The Big Wood River is a 137 miles/220 km long river that originates in the Sawtooth Mountains close to Galena Pass. The valley named after the river stretches south-west and includes the lovely communities of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. The Big Wood River is a tributary of the Malad River, which is a tributary to the Snake River and the Snake River subsequently feeds into the Columbia River.
If I would ever stay for a longer period of time in this area, I would like to learn how to fly-fish. The Big Wood River has a very calming, almost meditative quality.
Our two-week stay in Ketchum, ID has sadly come to an end. Sure, we could have extended by a week or two if we wanted to, but then we would not be able to do other things we planned to do. Such is life. Every time you say yes to something, you also say no to something else. We left on 19 Sep 2017 and rolled west again towards Bend, OR for a one-week stay. In order to manage the 480 miles/770 km trip from Ketchum to Bend we boondocked for one night in a lovely BLM area near Juntura on the Central Oregon Highway (Highway 20). While Highway 20 provides a narrow band of cell phone connectivity, just one or two miles off the highway there is no service. To be more exact, there is not only no cell phone service, there is nothing but wide-open space.
Oregon is a pretty big state and the center of the state is surprisingly remote. Most people know Oregon as a lush and green state with big forests and plenty of volcanoes stretching south to north along the pacific coast. Well, in the rain-shadow east of the Cascade Mountains Oregon is high and dry and the population density is extremely low.
It is interesting to experience the absence of the world-wide-web on once activities. How did we ever live without all these devices? It is clear to me that we are all hopelessly addicted to our cell-phones, tablets and computers.
Being in Ketchum was great. We hiked everyday on different trails in the Big Wood River Valley. To name a few there was the Fox Creek Trail, the Adam Gulch Trail, the Oregon Gulch Trail, the Chocolate Gulch Trail, the Stanley Lake Trail, Proctor Mountain Trail and last but not least the Titus Lake Trail.
We re-evaluated the Sawtooth Brewery and successfully sampled their “False Summit Amber Ale” and their “Mustache Black Rye IPA”.
On the trails we met a number of elk/deer bow & arrow hunters. Hunting these big animals with such a weapon is an activity that is not only strenuous but also requires a great amount of skills. These folks carry a lot of equipment into high mountain regions and have to get really close to an animal before they can attempt a kill. After the kill, they have to dress the animal down and carry it out on their backs. Once an elk or deer is on the ground, there is a lot of competition for the easy food source, including wolves and bears.
The nighttime temperatures in Ketchum prior to our departure dropped as low as 22F/-6C and the higher elevations of the Big Wood River Valley had received a first dusting of snow. Let me remind you, these are the last days of summer.
While in Ketchum we also spent time and money taking advantage of the excellent veterinary services provided by the Ketchum Animal Clinic. The clinic is known for it’s expertise in animal joint diseases and we asked them to diagnose Coopers limping (which manifested itself the last time in June 2017). The problem was determined to be CED (Canine Elbow Dysplasia). We were ready to submit Cooper to joint surgery, however, the clinic does not offer surgical solutions for CED. The disease, when active, must be managed with medication. The rest of the pets received vaccinations as needed.
After the visit to Bend we will move to the left coast. We have not seen our friend the Pacific ocean for almost one year.