Somehow we made it in one piece to Boise, ID. The blizzard let up roughly 200 miles north of Salt Lake City and the roads magically cleared as we turned westward on I-84. The temps dipped low (2F) as the stars appeared in the sky. We guessed the massive winter storm had moved slowly off to the north and east and we were on our way unhindered. Exhausted from the adrenaline laced drive (we almost kissed an Albertson’s 18 wheeler on the bum somewhere in the whiteout), we did however crash at a super nice Best Western in Boise (low-priced via wif-fi and Priceline on the way).
We were eager to get going and the skies were sure to be clear… so we packed up early to get a good start, only to find the morning sunrise sky was still pitch black at 8:00 am and the frigid reality of what a 2 degree night can do to a vehicle that’s sat all night in a parking lot.
COLD, REAL COLD and CRUNCHY. thank God we opted for the rental with the heated seats!
Three crappy cups of diner coffee later we had mapped out our route and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of sunlight, to see if the day would be as clear as we had hoped for.
We took off as the pink glow lit up the southeastern horizon and drove up Idaho state Highway 21 to re-discover a road that we had been unable to see last year (closed due to avalanches) on our way to Stanley ID. The road snaked its way through the ponderosa pines and frozen mountain stream as we climbed steadily from 25oo feet to 7,000 feet in a little under fifty miles. The crowds were gone, the summer tourist’s absent as we had the road entirely to ourselves. This backwoods scenic two lane was not a high traffic road and we loved it.
The skies were now sapphire blue with little wisps of cloud visible in between the tree tops, the snow was piling up along the road as we climbed higher into the passes of the Boise National Forest. The road was magnificent!
Perfectly peaked mountain tops framed by blue skies and evergreen fields of trees as far as the eye could see. GORGEOUS! It was CLEAR and peaceful and full of mountain glory. Idaho it seemed had delivered in spades!
As we drove the winding roads (Hwy 21) around the peaks of the Wasatch and Bitterroot Mountains we saw the dazzling display of Narnia come to life on a two lane twisty drive from the mundane to the extra-ordinary world of the wilderness ! I felt my heart unclench and my mind start to relax as we drove deeper and higher into the serene setting around us.
This is what we had come for. This is what I needed, this is what God had delivered for us. If this was the first full day of six, then we had a special time ahead for sure!
Thank you God… I whispered out loud as we plugged in the iPod and cranked up some of Brian’s’ digital catalogue of modern and ancient worship anthems. The cathedral of the open sky was singing in tune with the stereo as we drove from fatigue to refreshment in Idaho’s back country.
We took the route up the mountain passes and down into to tiny Stanley ID and then turned east on Idaho Hwy 75 all the way into Montana, following the snaking Salmon river from the mountain peaks to the beautiful river valleys strewn with rock and ice and rugged beauty.
We had made it. We were finally here and seeing for the “First Time” what we had always known would be there….
Tomorrow, Day 3 and the Land up North!