’Ole man winter began his arrival with moisture (rain, hail, sleet, snow; it all came down) and some drop in temperature and we “fell back” via daylight savings the weekend before the final tour of the Chamber series, “Getting to Know Idaho City” (Better).
The group, game to take on the change in weather and time, gathered at the Idaho City Trading Post and Miss Carolyn’s Quilts to peruse the goods these two retail sites have to offer. “Buy Local” is something that makes a difference in all communities and these shops have great options for your gift buying needs. Remember to check them out this upcoming holiday Season!
Our guides, Megan and Hank from the USDA-FS, Boise National Forest, Idaho City Ranger District arrived and we hopped in vehicles to meet them at the airport. Yes indeed, for those who are not aware, the USFS has a landing strip in Idaho City. Our guides, whose charge within the district is trail management, provided maps to this area surrounded by the Buena Vista Loop and the Charcoal Gulch trail. We were also given Wildlife Viewing Guides for the Scenic Byway, Highway 21. They introduced us to these tools as well as mention of motorized trail guides, all available at the front desk of the Ranger Station at milepost 38.5 on Highway 21 in Idaho City. (Mon-Fri business hours; weekends, check at the Idaho City visitors center or online)
On this crisp day our group set out to hike the loop.
This easy hike provides great exposure to nature as well as an opportunity to take advantage of exercise stations, although they are sadly in need of repair. These exercise stations were a personal project of a group of Smoke Jumpers that were stationed in the Idaho City district. This elite group is known for challenging themselves to be the fittest and this gave them the fitness opportunities they sought. These stations have the potential to be an asset to this community and visitors who use the trail but the forest service does not have a line item in their budget to take care of the “gift” left by this group. Eagle Scouts are a target for this project of rehabilitation, with a serious amount of fundraising these stations could be given new life.
About 1/4 of the way on the Buena Vista Loop, a path veers to the right and joins the Charcoal Gulch Trail. We did not partake of this trail but learned it comes out at Centerville Road adjacent to the Boise County Landfill. Both the Loop and the Gulch trails are intended for non motorized use. (Although on this day we not only saw the tracks but met ATV riders using the trail.) Winter conditions lend to the use of these trails for snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
Along the path we saw wildlife signage made and donated by a local resident and passed by the ponds area where remnants of summer lily pads and cat tails remained in the waters. We strolled along the creek as the sunset cast beautiful colors against the mountains in the distance. As we crossed the foot bridge on the trail, Rhonda Jameson (mastermind of this tour series) taught the group about playing Pooh Sticks. Participants in the game select a twig and simultaneously drop them from the down flow side of the bridge then turn to watch from the opposite side to discover the winner of this stick race. Cute and fun, we all cheered on the racers. As we rounded one of the final curves in the path, some of the longer time locals shared the stories of the “swimming hole” and creek side “beach area” that line the sides of the roadway where the tube runs under, reminiscing about fun summer days spent in the beauty that surrounds our lil’ mountain town.
We were back to our cars in the parking lot and ready for some warmth. We made our way to a chamber member’s place, Gold Mine Eatery and Spirits. We warmed ourselves with friendship, good food and libations. This tour series was very enlightening as to the beauty and history of our surroundings in this lil’ mountain town of Idaho City we presently call home. The chamber will run this tour series in 2018 so you should start your plans now to come visit our territory!
The rest of my week has entailed wrapping up the last minute to do’s that would put me at ease to take off for a couple weeks and risk winter arriving full bore in our absence. The hubby has business in Denver and in Reno and I will be given the gift of a few days with my son and his family for Thanksgiving as well as a trip to Eugene, Or. for a Perfect Circle concert, gotta get a little Maynard while they are still touring 😉
As I write this our road trip has begun. I stare out the window and wonder as I did since I was a child about all the places this train I see may be traveling and dream of going along. Some of these pathways will be ones I have shared about before but as is the case with this beautiful country of ours I will find new things to explore and share with you, stay tuned and #travelwithme!