Thursday, July 21, 2016

Logger Days

We were very excited to discover that our stay at pretty Lake Como Campground coincided with the 15th Annual Darby Logger Days.  We had previously attended the Loggers Jubilee in Morton, Oregon, and absolutely loved it.  Although this one seemed to be more of a local competition, it didn't matter.  In fact it might have been more entertaining since the events moved along pretty quickly with less participants.  And the feats they performed were just as amazing.

The events on Friday night were more family oriented and included some very young competitors.  Here one little girl is getting some instruction on how to attach a choker.

And here a little boy shows how it's done.

Actually, the kids were supposed to tighten the choker before running back.   One adorable little boy took it a step further and tried to drag the log back with him.  So cute.

They had Boxing over Water.  One hand was supposed to stay behind their back, which these boys found impossible to do.

The girls did better.

I had never seen the Limber Pole event before.

But my favorite opening night event was the Ma and Pa Race. This video is a bit longer, but it's hysterical!

On Saturday, the events were more traditional, but just as exciting.  There was a lot of chopping and sawing . . . Men and women both.

And the traditional Pole Climb.  I got a kick out of this participant calmly awaiting his turn.

Then suddenly, he's zooming up a 43-foot pole!

I think Ron's favorite event is the Springboard Chop, where the logger must insert boards, stand on them while he works his way up a tree, then chop a log at the top.  I don't see how those boards don't come out.  Here's the middle third of the process.

Unfortunately, we missed my favorite event - the Obstacle Pole.  Just imagine - One log rests on another causing the end to be 5 feet off the ground.  The contestant, runs up the log carrying his chain saw, then starts it and saws a disc off the end of the pole.  He then stops the saw and races back down the pole.

In addition to the stock chain saws, they had a Hot Saw event.  These are souped up chain saws, some using snowmobile engines.  The only two requirements are they have to be single cylinder engines and you have to be able to lift it.  This guy had to stop and rest after carrying it halfway across the competition area.

Here's a Hot Saw in action - this one not as heavy.

Just for fun, they had this super hot saw that was made with a 357 Chevy engine.

They stuck it in a front end loader and let 'er rip.

There were several events I had not seen before, like the Accuracy Fall where the participants try to hit a target (see the soda can?) with a falling tree.

And the Choker Race where the loggers run across a log over water with a 20-foot choker, set it and return.

And I bet nobody has ever heard of the Giant Hula Hoop/Log Rolling event.  This clever girl decided to entertain the audience during one of the event setups.

They had plenty of games and entertainments for the young crowd too.  I liked this budding bull rider with his perfect form.

On the morning of our departure, Ron walked out on the dam and took this lovely picture of Lake Como.  It was a great stop.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bitterroot Valley

We've been wanting to spend some time in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana for some time now.  We had gone through quickly many years ago and knew we wanted to return.  Our first couple of days were pretty wet, but I guess we can't always avoid the rain. We did take a ride up to pretty Painted Rocks Lake.

There are mountain sheep and goats in the area, but we didn't see any.

After the rainy days, we moved to Lake Como and stayed in a National Forest Campground with electric.  I think that's the only one I've ever seen, and the price was a bargain at $8 with the Golden Age pass.  There is a trail that goes all the way around the lake, but the 8 miles was too much for us.  So we decided to just take the trail along the north side.  It was a nice level trail, with the first part paved!

Plenty of nice views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

After about 2 1/2 miles, we turned around near the end of the lake.

After reading about the 1.4 mile hike to Blodgett Canyon Overlook, we decided to try that the next day.  It was written up as 'an easy stroll to a breathtaking overlook.'  Instead it was a 500 foot climb, mostly in the first 1/2 mile.  Certainly doable, but not a stroll.  One of the hikers we spoke to said she thought people from Montana called everything an easy stroll.

During the many switchbacks, we caught some mountain views.

And looked out over the valley below.

But the description was spot on about the breathtaking view at the end.  It reminded me of Yosemite Valley.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Yankee Fork

We moved to a spot along the Yankee Fork where Ron could both fish and gold pan.  Just a few miles up the road was an amazing part of local history - the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge.
From 1940 to 1952, the dredge worked the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River recovering $1,200,000 worth of gold.  This seems to be not the best return on investment as the dredge cost $428,000 to build.  The tour was fascinating with lots of signs and knowledgeable volunteers to answer any questions.  Here is a sign explaining the process.

For those inquiring minds out there, I'll add a few more signs.

The whole dredge was anchored by and pivoted on this 55-foot long, 17 1/2 ton 'spud.'

