Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Hike to Pioneer Cabin and Other Miscellany


We were told the hike up to Pioneer Cabin was a must-do in the Ketchum area. It took George and Tina some convincing to get Jim to agree, but after a day of rest and with mostly clear skies, we drove about 8 miles northeast of Ketchum to the trailhead off Corral Creek Rd. At just under 4 miles and with 2.450’ of elevation gain, it’s not the easiest trail, but definitely worth the effort. After relentlessly climbing through the forest, we finally emerged into an open meadow, and the views just got better and better.









This last section of switchbacks seemed to go on forever, but Tina kept telling me we were getting close.


Finally we crested a saddle, where the Pioneer Range appeared seemingly out of nowhere.


And there was our destination, Pioneer Cabin.


Built in 1937 as a ski hut, it is now owned by the Forest Service and is open for use.



Yeah, we got pretty high.


Hikers can seek shelter and even spend the night.




I would advise bringing your own bedding. It’s not the cleanest place.


But it is truly in an idyllic setting.


View out the front door of the cabin.


We had quite a scenic spot for lunch, although it was windy and cool. Yes, it was definitely worth it, and all downhill on the way back.


In other news, we were riding bikes on the Harriman Trail the other day, which starts just a half mile from our site, and passes by a couple forest service campgrounds. We had to make a detour to check out this RV. The owners were not home so we didn’t speak with them, but we couldn’t help but wonder why you would have this great off road vehicle and be parked in a fee campground.

Sawtooth NRA, Ketchum, Idaho

On Friday afternoon our adopted nephew Casey stopped by for a few hours on his way to a weekend programmers camp about 30 miles north of here. He’s actually the nephew of good friends from Florida, and we were so glad he stopped by. He brought us a bunch of veggies from his and a neighbor’s garden in Colorado. Thanks, Casey!


We are feeling better about the cats as each day goes by, but Jim just had to find out how they are doing. He emailed the director of the shelter, who wrote back and said they are healthy and eating well, and Sophie is doing fine, but Elvis is not happy. She did not go into detail but said they are trying to find him a foster home until he gets adopted. Of course that made us feel terrible, but we knew as timid as he was, he would not like shelter living. We also saw their names listed in the shelter ad in the Wednesday local paper, which made us feel even worse. I know with time this will get easier.

And in more bad news, Jim has had gum inflammation and infection off and on for a couple years on his upper back molar. The tooth has a crown and a 30 year old root canal, and the dentist in Mexico last year said if it continues he should have it pulled so as not to infect the adjacent tooth, which is an implant. He visited a dentist in Ketchum last week who agreed, so he is getting it pulled by an oral surgeon in Hailey on Tuesday. He’s not very happy about this, but he’s hoping since it’s the last tooth he can go without it. If not, we’ll be heading back to Yuma this winter so he can go to Algodones for another implant. We were hoping for a year without either one of us needing more dental work, but looks like that won’t be happening.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Moving On


We would like to thank all of you who commented or sent emails about the cats. I was surprised by others’ stories about having to do something similar. I never believed we could give up a pet, let alone two, but we were at our wits end and we felt it was really our only option. Jim wants to call and see how they’re doing, but I don’t think that is wise, and I would rather just think they are adjusting fine and will be adopted soon.


After almost two weeks with no phone or internet connection, and in need of water and dumping tanks, we moved from our shady spot in the forest to an open meadow just 10 miles south. We had our eye on a site near the Sawtooth NRA dump/water/trash off forest road 146, but whenever we stopped to take trash it was occupied. Our friends George and Tina were moving to a site less than a mile farther down the road, but we weren’t crazy about the rutted road to get there, and we wanted a more open spot with a view. We were lucky that on Monday morning the site we wanted was vacant, so I parked the car and a chair there, and met Jim at the dump. We then drove the eight miles to Ketchum, Idaho to get propane and gas in the Lazy Daze, and came back to settle in.


How nice to have full sun, a view of something other than trees, and three bars of Verizon 4G.


On Sunday we did a hike listed as easy in our guidebook, the Titus Lake trail from Titus Creek Road, near Galena Summit. Turned out that 1,300’ of climbing in 3 miles to the lake was not very easy, as a big part of the climb came in the last mile of steep switchbacks. The description also said this would be a good hike if you were looking for solitude. That is if you consider solitude running into 5 bicyclists, 3 people on horseback, 8 other hikers, and numerous dogs. George and Tina said they had never seen anyone else on that trail.




Titus lake can also be accessed by a more popular, less steep 1.5 mile trail off of Hwy 75.





