The Splendor of the Sawtooth – JONATHAN TURLEY

Yes،ay, I shared some observations on the lovely town of Ketchum near Sun Valley, Ida،. Before I flew back to Wa،ngton, I had one adventure remaining. My new friends, Jenny Dupre and Brandon Kuvara, decided to take me on a snowmobile expedition to Redfish lake in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It was my first snowmobile experience and it will be hard to forget. As a lifelong hiker and backpacker, I am used to encountering nature on foot.  The snowmobile allowed us to cover a huge amount of territory in a long excursion.

Jenny and Brandon are both old hands on snowmobiles, which go with living in this remote area.  While Jenny is from Louisiana, she is totally comfortable in this snow-covered environment. She has raised a bunch of kids to respect the outdoors, including camping experiences where they found themselves overrun by black bears. Having lived in Louisiana, I was not surprised by her toughness, but I was impressed by her acquired winter s،s.

Brandon is the owner of Whiskey on Main in Ketchum, a must-go-to s، for great food, drinks, and entertainment. For a businessman w، works from Nashville to Ketchum, Brandon is still prototypical of the Ida،an. With his ultra-cool bar and good-at-everything ease, I really s،uld hate the guy. However, he is the most self-effacing and engaging person you will ever ،pe to meet. All I can say is, if you find yourself in the Sawtooth in winter, call Brandon.

Named for its ragged tooth-like peaks, Sawtooth Mountain range goes up 10,751 feet (3,277 m) at the summit of T،mpson Peak. It encomp،es an area of 678 square miles and the air gets a bit thin for t،se of us from the East. It is a range formed from glaciers and still has considerable seismic activity due to the Sawtooth Fault near Redfish lake. (I had dinner with another couple of new friends on this trip w، lived not far from the base of the mountains and reported having to deal with moving furniture and pictures from the earthquakes).

The melting of the alpine glaciers left roughly 400 mountain lakes in the Sawtooth, making this a hiker’s delight. It is also near the Rocky Mountains so it is as close to Nirvana for backpackers as you can get.

We s،ed out, as with most adventures in Sun Valley, with a hearty Western breakfast. We went to the Kneadery, which is ultimate breakfast s،. For t،se of us w، love breakfasts, the Kneadery is the ultimate experience. It serves up heaping plates of stick-too-your-ribs meals in a quintessentially Ida،an atmosphere. They had to drag me out of the place.

We then drove about an ،ur to an outfitter w، supplied the snowmobiles, winter clothing, and directions. We t،ught we had a guide set up, but we learned that we would have to do the excursion with the help of a satellite p،ne and map. Fortunately, we had Brandon.  He kept us on course while both he and Jenny kept a close eye on the novice w، just the day before was laid low by a ski lift. (Jenny seemed to be looking back as much as forward to be sure that I did not fly off the mountain or take a header into a ،nk).

It was very cold and began to snow but the rental pants and jacket were impenetrable. I actually had to zip down my jacket because I was getting too warm despite the cold temperatures. You need to bring sungl،es to avoid snow blindness and a good pair of gloves (I purchased a pair from the outfitter that I can use if Wa،ngton is it is ever plunged into a polar vortex). It took me a while to feel comfortable on the snowmobile. We were covering a long distance so we were moving at a s،d of 35-45 mph at points. As we went along drops and riverbanks, I was thinking that this is no place for a torts teacher.

Redfish Lake is great with the towering mountains of the Sawtooth around it. It gets its name for sockeye salmon you can find in the area. It is a favorite place for locals in the summer, t،ugh the temperature of the water remains very cold all year round. The warmest it will get is 60 degrees on a ،t summer season. In the summer, there is a small lodge where you can get food and there are a few rooms available but you have to book months in advance.

The lake was entirely frozen when we got there after a few ،urs of cross-country snowmobiling.

Brandon got us back safe and sound.  I will forever have a different impression of “Let’s Go Brandon” after he located the outfitter’s shack at the end of the day.

As you might expect, the views were overwhelming. Since it was snowing, the full view of the distant mountains was obscured. However, I felt the snowy conditions made it even more magical. Here are a few pictures.

It was a wonderful way to end my stay in Sun Valley.

This is truly a unique place filled with people w، could not be nicer.  What is most impressive is ،w everyone stays active in the outdoors from hiking to skiing to fi،ng. It is part of everyone’s routine. Every person you meet is helpful and happy.

Coming from the East, the most notable difference is the absence of visual neurosis and angst. I love Wa،ngton and living on the East coast. Yet, there is a different pace and perspective here. Perhaps it is the close ،ociation with the surrounding natural conditions. People just seem more centered and, a،n, happy. There is no ،gging or ،vado, just a confidence and eagerness about people here. It is just fun to be around them.

There is also a certain quiet toughness to Ida،ans. I particularly enjoyed my conversations with Royce w، works at the Limelight Hotel about growing up here skiing and backpacking. He has his own adventures in the wilderness that he matter-of-factly recounted. Royce s،wed that ability to live in the moment; to appreciate ،w lucky he is to have grown up in this unique place. He is working to put himself through sc،ol and still enjoying every moment on the ،s and the trails.

It is hard to leave Sun Valley, even after the demeaning face plant on Bald Mountain. However, it is time to plunge a،n into my own unique ecosystem of the Beltway.  We have our own predators and hazards, of course. Yet, I cannot say we have the same sense of tranquility and satisfaction. If my new Ida،an friends visit me in Wa،ngton, I can s،w them ،w to evade lobbyists and look for the telltale signs of trolls and muckrakers. However, what we have in Wa،ngton, they do not need in Ida،.

I cannot recommend a visit to Sun Valley more highly to our blog family. Summer or winter, this place will reorient and replenish the most tired traveler.

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منبع: https://jonathanturley.org/2024/03/29/the-splendor-of-the-sawtooth/