There’s Not Just Trout in Idaho: Town, Fish, and River

Darby has you already channeling your inner cowboy. Let’s see what we

History on a pole

can do about moving you a bit further back in time to Lewis and Clark.

If you continue south on Hwy.93, you’ll drive through heavily forested mountains on the hillside highway. Along the drive you’ll come to historical markers telling you about the trade route of early trappers, stage lines, etc.

At the mountain’s summit the winding blacktop pauses at Lost Hill Pass and the Idaho border visitor’s center. A ski resort of the same name rests a bit higher on the mountain and can be accessed through the visitor center parking lot. Finding such a resort isn’t always a common occurrence

Idaho Visitor's Center

where two states meet, but in this case it makes for a magnificent melding of attitudes and cultures.

Hiking and biking are common in the area and along the byway. Biking by seniors, regardless of insert pic the steep passes,

70 yr old Biker on Transcontinental Ride

happens every summer. Some long-time bike riders, like the one we met from the West Coast, do a transcontinental journey aboard well-maintained titanium bikes. His seventy years of practice at building muscles and perseverance had prepared our new acquaintance for his journey. We didn’t feel it necessary to compete with him.

The Idaho visitor’s center allows the traveler to see what’s coming on the other side of the pass. Brochures help plan both the current trip and any future one. We left after half an hour, chilled from the residual snow under June’s sunshine and proceeded downslope toward Salmon, Idaho.

Our first stop on the Idaho side of the mountain was Red Rock viewing area and campground. Insert pic Red Rock is a place of stark beauty. Cliffsides rise sharply to the east of the highway. Rocky mesas jut up and back from the river on the west side. Big Horn Sheep are often spotted on those crags and prominences, hence the term viewing area. It’s peaceful here for picnics or a lazy afternoon nap in the cooler sunshine.

By the time you wind your way down alongside the Salmon River to the base of the mountain, you’ll be ready to get out and stretch your legs, breathe in that clean, healthy air, and find something new to get into. If you turn left at the bottom of the hill into town, you’ll soon come to Sacajawea Park. 

This park is dedicated to that lady of legend and to other details of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Near the entrance you’ll see the statue and plaque highlighting the importance of the Insert pic Newfoundland dog, Seaman, that accompanied the expedition as Captain Lewis’ companion. This is the kind of historic detail you don’t find in all those history books.



The park and museum are free to visitors. The manicured grounds flow over small hills and landscaped flowerbeds down to a path that winds its way through a tiny wilderness of marsh plants, wildflowers, and small wildlife coming in to the pond to drink. Sunset is a lovely time there with cool breezes, murmured conversations in the distance, and a sense of being close to where those of the long-ago had walked.

When we were there in June, they were having a special open-air concert. Only a few blocks to the west the downtown area waited for exploration. Tall, narrow shops beguiled the passerby, teasing and flirting with promised goodies. The feel of Salmon is leisurely. There was never any sense of the bustle of bigger places or the impatience of more modern facilities.

What we did feel, and what any visitor would feel, was a timeless kind of acceptance; one that waited for you to join in the celebration of being a part of this earth. The soft voices never jarred the ears. Traffic kept itself subdued.

On our way back north we came across a pen full of baby llamas and alpacas. They live at the Wild Basin Lodge and Ranch. Seeing these South American animals is common. Seeing all of these babies wasn’t. We just couldn’t resist sharing the experience with everyone. It’s little wonders like this that make each of our excursions so marvelously addictive.

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