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For the past several years a friend and I have backpacked together up the Rapid River Trail in Idaho’s Payette National Forest. This was traditionally a trip she did with her kids, but kids—like baby chicks—tend to fly the coup, so now she’s stuck with me.

This was my first extended exposure to another human since the mid-March Coronavirus isolation order was announced. We shamefully wasted gas by driving separately to the trailhead, just above the Rapid River Fish Hatchery.

During the spring, this trail is a green wonderland. The river gushes with runoff from the deep snows draining out of the Seven Devils Mountain Range, cooling the trail that follows it.

It drizzled during our first night out. Me, without my rainfly engaged, was blissfully unaware of the rain thanks to the protection of the giant pine tree I pitched my tent beneath.

Damp wood of the Pacific Yew

Idaho mountain golf green

The second day we headed further up the river to Wyant Camp. It was a hot day. By afternoon, we realized how hot, because the clear river water turned chocolate milk brown with a sudden uptick in runoff from above.

Bridge over Rapid River leading to the Rattlesnake Trail

From the bridge

A big ol granddaddy Ponderosa flanked by mountain lupine

Thank you, whoever cleared trail earlier this spring!

Indian Paintbrush – my favorite and also the Wyoming State Flower

Bedsprings?

Skyrocket

Looking back towards Riggins and the Fish Hatchery

I have no idea, but I love them. Perhaps Lobelia?

Guardians of the river. (I have no idea what they are. Purple Clematis?)

Bonuses of this year’s trip:

  • We encountered NO rattlesnakes
  • We saw no mosquitoes, nor did we feel any
  • We saw no ticks