsides. The water was so clear, you could watch all sorts of fish swimming around. I was in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. Walking along the river, I came across a big skull of a bull elk; the sun had bleached it white. Later, as the full moon’s reflection lit up the rock ledge across the river, I was thinking about how those Sawtooth Mountains must have seen so much life come and go.
“It is a great spiritual experience. I never knew a man who took a bedroll into an Idaho mountainside and slept there under a star-studded summer sky who felt self-important that next morning.” ––Frank Church