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Clare
Clare

Day Twenty-two: Bellevue to Salmon via the Sawtooth Mountains

We tried to make the most of the hotel breakfast this morning, as we weren't sure when we were next going to find something to eat. We were driving north through quite a remote part of Idaho and there weren't a lot of towns on our route. I ate another microwaved omelette and Tim made us a waffle out of the waffle machine. That was about the extent to which it was possible to abuse this breakfast buffet :D 

We checked out of the hotel and drove north for about 1.5 hours, until we reached the outskirts of the village of Stanley. The scenery became increasingly mountainous as we drove and I was hopeful that we were going to have a more scenic walk than at the sand dunes yesterday! We turned off down a small road towards a place called Redfish Lake, then parked the car and began looking for the start of the trail we were planning to do.

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We found it without too much difficulty, initially walking alongside some fast-flowing water in a forest.

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When we emerged from the trees a view minutes later, we got our first mountain views. This part of Idaho is home to the Sawtooth range, which are part of the Rocky Mountains.

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The path led us through a meadow area.

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There were some really beautiful wildflowers here.

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We were walking on a route called Fishhook Creek Trail, which was described as being one of the easiest walks in the Sawtooth Mountains.

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It wasn't a circular walk, instead being about 2 miles out followed by 2 miles back along the same route, but it was supposed to be leading us towards a great view.

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As we made our way through the trees we got some glimpses of how spiky the Sawtooth Mountains are and how they got their name!

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It was a really pleasant walk and before too long we'd made it to the viewpoint at the end.

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There were some really lovely views of the mountains from here.

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As we walked a little further around the lake, we spotted a little chipmunk peeking out of a burrow.

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He was really cute :) 

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As we got closer to the water, the views were even better.

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There were quite a lot of fallen trees blocking the path at this point though, so I waited here while Tim circumvented them for a better shot.

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Definitely beautiful :)

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I was quite happy with my view from here though!

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As we turned around to retrace our steps along the path, we spotted yet another chipmunk.

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This one seemed very tame and used to being around people. He was looking at us in a very hopeful manner in case we had some food, which we didn't.

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When we didn't give him anything he followed us down the path and asked again :D 

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This wasn't the end of our wildlife viewing; as we walked further on, we also saw what looked like a red squirrel. I was quite surprised - I thought all squirrels in North America were grey.

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As we got closer back towards the car, the trail became busier and a couple of times we even had to stand aside to let groups of people on horseback go past. The views were still really pretty though :) 

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Once we got back to the car we drove a little bit further down the road to Redfish Lake.

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There were some really clear views of the mountains from here. I was amazed how much snow some of them still seemed to have.

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We were both starving by this point so after admiring the lake views, we got back in the car and drove towards the town of Stanley in the hope of finding something to eat.

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Stanley has a population of 116 people, so it's not exactly a metropolis.

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We struck lucky though and managed to find a restaurant that served excellent pizza, among other things.

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We weren't sure whether we'd get food again today, so we possibly over-ordered :D  I wanted a pizza, but couldn't help ordering an appetizer of macaroni cheese bites to go with it when I saw them on the menu! Tim had a chicken caesar salad, which was absolutely enormous (he'd already eaten quite a lot of it before we took the photo!), plus a philly cheesesteak. Everything was delicious and very reasonably priced.

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After the large lunch we had a little stroll around Stanley.

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It's in a beautiful location with some wonderful views of the mountains.

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A view miles down the road from the town is a place called Stanley Lake.

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The views of the mountains from here were even better than we'd seen earlier in the day :) 

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I was really surprised by how stunning this part of Idaho is, in particular for a place I'd never even heard of before!

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We still had around 115 miles to drive to get to our hotel for the night, so we couldn't spend too long at the lake. It turned out to be a really scenic drive though, with the road following the course of the Salmon river until we reached the town of Salmon itself. We're staying there tonight in a fairly standard hotel room.

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Tomorrow we'll be driving to our final state of Montana, in order to hand back the rental car and catch a flight from Bozeman airport to Chicago. Unfortunately it's not a direct flight - as with all our other flights recently, the journey we originally booked has been cancelled/amended several times, with the result that we now have to fly via Denver! So tomorrow could be a long day of travelling, but today has certainly been fantastic :) 

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