Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway

Lately I haven't felt compelled to share play by play's of specific trails or even trips. I'm much more interested in using this blogosphere to ask and work through big questions. The internet, and social media especially, is at an all time low point of interest for me. Everything is overrun with a fury of negativity (note: annoyance) that seeps its way into my bones if I allow it.

Creating a distance between myself and the interweb is downright necessary. After all, the most notable thing to happen to me on the internet since More Life hit 200k all time views was my ex boyfriend's latest girlfriend stalking my Instagram. Hardly riveting.

It's impossible to avoid the rampant negativity running amok on the web. Even my blessed trip reports on the Washington Trails website, something I've started my mornings with almost every day for five years, are full of complaints. The frustration is palpable and at times entirely relatable. I too am sick to death of overcrowding in the outdoors and mingling with new hikers who have zero respect for the basic rules of Leave No Trace. This past weekend on a dispersed camping adventure along the Cowlitz River, we were absolutely horrified by the amount of trash encountered. Amazon boxes, piles of soiled toilet paper mere steps from the water, shot glasses and broken bottles. Facing the reality of increased recreation on public lands is fucking terrifying. 

Because of this, I haven't made hiking as much of a priority this year as in others past. Aside from being outside -you know, when it's peaceful, and therapeutic- my greatest source of joy is quality time with good friends. If the pandemic taught me anything at all, it's how furiously and profoundly I NEED the company of my people.

On that note, I want to share some belated photos from Jasmin and I's early June road trip along the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway.  If you're considering a trip to the area or the Sawtooths in general please feel free to comment or contact me for specifics regarding our route and itinerary. 

Immediately proceeding our adventure, I hit total burn out between a roller coaster relationship, my mom's Parkinson's diagnosis, and my beloved companion Mac's intense decline. I warned Jasmin that I'd probably burst into tears repeatedly without notice. The breakdown I expected never came, though. This trip was nothing short of total respite and life affirming joy. Jasmin has always been a light house for me, a safe shore. We've managed to have an ease-filled, high reward friendship for more than 15 years. We both thrive in zero pretense environments and almost no one makes me feel as accepted and supported as she does.

Traversing 1,700 miles in six days, we cut across Oregon to explore the very underrated state of Idaho. As an absolute hot springs hound, I've had my eyes on Idaho for a few years. When Jasmin reached out to tell me she had a flexible Summer schedule and wanted to adventure together, I threw out the idea of hot springs hoppin' in the state known widely for...potatoes. She immediately agreed and got to work researching an area she knew absolutely nothing about. BE LIKE JASMIN! Say yes to random and lesser known things. Everything else is crowded anyway...

Idaho City, Idaho. A true relic

An old mining cemetery

A taste of the magic we encountered, including a butterfly migration

My favorite hot springs of the trip

This hot springs was too crowded for my taste but gorgeous regardless

You simply can't capture the Sawtooths in a photo

Such a memorable dinner on Red Fish Lake for Jasmin's Bday

See my last blog for more on our hike to Norton Lakes

Stanley, ID. An immensely groovy town

Headed to our private hot springs soak

Shoshone Falls. INCREDIBLE

Pinnacles near Shoshone

Beautiful incense cedar- one of many new-to-me plant and tree species encountered in Idaho

The winding, scenic byway we took from Boise to Ketchum was flanked with towering pines and constant views of the Payette River. We visited four hot springs in two days, three of which bordered the rushing river and offered alternating hot and cold dips.

Stanley, Idaho was somethin' special; from our 8am private hot spring soak inside an old barn to discussing wolf sightings in the catch-all tool and grocery store. We passed a hot afternoon drinking in the local watering hole among men who looked like part of the crew who stormed the capital, all while the jagged mountainscape loomed through every window and bison heads peered down from the walls. An immensely unique and memorable experience that I will never forget.

Our road trip to Idaho has inspired me to let go of my preconceived notions towards less visited parts of our country in favor of  experiencing wild zones that aren't oriented towards tourism and capitalism exclusively. I'd much sooner go back to Idaho for a trip around the northern hot springs than return to New York or even (most) National parks at this point.

Jasmin put together a very fun video of our trip, which you can view here 

More musings on the bounty of female friendship here


  1. The loveliest of lovely days spent with you! You are a gem and I'd research a black hole for you. To many more!! xx

  2. Bobbie and I were taken by Stanley, too...nearly 40 years ago...and took the long walk to soak in those same hot springs. Had it all to ourselves :). What a lovely trip, and nice to know you shared it with someone special.
    Box Canyon


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