A Change Of Scenery

Sometimes a person just needs a change of scenery–it’s good for the soul. Our friend Ken mentioned a few weeks ago a possible ATV trip to Challis, Idaho but plans might not work. Things changed, plans were cancelled and the trip was a go. We had previous appointments in Billings prior to departure day leaving us with one day to load the rig. Whew! By the end of that day we were both dragging–I prepared a bunch of food to take with us–the ladies share responsibility for happy hour snacks and side dishes. Charlie is in charge of grilling each couple’s chosen meat for dinner each night. 

So, off we went a week ago today–bright and early heading for the Challis, Idaho area. 

That’s Ken and Lesley in front of us, Charlie and Peggy are out there in front somewhere with us bringing up the rear. It was smooth sailing all the way to Challis with two stops for gas and a stop for lunch. We had some difficulty finding a boondocking spot traveling up this steep mountain road with absolutely NO place to turn around only to find no boondocking spots and the campground full. Back down that awful road cringing when we would meet oncoming traffic–it was one narrow, steep road!

Moon going down

We ended up camped in a BLM campground along the highway. And were so lucky to find one accommodating camp host. There were not three open spots so he allowed us all three to camp in one large pull through, end to end. We parked first in the middle and moved our truck, Charlie backed his rig close to our front and Ken pulled his motorhome up to the rear of our trailer. Our doors all faced the grassy area and picnic table. It was a great spot with lots of shade in the afternoon.

It was chilly every morning–really chilly and we didn’t start riding until about 9:30am each morning when the sun was finally coming up over the mountains and hitting the campsite.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 50 inch rule–many US forest service trails and even state trails are designated as 50 inch ATV use only. This means 4-wheelers and side by side ATVs that are only 50 inches wide can use these trails. In some areas the rule is even stricter and only ATVs in which the rider sits astride are legal. This bridge you see us about to cross was just barely 50 inches wide and the two poles were set in concrete and were exactly 50 inches wide. Our Polaris RZR is 50 inches wide and let me tell you, I would cringe as we were going through these barriers but we didn’t scrape so all is well!

The trails in this area–the Yankee Fork–are well used and rugged with some challenging riding. I only got out and walked once–that’s my gauge for how scary the trails is, I walk if I’m that uncomfortable and I take Emmi with me!–but I was tempted to get out more than once!! There was some side hilling that really made me cringe but we all survived! The fifty inch trails interspersed with other wider trails and roads were very narrow, usually incredibly steep with lots of trees to avoid–challenging!

Even though the trails were well used we saw very few other people–less than five rigs per day–even on the weekend. The fall colors were spectacular as was the scenery in this historical former mining area of Idaho.

We rode four days–50 miles, 55 miles, 80 miles and on the last day 47 miles. The dogs and the people all enjoyed each other’s company and we had a great trip. Tuesday we all loaded up and headed for home bucking a dang gale force wind all the way back to Montana. The wind brought the smoke supposedly from the California fires and it was miserable Tuesday night but by Wednesday morning all was clear once again.

Every day we rode past the ghost town of Bayhorse–an Idaho state park, closed for the season. The above photo shows one of the buildings and the next photo is of the kilns used in the processing of the gold found in these hills long ago.

And another dwelling of some sort

I will share more of the photos in the next blog posts–don’t want to overload you! Our fall colors in Montana are glorious right now too and the temps are downright chilly with frost most mornings–fall is here and winter not far behind. Now, if it would just rain or snow!!

I love this photo of the Cowboy taken by Lesley!

26 thoughts on “A Change Of Scenery

  1. What a shame Bayhorse was closed . It is a very interesting place to see . You can’t go into any of the building or couldn’t when I was there last but still a lot to take in . South of there is an old mining town by the name of Custer along with an old gold dredge call Yankey Fork dredge you can go through . Vern in Boise


  2. Your photos are wonderful!
    We were in Oregon last week, near Portland, and the colors are just
    turning there also. So pretty, love this time of the year too,
    Your trip in Idaho sounds like so much fun…..just risky enough. 🙂


  3. Great picture of Mike. Love the Autumn colors. Yes I agree, a change of scenery is definitely good for the soul. It’s one of the main reasons we enjoyed heading for the southwest each year and one of the reasons we preferred to stay on the move much of the time.


  4. nice picture of Cowboy, and pretty scenery. You take such good pictures.
    it has cooled here, but still no frost and none forcast for the next couple weeks. for our area in SE North Dakota, this is very late for a frost.


  5. Looks like you had a wonderful time with good friends. I’ve never heard of the 50 inch rule! Sometimes I get out and walk too, not often but sometimes!


    1. I too don’t walk often but sometimes! Lesley is an accomplished ATV rider and she was nervous in the spot where I walked! There is a theory out there that the larger four seater/wider machines tear up the trails but we don’t think that is true–it’s a generalization lumping everyone who rides a bigger machine into one pile. Machines don’t tear up the trails, riders do. Our machine in Arizona is wider and we don’t tear up the trails–we are too old!😋


  6. We spent a couple of days this summer exploring that same area but only in the truck. Bayhorse was open when we were there and it was interesting the dredge is amazing. Glad you got away fir a break. Weather is getting much nicer down here. 68 this morning. Great picture of the cowboy.


  7. I wholeheartedly agree, a change of scenery is good for the soul! And sometimes we don’t know we need it until we get away. It looks like you had a wonderful trip with good friends in a beautiful place. And no smoke, and the first colors of fall…so good for the soul. That’s a terrific photo of your cowboy. 🙂


  8. What a fun trip! Love those golden trees, old mining areas and especially that cozy fire! Your happy hours and meals sound yummy and delightful too…so fun to spend time with good friends.


  9. Yes, getting away is so much fun. And you found lots of cool things. Love coming across old mines and structures. Glad you found the fall colors…beautiful!! That is a wonderful photo of Michael. A definite keeper!


  10. Finally home where I can read this post more slowly and have time to comment. I haven’t explored that area in 30 years, back in the days when I did some remote soil survey work. Funny, don’t remember a thing about it, except the drive to Challis. Those roads looked scary for the 4-wheelers. I used to map on a Kawasaki 125 but getting that thing over logs was a pain in the whatever. The trip sure looked like a great time for friends and fun. Sad that empty boondocking sites are so rare any more. Wondering how long you will enjoy fall and winter before heading south.


  11. Did you travel on the Custer Motorway?..I didn’t see that you visited Challis Hot Springs, they have two nice pools and camping on the river..
    I’ve traveled from Seattle to Challis several times over the years…Really beautiful but one of the coldest places come Fall & Winter..Looks as if you had fun!


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