An occasional journal of the Life of Reilly

Friday, July 7, 2006

Hiding in the Sawtooths


When the voice of experience talks, it makes sense to listen. When my parents say, we need to find a place to hide over the Fourth of July weekend, they were right. Mom and Dad have been traveling for months at a time for the last 23 summers. As the holiday weekend approached they said we need to find a campsite early, and plan on staying there until the vacationers leave. So we found refuge in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, a range of mountains in central Idaho.

We found a campsite next to a stream in an area designated as dispersed camping – there are no facilities like toilets, tables, or faucets, but there are informal campfire rings and flat places to pull off and hunker down. Nestled among the trees, we were ready. By Friday they were coming in – SUV’s with racks of bikes, RV’s pulling trailers with quad cycles – filling up the campgrounds and the dispersed areas. Looking at some of the campsites from a distance, it is like a yard sale -- picnic tables invisible under piles of gear, ice chests, and bags of chips and sodas. John and I spent the weekend doing day hikes – fortunately you can get away from most everyone a couple of miles from the trailhead. One of hikes was to Sawtooth Lake, the featured photo. Only five miles from the parking lot, it offered views of the rugged granite peaks characteristic of the range, and cobalt blue lakes with remnants of winter snow still on the lake surface.

The days are long this time of year this far north – dusk is just beginning to settle in at 10 pm. It must be some kind of law that a campfire is compulsory when camping -- the group that set up camped a couple of hundred yards upstream from us built a bonfire just as we went to bed. I was so tired from our hike that I fell into a deep sleep once horizontal. John, however, was awake long enough to hear thumping music, loud laughter, and to smell the smoke from the fire. This discourtesy gets him so worked up, he focuses on the sounds and can’t sleep. He was a bit bleary the next morning. Mom and Dad, insulated from all noise in their cozy van, slept through it like me. By Monday afternoon the legions of weekend warriors were heading home, and we found peace once again.

A final note – yes, mosquito season is almost in full bloom. Right now they swarm but are easily swatted before getting a chance to draw blood. Evenings, right around dinnertime, seems to be the worst. Sweet people like John and my mother seem to attract them the most. That makes Dad and me a couple of sourpusses, I guess.
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