After our visit to Idaho Falls we headed west on US 20 for a 150 mile journey to Ketchum. For long stretches the highway is straight and flat. A strong cross wind made for a “hold on tight” drive.
After passing through the little town of Arco the road skirts the northern edge of Craters of the Moon National Monument. The monument encompass three major lava fields and covers 53,571 acres. We didn’t stop, as we have visited this monument in the past.
Once in Ketchum we set up the motorhome in The Meadows RV Park. It’s not the nicest park we’ve been in but it will have to do, as it is the only full hook-up park in the area. There are numerous forest service campgrounds around and we saw some nice boondocking spots outside of town if you don’t need hook-ups.
Once settled, we drove four miles north into Ketchum to look around. Ketchum (pop. 2,680) is the main town in the area, but on Google maps the adjacent community of Sun Valley gets the designation. Sun Valley (pop. 1,400) is a residential resort area built in the late 1930s as the first ski destination location in the U.S. We arrived in Ketchum and set out to check out the visitor center and the local chain coffee shop headquartered in Seattle. What do you know? They both share the same facility. And they are located on Ketchum Town Square, with outdoor seating with views of the ski area on nearby Bald Mountain.
Once we finished reading brochures of the area, we drove northeast a short distance (maybe a mile) to check out what we thought was the town of Sun Valley. Turns out there is no “town,” just a large lodge surrounded by expensive houses and condos. We continued up the road as it entered a narrow valley and became a dirt forest service road. Although a sign warned the road was not maintained, somebody is maintaining it as it is in great shape as it climbs steeply up out of the valley.
After a few miles of “up” the road flattened out as it entered an alpine forest. We turned around at that point and enjoyed the views as we descended.
The weather the next day was sunny but chilly, with temperatures in the mid 50s. We headed north on ID 75 out of Ketchum into the Sawtooth Mountains. The road goes over the Galena Pass (8,700′) as it heads for the little town of Stanley. We stopped in the Galena Lodge intending on taking a short hike. But the temperature had dropped down to 44 degrees, the wind was blowing, and a light snow was in the air, so we decided to just stay in the warm Jeep and take the scenic ride all the way to Stanley.
As we crossed the Galena Pass we had great views of the valley below, as well as a number of snow squalls in the distance.
After stopping in the tiny community of Stanley (pop. 600) for fuel, we began the return trip south. Just south of Stanley we took a side road to check out Redfish Lake. The road into the lake area had great views of the Sawtooth Mountains.
While driving back out of the lake area to the highway we ran into a significant snow squall. OK, it is the day before the first day of summer so you should expect a little snow, right?
On the trip north we passed through an area called Smiley Creek. It has a grass airstrip and there was a line of small planes parked along side the strip. So on the return trip we pulled in to take a look.
The group of planes turned out to be part of the Smiley Creek 12th Annual Fly-in. It must have been pretty cold for those sleeping in the tents set up next to the planes!
We continued the return trip and began to go up and over the Galena Pass. We stopped at an observation area where we had taken some nice photos on the trip north, but the views were not so good on the trip south.
The snow continued (although not sticking on the road) and the temperature dropped.
The forecast for tomorrow looks like a bit of rain, so we may not be going very far from town. But who knows what lies ahead.