The area

The Salmon River starts a the south end of the Stanley Basin (that’s what the valley is called) and flows north picking up water along the way.  Eventually it turns west and runs into the Snake.  We tried to drive to the headwaters but snow stopped us a little short. Here it is as far as we got.


It quickly flows into a one of those beautiful meadows one sees around here.Image


Thirty-five miles north it looks like this-about fifty yards wide.Image


The Middle Fork of the Salmon also starts in the basin. It runs through the wilderness area and is one of the best rafting rivers in the country..I floated it for six days in my youth.

About ten miles south of Stanley ( term used to mean  both upper and lower Stanley) is the site of the old Clark-Miller Guest Ranch.  Our family went there every year when I was growing up.  About eight old cabins situated on a creek about a hundred yards from the edge of the primitive area (ie,the Sawtooths- no motors allowed-ride a horse or walk in).  Built in the 1920s, they had wood burning stoves, hand-crank water pumps, and outhouses (with Sears catalogs in them).  We took pack trips back into primitive area each year.  It was run by Isabel Miller, a family friend and my fifth grade teacher.  When she died, so did the guest ranch.  It is now a family compound. It is still the closest thing to a sacred place for my family. This picture was taken from the highway so it unfortunately does not show much.Image

Going north from there towards Stanley, one comes to Redfish Lake an the Redfish Lake Lodge.The lodge also goes back to the 1920s but there are new cabins and campgrounds.  The food is good and the view across the lake to the Sawtooths spectacular. An evening cocktail cruise on a pontoon boat defines the good life.





Near the lodge is the corral of the Mystic Saddle Ranch which provides day rides and pack trips into the Sawtooths.  Family, friends and I have taken five or six Sawtooth pack trips with them since about 1989.  If you ever want a real wilderness experience, do that.  I cannot express how wonderful it is back in the Sawtooths with a first class outfitter.  Here is one of there employees, Becca (yes Becca), at the corral having a love fest with Gus.Image

Mystic Saddle Ranch is owned and operated by Jeff and Deb Bitton, really great people who seem to know everyone around.  Also, Jeff knows most everything about the area, its animals and plants. He is the consummate outdoorsman. We have become friends over the years.  In the winter, they go down to Phoenix and run trail rides out of two county parks (they are no fools-the winters in Stanley are hellacious).  So we see them when we go down for spring training.  Here they are with their daughter Katy.


There are numerous lakes in the area in addition to Redfish.  One is Petit Lake which is just south of Clark-Miller.  It is noteworthy since it is the only lake with cabins on it.  As a result, those cabins are very expensive-one is owned by Bruce Willis.  Gus like the lake-which means dog prints in the car.Image


Finally, in addition to all the other scenic wonders in the area, there is also an abundance of wildflowers.  Mid-June is spring time here and the wild flowers are just getting started.





God’s Country


Arrived in the Sawtooth National Recreational Area two days ago.  This picture is a good beginning. It looks over Lower Stanley, with Upper Stanley(two small towns a mile apart) and the Sawtooth Mountains in the background and the Main Salmon River and typical pastureland along the side.  Blow it up and behold.

We stayed in a campground right on the river the first two nights. Note the river to the left of the rig.


We have seen dozens of Pronghorn Antelope and several deer.  



The most amazing thing I saw was an Osprey diving about 30 ft straight down into the river and immediately coming up with a fish.  No time for pictures. I did get several of the Western Tanagers who were all over the campground.  Think this male can attract a mate?  They migrate from Mexico to Canada.





Getting going


This blog is about my RV trip with my friend Joaquin and two dogs-my golden retriever Gus and my son’s puggle Henri-up through the Sawtooth National Recreation area to Glacier National Park and back through Yellowstone National Park.

First, let me introduce the rig.   It is a 36 ft Class A motor home made by Gulf Stream.  It has a  V-12 Ford gas engine which gets 8 miles to the gallon (uphill, downhill, towing or not towing).  I tows my Jeep which is perfect for running around after you stop.

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It is a veritable  home in itself.  Here-looking forward, looking back, and the bedroom.

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We left on June 15 and spent the first night parked on the street behind the Pershing County Courthouse.  No one objected, actually there was hardly anyone around except for some neighbor kids.  They ran the dogs ragged which was good since they had been cooped up in the rig all day.



The second night was in Jackpot, Nevada, one of those towns that exist only because the Idaho-Nevada border is there.  In other words, it is nothing but casinos.  It was raining hard so we did not do much there but watch tv and have dinner at Cactus Pete’s.  Lousy food. I guess the great chefs of New York and San Francisco do not move to , Jackpot, Nevada.

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travels with gus and henri