Hot springs of Idaho
...but still no snow We do get to sun valley but sadly the snow report is just as abysmal as it was back in colorado. We talk briefly about simply packing it in, heading for portland and beginning our focus on ZENVANZ and building out a couple of sprinters... but we can't help but stop along the road to hit a few hot springs... since that know seems the primary focus of this "winter" road trip.
Along the way we roll into twin falls, expecting nothing but having a fantastic experience at shoshone falls. Didn't even know this place existed and were started to simply drive up by accident, but provided a great layover for our drive and a great place to enjoy a breakfast burrito en route.
North of sun valley we do a quick search for hot springs and talk about a day or two hopping from spring to spring, but somewhere along the way we realize a pretty massive storm is heading for Mt Baker (they seem to be getting a lot of those this year), so we pick out what we think is the best and get underway.
As we pull into the lot the snow if falling and its a lovely setting. We fire up the heater and wait long enough to ensure its going to be blowing hot air and keeping the dog cozy in our absence and depart the van.
It was a lovely walk as we descended into the park along the river. We has seen the river from the van and underestimated a bit the walk downriver to the springs, so jen had a pretty chilly walk early on, but as we got into the trees the skies opened up and gave us a full on white out for most of our walk in...soon it was just plain cold... She's a real trooper and couldn't have looked cuter in her bikini and boots and long puffy hiking through the snow.
At one point I feared we should turn back (mostly worried about her being wet and freezing on the way back to the van after a soak) but we soon spot steam rising from the spring and waterfall ad carry on our way.
We had read that there was a spring just along the banks of the river with a waterfall flowing into it. True enough...but said spring was only lukewarm and only a few inches deep at best so we headed back uphill to find a few lovely and perfectly hot springs looking out over the river.
We helped ourselves, felt lucky to be the only ones around and stayed for far longer than anticipated relaxing in the pool and snapping photos. Pure Bliss. The roads we take winding through the mountains are lovely and as sun sets over the backdrop we realize that we cant make it around a single curve without spotting deer or elk along the side of the road.
We go into hyper-vigilent mode fearing a herd of elk standing directly in the road or a deer leaping out in front of us, but made it through this pass feeling great about the wildlife sightings and thankful they all stayed safely on the side of the road.
We hit the highway and drove a bit more after dark before finally pulling over and camping for the night.