Both of us woke up this morning completely refreshed. We had our best night sleep night’s sleep yet. The Boise National Forest along the north arm of the Payette River is beautiful. It reminds me a lot of the Fraser Canyon in BC… only narrower.
We struck camp and headed north on the ID-55 looking for the turnoff to get to the ID-21. Passed through Cascade and McCall, had a great lunch in McCall, got to a junction for the ID-95. The 55 ended there but no 21. We had gone too far north. And we lost about 2 hours doing it. It turns out we should have turned off just north of Banks and had actually passed the turn-off the night before just prior to finding our campground.
We were a bit quicker on the way back to Banks but had still lost a lot of time. There was no way we would let it ruin the ride though. The Banks-Lowman Rd (ID-21) into Stanley, and then ID-75 to Easley Hot Springs were spectacular. Some of the best riding so far. There’s one area, between Stanley and Easley Hot Springs, where the highway slows to 45mph and climbs up the mountain to over 8,000 ft. It winds and twists its way up, across the summit, and then down again. It comes back onto itself in a few spots, with tight turns curling back towards where we had been, only a few hundred feet lower. It was breathtaking and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
Backing up a bit, we had dinner in Stanley at a place called Sawtooth Lucy’s. It’s a mountain-recreation town kind of outdoorsy-feeling restaurant with a touch of both hippy and mountain man. There I had the best burger of the trip so far. With a salad. I needed salad. I probably ate the whole thing much too fast but gosh darn it, it was amazing!
We are camped at Easley, which was supposed to be yesterday’s location, and will be ready for tomorrow. We’re a full day behind schedule and our reservation at McPhee Recreation Area in Colorado is all messed up. We’ll pack up and go at first light.