One volunteer, who used to work on a dredge in Alaska, told us this is one of only two dredges in the lower 48 states.  Ron and I have also toured the one in Oregon, but it's not as complete.

The tailings did leave a shocking mess as shown in this aerial view.  I wonder what they did for a road before they built it on top of the tailings.

No matter what you think of the effects on the environment and scenery, the dredge is a fascinating piece of Americana.  I'm very grateful to the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge Association, who, in 1979, and with the help of donations and the Forest Service, prepared the dredge for tours.

Within a couple miles are the ghost towns of Bonanza and Custer.  I'm not much for ghost towns, but Custer is nicely preserved.  This was the blacksmith building in Custer.
But what I really liked was the object in the foreground.  It was identified as a buzz saw powered by a 1929 Chevrolet engine.

From there, we continued to follow the Salmon River to Bayhorse Creek BLM campground which was the first time we paid for almost a month.  It was tough, but we shelled out the $5 a night.  While there, we followed the host's recommendation to drive up a 9-mile dirt road to pretty Bayhorse Lake.  

It was really a shame Ron didn't think to bring his fishing equipment.  There were a few fishermen there just catching trout one after another.  The lake is stocked and we could see fish jumping as we walked around.

We made a couple more stops on our way north out of Idaho.  The first was at a fishing access along the North Fork of the Salmon River where a scope was set up to look for sheep on the surrounding cliffs.  Pretty cool, but we didn't see any.

Ron decided to try a little rod and reel fishing.  Still nothing big enough to keep.

The sunset was startling.  It really was this red.

And we made one more stop way up the North Fork just before the pass.  Interesting fact - we were in Idaho for 35 days and moved 16 times, at an average of 34 1/2 miles each time.

Meanwhile, little 4-year-old grandson Harper fished for the first time and hit the jackpot!

Now he wants to go fishing with Grandpa.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sawtooth NRA (part 4)

Another day we drove around Redfish Lake, looking for that iconic lake/mountain picture. 

As I was taking this picture from the visitors center, I thought it looked familiar.

Sure enough, I had taken the same picture 10 years earlier.  I dug this one out of my Flickr account which I had before I started the blog.
 Sawtooth mountains

We also took the Fishhook Creek Trail.

Where we spotted this whale skeleton.  What a surprise!   LOL

I always love nature’s rock gardens, although they never look as good in a picture.

These are Mariposa Lilies in Idaho, very similar to the Sago Lilies from Arizona.

We also stopped at Little Redfish Lake, which is just as pretty as its big brother.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sawtooth NRA (part 3)

We spent 10 days enjoying Sawtooth NRA, most of that time without internet or phone.  How did RVers manage before those things were available?   Actually, in my parents’ case, we just didn’t hear from them for months.  Funny how we just accepted that.

We moved several times, but our favorite spot was about 12 miles south of Stanley off 4th of July Creek Road.  Coincidentally, that was where we spent the holiday weekend.  Stanley is a tiny town with about 100 residents and has a tiny and expensive grocery store.  I asked the clerk how they survived and she told me about  Of course, I asked if they just parachute your order to you and she laughed. 

Does the view make up for the inconvenience of living there?  I think I’d rather just visit.

The restaurant maĆ®tre d’ wasn’t the most welcoming. 

Besides having almost unlimited dispersed camping, Sawtooth NRA also has the prettiest RV dump stations.  First is the one outside of Ketchum just at the south end where we entered the recreation area.

Several days later, we stopped at the one right in the middle of the valley. 

And finally, the one just south of Stanley.

(Some people post pictures of food, I post pictures of dump stations.)

It was pretty warm while we were there, so imagine our surprise when we were pelted with pea-sized hail.  Of course it sounded more like golf balls on the roof.

One day we decided to hike to Hell Roaring Lake.  According to the hiking guide, there are two choices – one is to hike five miles from Decker Flat Road and the other is to drive five miles up a dirt road (high clearance vehicles only) and hike two.  Since 10 miles round trip was out of the question and we did have a high clearance vehicle, we decided on the 4 miles round trip.

Here’s the aptly named Hell Roaring Creek as we crossed it on Decker Flat Road.

We continued on and up the dirt road which kept getting worse.  Although we could have done it, we decided we’d rather walk.  All that bouncing around was just annoying.

We had some nice views of the valley below.

A couple times we could see the creek through the trees, still roaring.

Although once we reached the level section, it was very peaceful. 

By the time we reached the end of the road and the beginning of the 2 mile trail, we had already gone two miles, so we turned around and never saw the lake.  Oh, well, it was a nice day for a walk.

Just before arriving back at the car, we caught sight of a piece of the Sawtooth Mountains.