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New Friends

August 27, 2013

Idaho – Sunday, August 18

I got the campsite packed up, and drove through the tiny town of White Bird. It kind of looks like a town that time forgot, but there’s a couple churches and small school that only looked big enough for a couple classrooms. White Bird is on the Salmon River, which the Indians called The River of No Return. It’s one of the top whitewater rafting rivers in the nation, but White Bird doesn’t appear to be a major put-in place, although I imagine some paddlers or rafters stop by.

I continued driving along the Salmon River and the next town I came to was Riggins, which calls itself the Whitewater Capital, and there were lots of rafting companies, but oddly enough I didn’t see anyone going down the river. But there were lots of people out and about in town and at the park by the river. Tula and I got out to walk along the river a bit, and then I walked from one end of town to the other and back again. I covered almost 4 miles in Riggins.

I wasn’t going to make a donation today since I had doubled up earlier in the week – Sundays can be a hard day to find donation opportunities anyway, since so many places are closed.

After Riggins, I set off for McCall where I was going to meet my mom’s friend Mary, who was there visiting one of her daughters. McCall had been in the news recently – Hannah Anderson was taken to the hospital there once she was found in the Idaho mountains by the FBI. Mary gave me good directions to their condo, and after visiting for a little while, she loaded up her grandkids in the car, and I followed them over to Ponderosa State Park, where I was going to camp tonight. We found a good site for me – it’s a beautiful state park full of ponderosa pines, and her grandkids swam at a nice beach on a lake while I did 3 miles of walking on the trails. Then I joined them on the beach and relaxed for a while. The kids finally got cold and were ready to head back, and Mary invited me back to the condo for dinner so I could meet her daughters who’d been out picking huckleberries all day. Kathy and Julie were back when we returned from the state park, and I discovered huckleberries are small blueberry-like berries with a nice tart taste – I thought they were more like blackberries! And they’re small, so picking a large quantity of them is very labor-intensive.

Mary took me for a short walk around McCall, which is a nice lake resort town on Payette Lake. Payette Lake is rumored to have sea monster Sharlie lurking in the depths – she looks kind of like the Loch Ness monster and the monster in Lake Champlain that I read about! There’s a nice beach area and marina right in town, and one of the parks is making a nice hand-tiled wall. I saw something at the town’s intersections that I hadn’t seen before – there’s a rack of bright orange flags for people to carry across the street to make themselves more visible, and then there’s a rack on the other side of the intersection to return the flag. With people coming and going, there’s usually a good supply of flags on each side, and it sounds like it does make it a lot easier to notice pedestrians.

When we got back from that walk, a yummy dinner was ready and we enjoyed fish, salad with homemade dressing, fresh fruit and cobbler for dessert. It was a nice evening and we enjoyed our visit. They had questions about my journey, and I had questions about the parts of Idaho I was headed for. Mary and the grandkids showed me some mosaic projects they have done, and I found out the Western Idaho Fair was going on in Boise – I’m missing the Chelsea Community Fair back home for the first time in about 30 years, and I’m going to try to squish in a visit to this fair!

It was beginning to get dark and I had to get to the campground to get set up for the night. It was great meeting some new friends, and they were wonderful to invite a total stranger (my mom was the only connection!) into their home and include me in a nice evening! They sent me on my way with a bag of huckleberries and some salad for tomorrow. Thanks, Mary, Kathy and Julie! I got set up and then Tula and I took a walk around the campground. When we got back I turned on the lantern and did a little knitting outside. It was a beautiful evening – kind of cool, but the moon was almost full and peeking between the pine trees. That’s my favorite night view – moon and pine trees! And I didn’t really notice the last full moon because I was way up north and it didn’t really get dark enough to see much of the moon! And I missed it, so it was especially nice to see again.

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