Our plan is to hang around here until after Labor Day as long as the smoke stays away since there is a lot more to see and do in the Ketchum area.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


We’re still parked in the Sawtooth National Forest at our creekside site north of Ketchum, Idaho. Almost two weeks with no internet or phone, and it really hasn’t been that bad. With George and Tina here we’ve been busy hiking, biking, and enjoying happy hours by the creek. It’s also been stressful due to cat problems, but more about that later.

We took our bikes with us to Ketchum for a ride on the Wood River Trail. Did a loop around  the very upscale Elkhorn subdivision through Sun Valley and back to Ketchum. Lots of hills, but then this is a ski area.



We hiked the Prairie Creek trail, just a couple miles down the road from our campsite. It’s still been a bit hazy and smoky off and on from the fires.






Summit Creek, a steep but pretty trail accessed off Trail Creek Rd near Ketchum.





Jim, Tina, George, Jax and Jessie.


A ride on the Harriman trail from our site. Jim is loving his new bike seat. He also bought new grips a few days ago and is finally comfortable on an upright bike.





And now for the bad news. Tension between the cats had been escalating since their last fight in Stanley a couple weeks ago, and we felt like they were just on the verge of attacking each other every time our friends’ dogs walked by. The last straw was when Jax ran by barking and I saw the cats in attack mode, all hairs standing on end looking at each other. Jim had just gotten out of the shower, and I knew I had to separate the cats before a fight broke out, so I quickly picked up Sophie, who was closest to me, and threw her back in the bedroom with Jim. I guess she just had to attack something, and why it wasn’t me is a mystery, but she went for Jim, who was bent over using the squeegee on the shower. Luckily his back was to her, as his butt got clawed pretty good. He had to take the clothes hamper and put it between them to keep her from attacking again. She settled down quickly and within 10 or  15 minutes was back to her sweet self. Elvis remained on edge for the rest of the evening and I finally let them back together during the night. We thought about moving to a spot where we would be alone, but we know we will continue to stay in campgrounds or park with friends who have dogs, so that really was only a temporary answer. I have been putting Bach Rescue Remedy in their food to no avail, and spoke with the vet about medicating them, but we really didn’t want to do that.

The real issue is that two people and two young, rambunctious cats cannot peacefully coexist in only 100 square feet of living space. We have always felt bad about them not having more room to run around, and before all four of us lost our minds, we made the extremely difficult decision to take them to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley in Hailey, Idaho. Although they don’t normally take in animals from people who are not local residents, I think we were so distraught and desperate they agreed to take them. So on Thursday, after not being sure we could actually go through with it, we dropped them off with all of their scratching posts, beds, toys, litter box, food and litter, and gave them a $200 donation. Jim joked that guilt can be expensive.

We really feel horrible about all this, and I know some people will judge us harshly, but it is such a relief to be free of the stress of dealing with them. Of course we are worried about how they are doing, and whether they will get adopted, but the very kind people at the shelter assured us they will find them good homes, and that is what we are going to believe.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Prairie Creek Rd, Idaho



On Tuesday we moved south to Prairie Creek Road, about 20 miles north of Ketchum, Idaho in the middle of the Sawtooth NRA. It was nice that our friends George and Tina had room for another RV at their dispersed campsite. I know some people think half the fun of boondocking is seeking out a site, but sometimes you can spend hours driving around to no avail, so it was nice to know we had a place to park.

We’re only getting a few hours of sun, but with no internet or TV we aren’t using much power.



We can hear the creek but there’s too much vegetation by our site to see it. George and Tina have an open view.


The Harriman bike/hike trail is a short walk from our site.Here are some scenes from the trail.



Goat viewing area, but the goats must have been napping as we didn’t see any.



Yesterday we drove south 5 miles to Baker Creek Road and hiked the trail to Norton lakes and beyond to the pass. 2,400’ of climbing in about 3.6 miles to the 9,950’ pass meant a lot of steep uphill most of the way. It was a beautiful hike despite the climb.








This is Jax, George and Tina’s nine month old long haired dachshund. What a cutie, and a great hiker.


Jax the rock climber in mid-bark.





Heading on up to the pass.


Just another mile, 1,000 more feet of climbing and 14 switchbacks.





I love “top of the world” hikes like this.





We’re running errands in Ketchum today so I am posting this from the laundromat. So far not having internet has been tolerable, but we’ll probably move on to a different spot with signal sometime next week.

The cats are mostly back to normal but it’s probably just a matter of time before we have another incident. Thanks for the suggestions and links.We’ll do more research when we get back to civilization. And yes, they were both neutered and spayed when they were just kittens.

Almost forgot, on Tuesday evening we met Kurt and Toni (The Kuhl Odyssey) at Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum. It’s always fun to meet up with like minded people and we had a great time talking about beer, pets, fulltiming, you name it. After the cat incident we really needed the diversion!