Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
This past July, amongst the regions triple digit heat wave, an overnight loop through Ketchum and Stanley was planned. Being chased out of the Treasure Valley by the oppressive heat isn’t such a bad thing when your destination is the Stanley Valley that rests at a cool 7000′.
Our friend Travis had just purchased a new Triumph Adventure 1200 … and with only a few hundred miles on the clock, this would be a perfect break in trip!
The plan was simple …. we would meet Travis in East Boise, connect Hwy 20 through the Camas Prairie to Ketchum, up over Galena to Redfish Lake for the night, then take the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway (Hwy 21) back to Boise the next day.
This was our first two up overnight camping trip on the bike …. made easy by some custom made dry duffels strapped to our side boxes.
-Eastward, Hwy 20
As we continued east, the temperature never really warmed up and with looming clouds hanging in our direction of travel, rain seemed a real possibility.
Hwy 20 runs fast and true splitting the scenic Soldier Mountains to the north and the Bennett Hills to the south. The air remains crisp, a welcome change against the recent bought of heat.
We make a quick stop in the ranching community of Fairfield to add a rain layer. We notice another ADV bike towing a trailer with a kayak. We visit a few minutes to find out this guy (sorry can’t recall his name) was from Reno and was on a loop that would take him up and through Montana … the trailer was of his own make with exceptional simplicity and clean welds.
We chat a bit longer and then all hit the road at the same time continuing east, and can report that the trailer did not slow him down ….
We’re paced into Ketchum by a KTM 450 Enduro …. Dude, you need some sweet OBR ADV Gear!
Lunch is found at the Wrap Shack in Ketchum along with a bit of warming sun before we head up Galena …
We point the bikes north along Hwy 75, skirting the edge of the impressive Boulder Mountains and up towards Galena Summit.
It wasn’t long before our luck ran short and the rain began to fall. Deployment of full rain gear made quick work of the atmospheric saturation.
Hwy 75 as it climbs up and over the 8000′ Galena Summit is full of curve and flow … under normal conditions a good scrubbing of the tires edge would be in order, but todays wet pavement lends a bit more caution.
The view from the summit into the Stanley Valley is as always an impressive sight.
A quick portrait before dropping down the hill.
We carefully make our way down the few twists and curves to the valley floor below.
As we hit the bottom the sky starts to clear presenting before us a pleasant ride into Redfish Lake.
Once at Redfish, we locate our camp spot and quickly deploy our tents just in case more rain makes it’s way in.
With camp set we wander down to the Redfish Lake Lodge where we were lucky enough to score some comfy seating under the lodges front deck area.
We enjoy the seating for a spell while frequenting the lodge bar for mixed refreshments and enjoying the lake view, then just as the dinner hour arrives, so does another round of rain clouds and resuming rain. We gravitate towards the outside grill for burger and fries to wait out the shower in our comfy chairs.
Bellies full and the rain ceased… we retreat back to camp ready for a campfire and a full full sky of summer stars.
We awake the next morning to an odd gloom … I poke my head outside the tent to see thick fog restricting visibility to maybe 50 yds … a little concerned that our ride home might be of the foggy variety, we take our time getting up and breaking down camp.
Luckily it took only about an hour or so for the fog to fully lift and dissipate …
Travis’s dad was going to ride up from Boise Sunday morning and make the ride back with us. We were going to meet up in Stanley when we stop for fuel.
The sun is out and were off ….
Hwy 75 as we ride through the Stanley Valley runs between the Sawtooth Mountain Range to the West and the White Cloud Mountain Range to the East. Each are equally impressive with their jagged rocky peaks and color contrast.
“The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central Idaho, United States, reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet (3,277 m) at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompass an area of 678 square miles (1,756 km2) spanning parts of Custer, Boise, Blaine, and Elmore counties, and is bordered to the east by the Sawtooth Valley. Much of the mountain range is within the Sawtooth Wilderness, part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest.” – Wikipedia
-The Salmon River running through Stanley
We make our connection in Stanley and get ready to ride the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway …
Idaho State Highway 21 is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, primarily a two-lane highway from Boise to Stanley. With two-thirds of its length in Boise County, it passes by historic Idaho City and the village of Lowman to the western edge of the Sawtooth Mountains, then along their northern boundary to Stanley.
The road is designated as one of Idaho’s scenic byways and provides access to Sawtooth National Recreation Area from Boise and the Treasure Valley. It primarily follows the Boise River and its tributary Mores Creek to the Boise Basin and beyond, and then the upper South Fork of the Payette River and a tributary from Lowman to Banner Creek Summit. – Wikipedia
The Stanley Valley I believe has an impact on all who pass through … for me I always leave with the thought of when I might return …
We enjoy the road headed towards Lowman …
Once we reach Lowman we have a couple of options … make a right through the South Fork Payette Canyon to Banks, or ride another fun section of road over Moores Creek Summit.
… we choose the latter and make our way into Idaho City where we stop at the infamous Trudy’s Kitchen for lunch before the final stretch home.
Another quick trip enjoyed by all, Travis’s bike amply broke in, with anticipation of the next!