Winding down the Idaho side of Lost Trail Pass, we followed the Salmon River on U.S. 93 south to Challis, where we refueled and turned up ID 75, still following the river, to the Bayhorse Campground, a wonderful BLM facility with clean vault toilets and sweet water. Not long after we arrived, the winds rose fiercely down the canyon, followed by heavy rain. The storm passed quickly, and we were able to explore the area on foot. The recreation area included a boat launch and an irrigation diversion canal. The irrigation ditch featured a smolt diverter screen that serves to redirect tiny salmon back into the river for their journey 1500 km to the sea, instead of into a farmer’s field.
Early in the morning, we turned off the highway onto a rickety bridge across the river and up a steep dirt road to the Bayhorse Ghost Town, an abandoned silver mining town now maintained as a tourist attraction. Arriving well before opening time, we took pictures through the gates and headed back down the hill.
Crossing the one-lane bridge, we must have driven over a protruding spike, as the “low tire” warning soon came on, not a good sign on a no-shoulder highway with no cell service. We managed to get to the next BLM camp, Deadman, before the tire went completely flat. After reading the truck manual, we were able to release the spare tire, but the combo lug wrench and tire iron foiled attempts to break loose the lug nuts. After struggling for some time trying to devise a work-around, we saw a pickup truck turn off into the recreation area. Judy tracked them down at the opposite end of the campground, and the kind couple agreed to help. They were in a hurry, and we didn’t even get their names: but younger, stronger arms started loosening the lug nuts, and I was able to finish the job, replace the tire, and we were soon on our way.
We continued up the spectacular Salmon River to Stanley, then over the pass and down the Payette River canyon to Boise.
We drove west through urban traffic to Caldwell for a few days visit with Judy’s brother and his family. The next day, we had a delightful visit with our niece and her husband, a full day of lunch out and winery tours. The following day, the Friday before Labor Day, was spent taking care of business, getting our tire fixed to be ready to continue our journey and picking up a tire wrench that might make it easier for us to change a tire should the necessity come up again.
Saturday, we took an early morning stroll through downtown Caldwell, a pretty little town with a busy creek running under part of the downtown, with parks along the banks. Otherwise, a quiet day with family. Sunday, another stroll, in the rain, though we had intended to ride our bike. Judy’s sister-in-law busied herself packing leftovers and garden fruits for our upcoming trip east.