Here we are on Day 10 of our trip, sleeping in Hailey Idaho. As far as Idaho goes, Hailey is where you stay if you can’t afford to stay in Ketchum. Ketchum is where you stay if you can’t afford to stay in Sun Valley. Sun Valley is where you ski. What the heck everyone is doing out here in the middle of the summer we have no idea. But it sure seems crowded.
What are we doing here? Well it all started with our detour from McDermitt NV on Day 6 of our trip. This blog post tells of the adventures getting us here to Hailey. Notably mineral rich McDermitt, history rich Idaho City and the hot springs of the Boise Basin.
Day 6 – McDermitt, NV:
After 5 days of adventuring we landed in McDermitt NV. McDermitt NV is a rockhounding haven. If you don’t know what rockhounding is, check out my last post. All the books say that McDermitt is just swimming in exciting rocks: opalized wood, thundereggs, agate … . The other awesome thing about McDermitt is that it is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and so you can set up your tent and camp anywhere for free. And so on day 6 we headed to McDermitt with much enthusiasm.
We ate lunch at a half diner/half casino where the ladies room sold condoms where I expected to see tampons. Then we headed out the dirt rockhounding road with much enthusiasm. McDermitt was actually a little hot out in rockhounding land. 100 degrees the car said. Lucy refused to get out and look for rocks. Caleb, Leo and I made an honest try and found a spot we’d love to spend more time at, weather being a little nicer and Lucy being a little less grumpy. Opalized wood I think I found. I swear you can see the shimmer! But by 1PM, 100 degree weather, and McDermitt looking like the place in the image below, it didn’t seem like the place to camp, nor the place to wait around until evening, so we headed out.
Caleb and Leo looking through rocks other people have discarded:
Down the dusty dirt road we went and poof! A flat tire.
Caleb changed the tire and we decided to head on to find a place to replace the broken tire. But alas, there are no tire shops in a spot that looks like this:
Lucy was not willing to get out and look for rocks in McDermitt but she did do some exploring in the gas station. Here she is with the Monarch butterfly she found.
So on to Rome, OR, the next campsite. 104 degrees in Rome. Time to keep on driving. Finally a spot in Jordan Falls, OR to spend the night in a B&B. Almost to Boise which is a spot we could change our tire. But the next day was Sunday and no tire stores were open. Boise weather forcasted to be 104. What to do?
Well Caleb knew what to do.
And what do you do after you’ve spent the day in the waterpark all day long in 104 degree weather? Play in your motel pool all night long.
So finally by Monday morning we were back on track but decided to reroute through the Boise National Forest. And good thing. This was now Day 8.
Day 8 – Idaho City, Pine Flats Campground.
We decided to do some touring in a ghost town of the Wild West called Idaho City. We learned a bunch of history at the Boise Basin museum. We learned so much history that in preyed on Caleb’s subliminal insecurities. In his dream that night someone said to him: “Why is it that home school kids know so much math and science but don’t know history?”
Now while it is true that our kids know a lot of math, Leo, at least, seemed to be having a little trouble bringing himself back and imagining life in the 1860s. When the museum host showed us some old fashioned desks and asked Leo what he thought the holes were for, he said: “wires”.
Well that would make a lot of sense in 2015, but in 1865 … those holes were used for ink!
Here are some of the other things we learned. In this town in 1865 it really was wild. Of the first 200 people to be buried in the cemetery, 25 died of natural causes, the other 175, violence. The town had 38 grocery stores and 41 saloons. To commemorate all this drinking and shooting the Boise Basin museum had a display of all the kinds of whiskey bottles they had in town. It took up a wall. Both the jail and the penitentiary were two of the buildings left standing. It also had a painting of Herman St. Clair, the Mona Lisa of Idaho City. Herman St. Clair shot his long time mining partner in the back. Then they threw him in jail. And then then about 200 people, mostly families, set up a picnic to watch him get hanged. Why? What else where they gonna do for entertainment except drink, shoot each other, and watch people get hanged? And at some point someone painted this picture. Anywhere you stand in the room he appears to be looking at and also, shooting at, you.
“Just like the Mona Lisa!” my kids said. So I guess they do know something about history, at least art history.
Along with all the history, we also learned a knock knock joke from Karen, the host of the museum. We still have not connected the dots and figured out what this has to do with Idaho history.
Duane the tub, I’m dwowning.
And then we were off. Off to sleep in the Pine flats campground. Possibly the most lovely campground in the world. But who is to pick a favorite? Every campground is my favorite until I get to the next.
Nights 8 & 9, Pine Flats Campground
The picture doesn’t really tell the story of this place. You can tell that there are trees and a picnic table and all that jazz. But you can’t see the scenic drive through the mountains to get here. You can’t see our 6 year old friend, William, and his grandparents, who joined us by the fire and brought s’mores ingredients. And you also can’t see the 1/4 mile hike over a 100 foot cliff that lands you in a natural hot springs tub.
As we got to the top of the cliff we knew we were in the right spot because we saw other people basking in the water. So while the cliff seemed a bit treacherous to climb down we figured we better do it. 15 minutes later when we were sitting in our hot tub overlooking the lovely river it was worth it. But at that point the family that was already there explained to us that it was not necessary to climb over a 100 foot cliff with your 6 year old and 8 year old children. In fact, a 20 foot wade through the river would get you there as well. At least we knew how we were going to head back.
We did not bring our camera to the hot spring, but picture the scenery. First, a river, the kind you white water raft on. You cant see around the bend because there is a big cliff there. But next to the cliff just a short sandy walk up is a natural pool, with a hot shower falling off the cliffs into it. This was the Pine Flats Campground. $15 a night. We stayed two nights and would have spent more time out by the Payette river and it’s many natural hot tubs but there was a severe thunderstorm warning, so we have retreated to civilization to write this blog post. And the Hotel in Hailey is where we are.
Caleb and the kids at a “Scenic Overlook” on the way to Hailey:
Lucy wants to go on a real adventure where she has a map and finds a treasure. I’m not sure Caleb and I can provide that but tomorrow we are back to camping and off to see Craters of the Moon which seems exciting to us!
This post was so long that it needs an appendix:
Cool things I have not written about are: Oragami by the campfire, my 40th birthday rich in obsidian, and The Sheldon Wildlife preserve.
Here has been the itinerary thus far:
Day 1: Campground kinda near Tahoe. Lovey swimming in Yuba River
Day 2: Quartz in Peterson MTN CA, Sleep at Long Point campground, Anderson Lake, comes with a bear
Day 3: Petrified Wood in Susanville CA, Upper Rush Creek campground
Day 4: Obsidian in Davis Creek CA, Lakeview OR Hotel
Day 5: Sheldon Wildlife Preserve Opal, Virgin Valley Campground
Day 6: Agate McDermitt, Sleep Jordan Valley, OR
Day 7: Roaring Rapids water park! Boise ID
Day 8: Idaho City touring, Pine Flats campground, Boise National Forest
Day 9: River rafting, Pine Flats campground, Boise National Forest
Day 10: Hailey ID