Tuesday, June 6, 2017

ATrip to Stanley Idaho

Yesterday was a beautiful day. We decided to make the trip to Stanley to see what we would see.  One goes north on ID75 for about 60 miles.  Actually we knew it would be a beautiful drive, having read other bloggers’ accounts of the area.  If you’re here, you should go.

Our first stop was the Harriman Trail head.  This was one of the two trails that brought us to Ketchum, the other being the Wood River Trail.  Harriman is about 20 miles out of town.


There are masses of flowers on the route. In addition to fields of these white flowers, there are also swaths of yellow and purple flowers.


The BCRD trail map was showing the Harriman trail as being closed.  We wanted to know if that was true because we really wanted to ride it. It’s a wide trail, with no willy inducing side hill exposure.  There are 19 miles of the trail.  Yes, I do believe the trail is closed due to water on it.  Farther up the hill, there is also snow.


We saw this at the kiosk.  I love the part about dragging large trees down the hillside to act as a brake for cars and wagons.  Life was hard in the past.


We stopped at the Galena lodge, which is currently closed, and talked to this nice young man. He said that after a normal winter with normal snow, that Harriman is generally open the second week of June.  All of the trails in the Galena region are going to be opening late this year.  That area has about 45 miles of trails, only one of which is a black diamond trail.  But they are closed.


The Galena Summit is a stunner.  Look at those mountains.


Look down in the valley.  See the shiny strip of color running next to the road?  Those are the headwaters of the Salmon River, also known as the River of no Return.  The Salmon is the largest contributor to the Snake River.  It flows 425 miles through central Idaho, drains 14,000 square miles of land and drops more than 7,000 feet of elevation.  It was called the River of no Return by Lewis and Clark, who were unable to navigate it 1805.  Boats could not ascend the main canyon of the river until after 1950. 


This sign marks the spot.


On the drive there and back we saw many prong horns.  Also there were deer by the side of the road, an elk who ran across the road in front of us, and a few praire dogs who also ran across the road in front of us.  It’s a critter rich environment.


At Smiley Creek there is a grass strip airport.  There aren’t too many of these left.  With the decline in General Aviation, there is a corresponding decline in small airports.


There is no control tower here.  When a pilot comes in, he broadcasts his intentions on a given frequency and any planes in the area look out for each other.  We did not see any av gas available, either.  It’s well maintained, they were out mowing it when we were there.


Their picnic area has been over run by the water.


Across the street is a general store, a cafe and an RV park.  I would really like to know the back story on what happened to this RV.  We wonder if snow did this, or maybe a tree fell on it.


In the space of not too many miles, that shiny strip across the landscape has turned into this exuberant flow of water.


Stanley is a tiny place.  The internet says its population is 68.  The main source of income in the town appears to be white water rafting, ATV rentals and horseback rides.  They have a very limited season.  There is also agriculture.


We ate lunch on the side of the road in “downtown” Stanley and watched the water.  I have never seen so much water on the ground before.  It’s just mesmerizing.


Stanley also has an airport.  We tend to doubt that the air taxi service is still viable.  They do have av gas, jet fuel and a paved runway.


This is a master class in how to stack wood.  First note how the sections you see on end are almost identical in size.  Then note how the cross pieces are the same thickness.  It must be painful to have to pull wood off this stack and mess with its symmetry.


After Stanley we went out to Redfish Lake.  This was taken from a pedestrian bridge into a day use area.  Wet.


Redfish Lake is pretty big.  I don’t know this, but I assume it gets the name from the returning salmon who are bright red at that stage of their lives.


There’s a little resort there.  They have cabins, a restaurant, tee shirt shop and they rent outdoor experiences like bikes, horses, and rafting.


There is also a snack bar.  Hot dogs are $7.  It’s a pretty little resort.  We were surprised to see anyone in the water, it is really cold.  Idaho 21 is a direct link to Boise.  In the summer the Boisians are here en masse escaping the heat of Treasure Valley.  It’s supposed to be 98 tomorrow in Boise.


After the lake, there was a stop at the fish hatchery.  They aren’t running tours yet so we wandered around and looked at the information and then at the fish.  This was so weird.  We’d stand there at the corner of the pen, and randomly a bunch of fish would fling themselves out of the water.  They would do that for a few seconds and then stop.  A minute later, they’d be flinging again.  I guess they’re practicing for when they return to spawn.


Stanley is a perfect day trip from Ketchum.  It’s a gorgeous drive, and we enjoyed the stops along the way.


  1. Love the phrase "master class in how to stack wood". Very impressive. I can't believe how wet it is up there, but still beautiful.

  2. We have yet to make it to Stanley...definitely on the list!