Weddings, Ghost Towns, and Gold: Another Idaho Roadtrip

So my recent trip to Idaho had me reminiscing about the last occasion I had reason to be in Idaho: a beautiful lakeside wedding in the Sawtooth mountains. It was quite a drive from Albuquerque.  Maybe it shouldn’t have taken us twenty whole hours, but the dog was still a puppy, and we had this compulsive fear that he had to pee every two hours.

What a Long Ride!

One of Many, Many, Many Dog Walks

Why bring the dog to a wedding? Well, it was a dog-friendly kind of place.  And since we were camping the few days before the wedding, we didn’t want him to miss out.  I say it was a success. The road trip certainly got him comfortable with the car. He can’t wait to jump in and stick his nose out the window!

The Happy Couple

Wedding on Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake- Stanley, Idaho

Isn’t That Pretty?

Hello, Friend!

Town Not too Far from our Campsite

The Mountains

While the wedding and all pre-wedding events were in scenic Stanley, Idaho, the reception was in Boise the following night.  So we hit the road- route 21 that is, and made our way through the Sawtooth Mountains, a driving feat that was equaled in beauty by the amount of concentration it took to maneuver those windy roads.  I was too busy driving (eek!) to take many pictures.

Sides of Some the Mountains. Fire? Pine Bark Beetle?

Are We There Yet?

When we came across the tiny town of Idaho City, we were ready for a break. Or should I say the dog was once again spoiled by our obsession with doting on his bladder.  We parked and got out, stretched our legs and started walking around.

Idaho City, Idaho

Funny thing about Idaho City, not a lot of people around. From the no trespassing signs on the houses, we gathered that the homes that were inhabited didn’t really want you there. I’m sure if they looked out their window, they weren’t brought to rapturous joy by the sight of me standing there with my camera.

Anybody there?

Anyone Home?

Is That a Ghost? No. It’s Just My Reflection

Apparently Idaho City is your classic gold rush town. They struck gold in 1862. The miners came in flocks. They built the town. It had many bars and brothels. The town was all wood. It burnt down. There was so much gold they practically rebuilt it over night. It burned down again several more times. Each time they rebuilt with one of their most plentiful resources, wood.

Anyone here?

One of the Rather Empty Main Streets in Town

This One’s For Sale

Kevin Loved These Old Tools

I Spy a Hose! Somebody Must Use It!

Idaho City was the true wild west. I can’t imagine that after finding gold, one would have advertised it or felt safe walking around with it, far too many guns, and far too much alcohol for that to make any good sense.

Oh, boy

Imagine the Characters in this Place

Unfortunately, when the gold ran out, so did the prospectors.   There might be five hundred people living in Idaho City today. Aside from a few bicycling teenagers, we hardly saw anyone in town.  It was the weekend, so we weren’t sure: Do these places ever open? Or is this some living museum?



Any antique dealers please skip the rest of this blog entry and head on to the next one.  You see, Kevin might be horrified I am sharing this little bit with you because he was very excited when we came across this:



A Closer Look…


And then we turned the corner and saw this:

What’s This?

Very Interesting

Very, Very Interesting

The teenagers on bikes were kind enough to explain to us that someone owned the property but hadn’t done anything with it in years.

Thanks, Guys!

Kevin convinced himself there must be all kinds of forgotten valuable antiques in there and wouldn’t it be great to get a big shipping container and fill it up with this stuff and then we can sell it?

Gas Pump


Old Truck


Lots of Stuff

More Stuff

Two years have gone by and we have not fulfilled this plan, but hey, you never know.  Kevin likes a plan B.   (And if you, reader, happen to be the owner of this place- send me an email.  Let’s talk.)

We wandered around town again; this was too interesting.  We might have missed something the first time. A large white dog sat in front of a nearby house. Besides the boys, it was the first sign of life we’d seen. “Is that a wolf?” Kevin asked. It sure looked like a wolf. The dog’s owner came to the door a moment later, staring out at us with eyes that weren’t exactly saying, “Hey, would you like to stop in for a cup of tea?”

“Is that a wolf?” Kevin called to the guy. “Yup.” came the reply. “Wow.” Kevin said, “He looks like he could eat my dog for supper.” “Come any closer and he might.” Deadpan. This guy was in no way kidding. I tugged on Pondi’s leash, “Okay, moving on.” I told Kevin. He didn’t argue. Not with that wolf looking at us. We headed down around the block, quickly, ever so quickly now.

Boise Basin Museum

People! Or at Least Evidence of Current Human Transport

A coffee shop sits along the side of the road, and if there’s one thing that Kevin needs on a road trip, it’s coffee.  Turns out the place had just opened. The owners had moved to Idaho from Hawaii. “From Hawaii?” was Kevin and I’s reaction of utter shock.  Hawaii is one of our favorite places.  The owner assured us that the problem with Hawaii is that if you ever feel like a change of scenery, you have a very long way to go.  The people in the coffee shop were very nice.  They didn’t even mind when our dog escaped from the car and came bounding inside.  They just smiled as we sheepishly lead him back out.
I picked up a flyer from one of the tables explaining that there is still unclaimed gold out yonder in those hills. Hmmm. A stop for gold panning? We didn’t. But now with the price of gold, I don’t know, maybe it would have been worth an afternoon.

Pause… as I consider deleting the last few sentences… I mean I don’t want to start another gold rush, now do I? The man with the wolf might not appreciate it.  And if I keep this information to myself, well then, Idaho City can be my plan B.

Homeward Bound!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s