"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." ~Goethe~

20 June 2009

Off to... Warm Lake, Idaho!!!

The day started off bright and early, 5am, and can you believe I was the first one to get up and get everyone else moving for once.  That doesn't happen often.  I usually lay in bed trying to squeeze every little minute out of more sleep that I can.  But not today.  I was ready for a grand new adventure in an area never explored by this crew.

We were out of the house and heading up north by 6:30ish.  Not bad timing with the slow pokes that I was dealing with.  It was a perfect drive up north.  Not too many people, great weather and wonderful scenery.  I could tell everything was falling right in place for a most wonderful day.  The hills were beautiful with the sun coming up and peeking through them.  Some areas looked like they were beaming with gold from the sun coming up over the tops of the hills, warming things up ever so slowly for the morning.  

The fog and clouds were still hanging around from when they settled into the valleys over night.  I had Glenn pull over to the side of the road a few times just so we could take in the beauty of the morning light coming across everything and trying to burn its way through the fog and clouds.  Trust me when I say that there is no way you would try getting off this road and attempt to get back on it during any other time of the day, especially in the summer, on the weekend.  You must know that there are only main roads that lead to the far northern reaches of Idaho.  Hwy. 55 is one of them and eventually it merges with the other highway to become one.  That is how rugged our state is and how difficult it is to build roads in the mountain areas.

Back on the road again, trying to see everything we can.  I kept trying to point out things for Glenn to look at if we were in a good part of the road without risk of running off it and into the river below.  That wouldn't be good.  The girls couldn't believe high and fast the river was still running this time in June.  Normally it has slowed a bit, but not with all the snow we had this past winter and with the rain we have had lately.  All I could think about was how "whacked" some people are for trying to raft or kayak down that water.  You have to also know that Idaho has over 3500 miles of whitewater rivers and 6 of them are so treacherous that no one is allowed to go down them.  And the ones that are listed as class 5, one would need to get a permit to go down them.  Sorry not my cup of tea.  I will stay perched on the banks watching the other crazy, messed up people try to kill themselves.  :)

Anyhoo, back on the road, down a ways we happened to spot the most wonderful little cloud with a hole in it.  It stayed like that for the longest time, just spinning away like it didn't want to disappear.  Then the winds changed around the hills and off he went into a whole new shape to have us look at.  Just breath taking to see nature at work.

Yeah, it was going to be a good day!

Back in the truck again, down to another spot where we had to stop and take in the beauty.  This area really had the fog and clouds seated in it.  Every once in a while you can see a faint little white dot trying to peek through, but the clouds just were not going to have it.  The trees and hills had a cool damp look to them that was almost magical.  

There was an area where you could park on the side of the road and get down near the river.  Yeah, you guessed it.  I stayed up by the road and the 3 daredevils went down to check things out.  Crazy!

The river was deafening as it went over all the rocks that were in its way.

We finally came up to the valley and could see where the lowing lying clouds and fog were trying to break up from the sun's insistence of shining through.  You have to click on the picture to see the bright little spot (sun) near the top.  Very thick stuff.

We finally get to Cascade where we turn off the main highway to get to our destination.  The view is awesome.  Especially in the morning when everything is quiet and all the critters are waking up to explore for the day.  We saw the prettiest hawk ever and a cute little fox bounding across the fields looking for breakfast.  They were way to fast to snap pics of though.  But at least we were able to pull over to the side and watch them as they looked for snacks or something.

Our first stop was Horsethief Rersv.  So very pretty there.  Lots of camping and fishing in the area, but no real trails to go hiking on.  I'm sure we could have made our own trails to explore on but there were alot of marshy areas along the edge of the water.  So after a wee bit of taking in the sights, we were back in the truck going further down the road for Warm Lake.  

I have to tell you that we found our new favorite place to explore close to home.  So absolutely awesome!  Warm Lake will be on our list to go camping when the crowds settle down.  We could even go up during the winter because there are cabins to rent!  I was dancing!  :)  A quick stop at the lodge to get some info on trails and off we went.  First stop was Tule Lake.  The girls had a blast there.  Two summer ago this area had a massive wild fire that went through and burned just about everything.  There a few things that survived, but not much.  All the grasses and wild flowers are doing awesome now.  And a few little trees here and there are really trying to hard to make the area lush again.

Even though you could see alot of the area was burned, it still had its own beauty about it.  I kept thinking that if the trees were still thick and green, I wouldn't be able to see the wonderful hills that were behind them.  So sometimes nature has its way of bringing out the beauty in things when you think things have been destroyed.

                                 Tule Lake

Just think of how thick this area was with trees before the fire two summers ago.  The one thing we noticed about the trees was that most of them were still good for timber.  The fire just burnt the bark and peeled it off.  Never saw that before.  Kind of neat.

Further down the road was Stolle Meadows.  WOW!!!!  So pretty with all the wildflowers starting to pop up and show themselves.  We heard an elk bugling off in the distance.  Very cool.  Every once in a while you could hear the teams from the forest service in the area clearing some of the trees from the fire.  The girls were startled by the loud sound of the trees crashing to the ground.  It sounded like someone was setting off a stick of dynamite.  The quiet and stillness of the area made it sound way louder than it normally would.

You knew that some time during this trip there would be a stop to get up next to the river to take in the sounds and beauty around it.

And for some rock throwing too!  Brenna is behind the little stump of a tree trying to haul her rock out to where she can toss it.  She's going to hurt herself one day.  :)

A little ways down we came across Juniper Mtn. airstrip.  This was so neat to see I have to tell you.  We have heard so much about the back country air strips here in Idaho and to see this one is way cool.  It is said that if you can land your little plane here, you are good!  The strip is small and the winds whip up around here to make this a very tricky area to land.  We read somewhere that back country pilots are made to land here before they can get there license.  Too bad we didn't get to see anyone land that day.  That would have been COOL!

