Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Starting South

Those are Buddha statues lined up on the left -
8 rows radiate from the statue with beautiful
flowers lining both sides of each row
I've fallen behind on posting again - this trip is so full! Between driving 4-7 hours and unpacking and repacking most days, seeing the sights, visiting with family and friends, and trying to blog and peek at email, I'm not getting enough sleep. Oh well - it is certainly worth it.

We had a lovely time visiting my aunt Mary in Arlee.  We were in Missoula all three days of our visit, which included a visit to Rockin' Rudy's - a unique store with everything from vinyl records to psychedelic posters to jewelry and toys, Bequat caramels (made in Bozeman) and a great collection of cards, including the funniest postcards (see www.duckboy.com). It is a great place for a rainy afternoon.  We continued to have cool weather with intermittent sprinkles, which was fine by us - I think I may have said we hadn't had any real rain in Tucson since December.

We visited the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, and then drove up to St. Ignatius where the view convinced Mary to take a job at a small hospital on the reservation some 30 years ago after finishing medical school.
The Mission mountains - the view that made Mary
move to Montana

The tops of hills looked like beard stubble
against the sky
On Friday we drove south on 93 into Idaho. We drove past the remains of a big fire - there were naked trees for miles. We paused on top of the Lost Trails Pass, just over 7000' and I found a snow bank, so I accomplished another goal for the trip! I held some snow for the first time in 2014 (it didn't snow in Tucson this winter).

Lost Trails Pass runs along the Continental Divide and as we descended, we followed the Salmon River. We stopped at hot springs where the Civilian Conservation Corp built a bathhouse. The road was not heavily traveled and it was lovely. But the best was yet to come!
The Salmon River in Idaho

When we first saw the Sawtooth Mountains, I was stunned by their beauty. This was another OMG! moment, as moving as being in Antelope Canyon. The rugged majesty of these rocky peaks with year-round snow (at least for this year) brought tears to my eyes.

Once again, just like the first time I saw the Tetons, I wondered why I had gone to the Himalayas in 1983 and roughed it for a couple of weeks when such amazing mountains are right here in the United States with beds and running water nearby. My photographs don't do the mountains justice, so I tried to embed a video, but couldn't get it to work. Between my lack of skills and the internet connection where I am tonight at Zion, my desires have been frustrated. (You may have noticed the weird spacing on my posts, a result operator inexperience.) Perhaps I'll figure it out and be able to post the video later in the blog.

I want to go back and spend a few nights in Stanley, Idaho so I can spend a few days looking at those mountains. But it was getting late, so we continued on to Ketchum, a very cute resort town, and up to the Sun Valley Inn, where we
spent two nights and visited my friend, Susie Root Green.

This doorway faces the 'village' of Sun Valley
a walking mall with charming shops
The Inn is one of those grand dames - an elegant resort hotel from the 1940s, in this case built to remind you of being in the Alps. Besides the ski hills, there are indoor and outdoor ice-skating rinks (we paused to watch the Zamboni refreshing the ice on the outdoor rink), a band shell, a golf course and a little village of shops and restaurants.

'Cotton' at the band shell
The grounds are beautiful and incredibly well-manicured. In fact, there was the pungent smell of fresh mulch as we arrived at the very beginning of the summer season.
The 'cotton' pollen from the cottonwood trees was everywhere, blowing into clumps and collecting into little 'snowballs' and making everyone sneeze. Another way you know it is the beginning of the summer season is there are many of new employees who are just learning their jobs, especially in the restaurants. Their nametags indicate where they are from, and many are from Europe or South America. It is great to see they are getting to experience a gorgeous part of our country.

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