Birth of the TBR Mountain Range aka Sawtooth Mountain Memories
I’ve always wanted a site where I can share my love of beautiful places and life’s simple pleasures as they’re experienced. The view from Stanley, Idaho at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains inspired me to challenge myself more often, so here’s the story of the place that kicked my muse into the array of possibilities.
I love the mountains, but I didn’t know how much I feared them until I tried going up a narrow road with no guardrails in Boise, Idaho. Truthfully, that was probably considered a hill, but the panic attack came just the same. It took about five minutes to convince my dear husband to turn the vehicle around (without me in it) and go back to flat-land-safety. I had to stand on Mother Earth while he maneuvered the vehicle on the narrow road to go the other way. LOL I had planned this trip for months with my husband and our oldest son, including the trip to view the Sawtooth Mountains up close and personal, so I wasn’t about to disappoint them by being a sissy. The next day, I gripped the steering wheel of our SUV rental and grandma’d it up the much scarier mountain road to Stanley, Idaho… slow and steady.
It’s a winding road to get to Stanley from one direction and it can be overwhelming if you fear heights or logging trucks going left-of-center right at you. Yes, that did happen to us on the way up, and having been hit head-on by a semi once in my lifetime, I wasn’t real fond of possibly repeating the experience on a mountain road with scary drop-offs. Don’t ask me how I missed the logging truck without going over the side – must have been my Irish luck and praying to anyone who would listen. The fear was real every mile as we climbed ‒ it never left and it took everything I had to keep going and not look back. Not having had this kind of fear before, I really didn’t know how to overcome it other than to focus on the end goal without thinking about “what if”. Shaking, crying, screaming ‒ it all happened so it wasn’t pretty, but I kept going with the support of my husband and son. I wanted them to have a great time, but more than anything, I needed to overcome this newly discovered fear for me.
I can’t say that I breathed evenly that evening while thinking about the trip down the next day, especially with unexpected weather reports of a bad storm coming, but the nice folks in Stanley assured me that the way I was leaving was so much easier than the way I came up, and thankfully, they weren’t fooling this wary traveler. We settled in to enjoy our one night stay, me still shaken to my core, loving every minute of my feet safely touching the ground.
The view is breathtaking in Stanley, Idaho and the residents welcomed three strangers wandering in off-season. They had just hit the lull right after snowmobiling and skiing season, winding up the Salmon fishing run, so we were some of the very few visitors wandering around in their world on a gorgeous sunny spring day. Stanley is one of the most beautiful places I’ve experienced and the background of my website is one of the pictures I took there ‒ what could symbolize reaching for your dreams more than those majestic mountains? Thank you to the kind young man who told us how to find the best views. Two years later as of this month and I can still feel the power of being there for that one moment in time, listening to stories of those who experience life there daily, and imagining what it might have been like to live through their brutal winters without modern conveniences, when the first people discovered that land. It’s hard to describe the aura of a pristine landscape barely touched by man. It’s like you can feel the spirits of those who came before you. You also never truly know a place until you talk to those who live there, and I found their ancestral stories, their challenges and success, part of what made this place so special.
It seemed like barely a moment had passed, when the unexpected spring storm arrived and we had to skedaddle so we weren’t caught in a foot or more of snow without chains on our tires. I’m used to driving in snow, but not what can happen quickly in the mountains at over 9000 feet in elevation. Driving on winding roads when it’s sleeting, with the temperature rapidly dropping to freezing, tick-tick-ticking one degree a minute isn’t something I’d recommend to those who fear heights. The fine mist of drizzle can turn the pavement to black ice quickly before the drizzle turns to large fluffy flakes, covering that black ice with its feathery disguise. But I don’t regret any of it and may even be brave enough to relive it. The views were spectacular all the way up… and all the way down the other side. I’ll visualize it for a lifetime, as well as remember the adrenaline rush of trying to travel safely. Some say that experiencing the Sawtooth Mountains changes people and I for one believe they’re right.
There’s a slideshow you can watch at sawtoothcamera.com from a stationary camera in Stanley. Make sure you watch the one that’s one photo per week for one year. So beautiful.
We stayed at the Mountain Village Resort and enjoyed their hot spring. The lodge is rustic and clean with spectacular views. I can’t quite explain what it’s like to look at those mountain views while sitting in their hot spring next to the rushing spring waters coming down the river next to it. Those crisp, clean rapids speak of icy cold temps, roaring as they flow. As your body adjusts to the high heat of the hot spring, the cool breezes off the river are welcome. I can still visualize it in my mind and feel it in my soul, and to the 150 brave residents who live there year round – thanks for sharing your little slice of heaven. It’s a place for adventure, or just enjoy the views and the people like we did. Next time, I’m going in the summer so I can experience Redfish Lake. The road there was impassable due to snow in April of 2010, but if you watch this 360 panorama view at their site, you’ll understand why I dream about going back.
Since that trip, we continued the challenge last year by traveling through the Rockies by train, up to Logan’s Pass by Jammer bus just after they’d received four feet of snow, and floating down through the Snake River by raft. I’ll share snippets of that trip too amongst my reviews and news in the future. Thirteen states in twelve days gave me a whole new appreciation of the vast beauty and challenges our country has to offer.
Fear should never keep you from doing what you truly love and have always dreamt about. I hope you enjoy my journeys as I kick more fears to the curb when I find them. If you love books, love photography, love to travel, love to cook or garden, then you’ll feel right at home here as I explore life’s simple pleasures.
For now, I get to look at those beautiful Sawtooth Mountains every day on my website and remember that mountains are not scary, unless you’re talking about my ever-growing TBR (to be read) Mountain Range!
Thanks for reading!