Leaving a favorite place is always tough. We have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend several days in so many beautiful places. It is easy to get attached to those places even after a few days. Our time at Lamoille Canyon was over and we were moving on to new places.
With the camper road-ready, we pulled out over the the rocky road and back onto the highway that would lead us to Wells and eventually to the Bonneville Salt Flats. We briefly stopped off in Wells to have a farewell breakfast with the family before heading East on I-80 over the mountains. It was a fairly easy 60 mile trip to Wendover, which lies on the western edge of the salt flats. There we stopped for supplies and to get a picture of Wendover Will.
Before we knew it, we were 10 miles east and nearing the end of the road that would take us out to the Bonneville speedway. This area is perfectly flat and has a thick crust of salt. Numerous land speed records have been set here over the years. We trundled over the bump that was the end of the pavement and out into the vast white plain. Small mountains framed the flats and there were groups of people parked here and there while a few cars sped across the landscape. We picked a spot and parked. I hopped out and swung the back seat door open. Frankie stood up and looked out with wonder, not sure what she was seeing. The greatest, largest salt lick in the history of the goat world! The ground was strange, not quite crusty like Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley, not sandy, but almost like a dry slush. The salt/slush stuck to our shoes, and had sprayed up in our wheel wells and fenders. I bent down to pick some up and taste it…..yep, salt (well technically a mixture of potassium, magnesium lithium and sodium chloride). Cate set up the flamingos, I flew the drone, and Franks….licked the earth.
Having gotten our salt fix, we set out in search of a campsite. We motored up a small connected road and up over one of the hills that looked over the flats. We found a spot at a BLM hilltop gravel storage spot. While this may not sound particularly exciting, it had great 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains and the salt flats. The following morning we woke up for sunrise, and I hastily attempted to get a few shots of our spot from a drone’s eye perspective. Unfortunately the drone had other ideas. As I watched myself through the goggles attempting to keep the drone overhead, it kept getting farther and farther away until my video feed went to static and I could no longer hear the buzz. I flipped the return to home switch, but alas, the drone we had since the beginning of the odyssey had finally flown the coop, taking with it all of the pics and videos I had recently taken. I suppose it is sitting somewhere on a sagebrush covered mountain being eaten by vultures.
We made one more visit to the flats to watch the morning sun glint off of the salt before finding a carwash to wash the salt from *everything*, and headed back towards Wells and then North towards Twin Falls, Idaho. Passing through Twin Falls, Cate wanted to make a quick trip to Shoshone Falls. It was a weekend and one of the first re-opening days in Idaho. Consequently the park was packed! We paid our $10, drove down the narrow curvy road and parked. We walked to the overlooks with Frankie, being stared at by the throngs of picnickers. The falls were spectacular (well… really just a single fall since the water was low), a surprising oasis in the otherwise featureless plain of southern Idaho.
Soon we were back on the road and in the distance we could see the snow covered peaks of the Sawtooths. Just before we hit Sun Valley, Cate suggested finding a dispersed campsite near where we camped on our 2017 move to Oregon, then we would not have to rush to find a spot in the mountains before dark. Seemed logical. Almost every spot on Trail Creek Road was taken, and by sheer luck, we found the last spot…down by the creek, far from the road. It was perfect! We panned for a little gold, no luck, and then dropped into Ketchum for a takeout pizza before going to sleep with visions of Sawtooths dancing in our heads!