Throughout the months of May and June, Al and I took full advantage of our days off from our work camping gig to explore parts of Idaho via a series of day trips. The Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho are a sight to behold with their jagged and impressive mountain peaks, and just like so many other beautiful places we visit, photographs don’t always do justice to the majestic beauty laid before our eyes.
We found Central Idaho to be a visual treat and an RVer’s delight with a ton of raw wilderness just ready to discover. Finding a place to dry camp in remote national forest does not seem to be a problem around here.
One of my favorite day trips was a loop drive that took us about ten hours to complete. We started at our home base in Arco, Idaho, and our first stop was the popular mountain town of Ketchum, also known as Sun Valley.
To get to Ketchum we had to drive through Hailey, Idaho, which I was particularly curious about. Now mind you, I’m not one to get all caught up or go gaga over Hollywood celebrities, but I do have a curiosity about the lives they lead behind the scenes.
Back in the 1990’s when Demi Moore and Bruce Willis started growing their family, they moved to Hailey to escape the Hollywood scene and helped rebuild this struggling little town. “Why Hailey”, I questioned? What made this little town so desirable to a couple who financially could afford to live anywhere. After driving around the town of Hailey …. up one street, down the other on more than one occasion, I don’t have an answer. Although cute, it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice if money were no object.
Maybe its more about Sun Valley.
Sun Valley is a popular winter destination with its challenging ski slopes and European Nordic feel. However, moderate weather, wonderful biking and hiking trails, and an eclectic variety of dining options, makes Sun Valley equally popular during the summer months.
Expensive second homes dot the landscape. The elegant mountain style architecture blends in beautifully with the terrain of rolling, grassy hills.
Wildflowers speckle the hillsides with color while gardens filled with flowers adorn well manicured yards. I loved the abundance of flowers seen in all directions.
Although I found the area to be charming, I somehow felt disappointed. After visiting so many mountain resort towns in Colorado, perhaps I was expecting an unrealistic wow factor. Various places resonate differently with each of us and just because I wasn’t feeling it, doesn’t diminish its allure or beauty.
The mountains around Sun Valley are unimposing, but from what I hear, are steep and challenging for skiing enthusiasts. Our time in Sun Valley was brief and we didn’t get a chance to hit the trails to really delve into the lay of the land as much as we would’ve liked.
While strolling the streets of Ketchum, we found folks to be particularly friendly and helpful. And unlike the mountain towns in Colorado, Sun Valley was not crowded. Let’s face it, it does take some considerable effort to get to this part of the country.
I must share …. we enjoyed a fabulous lunch at The Kneadery located in downtown Ketchum. I’m all about décor and atmosphere along with fresh wholesome ingredients and The Kneadery hit the spot perfectly; cute place, a tasty meal, at a reasonable price – highly recommend.With tummies full, it was time for us to meander north. As the road twisted and turned, it wasn’t long before we were greeted by those craggy, snow speckled Sawtooth Mountains. What a stunning mountain range! We passed numerous places to dry camp, and as much as we wanted to stop and check out the possibilities, I was on a mission to get to our next stop.
I could’ve sat at that beach for hours admiring the view. I may not have been feeling it in Sun Valley, but I sure as heck was feeling it at Redfish Lake. The beauty of our surroundings had Al and me feeling somewhat nostalgic as memories of our Caribbean trips were conjured up. Then there are the memories of us paddling our canoe in northern Minnesota or taking our kids out on our fishing boat in southern Utah. Yep, we’re lake people and a beautiful body of water always brings a smile to our faces.
Al and I grabbed a snack and a drink from the cooler and found a spot to sit. We initially sat in silence as we watched the kayakers and stand up paddle boarders paddle by. Sigh! Oh how I longed to be out on that water. Al and I reminisced about our boating days and although there are many aspects about those days that I miss, I somehow felt incredibly content and fortunate to be relaxing on the shore admiring that view.
We were quite smitten with Redfish Lake and the quaint town of Stanley. It is breathtakingly, mesmerizingly, beautiful here! It was tough to pull ourselves away, but return home we must ….. though not before checking out the campground for future reference. This area made our “return” list, which I’ll admit, seems to get longer the more we travel.
Thanks Donna and Char. I’m so glad we made it a priority to visit Redfish Lake. If there’s one place in Idaho I’d say is a ‘must see’, this would be it.
Now it was time to complete our loop drive with one more exploratory stop before reaching home.
Mackay, Idaho: from a former mining town to a small recreation town …. folks escape the big cities (big for Idaho, that is) to come to Mackay on the weekends to get away and relax. The water (my personal fav) and back country 4×4 roads are the draw for this rustic and remote area.
For now, we need to head back to camp, but we’ll visit Mackay in the next post!