The girls were both hanging out the windows taking in the sights, looking like a couple of pups enjoying the breeze.  Don't get nervous.  I think we were going a whole 15 mph trying to see all we could and to make sure we didn't hit any of the little pot holes in the dirt road.  Brenna said she loved not having the seat belt on her.  She could see the sky and mountains better.  I'm so glad my kids love the outdoors like Glenn and I do.

Then finally we found Cougar Creek Trail.  Off we went, hoping we wouldn't run into any of the black bears that frequent the area.  We didn't.  Thank goodness.

Could you imagine having something this wonderful out your back door to listen to everyday.  I would be in a trance!  Believe me, it was heaven to listen too.  I'm going to have to record it one day for everyone to hear.

The wildflowers making a come back from the fires.  Gorgeous!

We stopped along the trail to show the girls how the bark was peeling away from when the fires came through, and Glenn noticed this little guy.  Yes, he thought he was intimidating us.  Little billy bad *** you know.  All it took was Brenna putting a stick near him and he was gone.  Quick little guy for his size.  My skin was crawling though.  Gross!

There was more exploring to be had down by a log jam.  A huge buck was to be seen as we got back on the trail again.  But too fast for the camera.

Then finally we reached Vulcan Hot Springs.  I am telling you now that these were VERY hot.  You could feel the heat coming from the pools while still on the trail.  We have been to Old Faithful and that was awesome.  But for some reason this was even more awesome.  I think because there is no commercialism with this.  Just pure natural beauty happening here.  There were little "pots" where the water came out of and all of it ran down the side of the hill that was solid rock.  Just look at all the algae and stuff growing on the rock from the hot springs.  Beautiful!  Keep in mind that up here in the mountains the temp was about 70 degrees.  And even with that there was all this steam coming up from the hot springs!  I had to keep turning my head away from where the steam was just to clear my glasses so I could see!

Here's one of the "pots" where the water comes out of the ground.  We saw eggs shells laying around in certain spots.  Someone had boiled eggs in the hot water.  Yes, that hot!

Some explorers checking out the algae that was growing all over the rocks.

Can you see how pure the water is coming out of these little pots?  Yes, there is water in there.  It's that clear!

Brenna said she is calling this "fur allergy" because it looks all furry and soft as the water flows over it.

Here's one of the little "pots" were you could actually hear the steam coming out of the ground.  Way cool.  

About this time, we were getting ready to get back on the trail because it was getting late (2ish) and we wanted to make sure we didn't get caught in a line of traffic on the highway home.  Brenna went to follow Em across the rock, stepped on a branch that somehow splashed her with the hot water and it went into her shoe.  Yes, she has a blister on her ankle that we are now tending to.  Pure little punkin'.  I just about cried for her as Glenn and I took turns holding her as we hiked back to the car.  Luckily it wasn't anything serious, but enough that I'm feeling awful about it.  On the way out of the mountains we saw a deer that made Brenna happy.  It was right near the road so she got a good look at her.

Even with the little mishap we all had an absolutely awesome day!  And everyone wants to go back up again so we can see the salmon run in the late summer.  Man is that going to be awesome!  We were able to see some baby salmon along the slow areas of the river.  The only bad thing was that no moose was sighted.  But we did get to see a hawk, a fox, a mountain bird (state bird), a snake, a buck and a deer.  We were quite excited about the mountain blue bird because we had never seen one personally before.  You really have to see it to believe how extremely blue they are.  Just perfect.

Once home, everyone was pooped and it took everything we had to unpack, eat a bit, get cleaned up and hit the bed.  Everyone was in bed by 8:30.  No kidding.  But even with all the tiredness going around we had the most wonderful birthday with Glenn.  It was the most wonderful way to celebrate his birthday, doing something he absolutely loves to do.  Is there anything better?  NOPE!  Except for the blueberry cheesecake we made him the day before.  Couldn't let him go without that just because we were hiking on his birthday.  

Well, back to some more sewing and then some crochet time later.  Sorry for the goof up earlier and posting this before I was actually finished.  Brenna came in to give me a hug and kissy and hit something which posted this prematurely.  Anyhoo,  hope you have found something to smile about today.  Just thinking about our trip the other day is doing it for me.  Have a grand weekend all!



  1. Oh Kar, you have made me SO homesick. Whenever dad could get away from the farm that was his favorite area to visit -- especially Warm Lake. What wonderful memories to wash over me the day before Father's Day. It's my first without him and I'm not sure what I'll do with myself. Just rejoice in having had an awesome dad, I think.

  2. Kar, I love all the pictures of this post, but that one with the little house is my favorite.
    It sounds like you had a wonderful day.
    Happy Sunday!

  3. What a wonderful adventure! It's so great that you get to explore the wonders of nature in your own backyard. So many of us take it all for granted and we miss out on some of the most important things on God's great earth. I love that you take the time to breathe it all in. Thank you for sharing your day!


  4. Oh wow Kar, you live in such beautiful country. I feel like I have been on the trip with you. Beautiful pictures!

  5. Oh Kar!! What a wonderful adventure you had gal!! These photos are absolutely stunning!!

    I had such fun viewing them and listening to your story!! What a blessing to live amongst such beauty!! God's creation really does show His glory, doesn't it?

    Thanks SO much for taking the time to share this with us!! You're such a great bloggy buddy!!

    Hope you have a great week!!

  6. Hello Kar
    Thnak you for your lovely comments and for visiting my blog. What a beautiful place, stunning pictures. I enjoyed looking at your previous posts, especially the crochet ones, great choices of colours.
    Take care
    Isabelle x