This was our “big” day hike, so we woke with the sun to get the best of the weather. The drive to Horton Peak’s trailhead is long and winding and beautiful…until you reach the 5-mile stretch of bumpy dirt road and aren’t sure whether your Ford Fiesta will survive being tipped 180 degrees. Maybe I’m exaggerating. We did make it to the trail just fine. We only saw one other hiker, two fetching border collies, and thankfully, no bears. The view from Horton Peak is spellbinding; you can see four alpine lakes (Alturas, Yellowbelly, Petite, and Rainbow) and the White Cloud peaks on the horizon. We took a break at the top to eat chocolate bars and take in the scenery. But in the typical style of this trip, we felt a drizzle and started frantically running down the steep trail. Well, one of us ran. One of us danced down like the hills were alive with the sound of something. After a few minutes, it clearly wasn’t going to rain, but we kept our pace and ended up making it down in less than half the time it took us to hike up.
We took the scenic route from Horton Peak back to Boise – up Highway 21 through Stanley and the Boise National Forest. I can’t believe how much beauty there is in Idaho. It’s never-ending. Even driving is enjoyable there because every inch of landscape is mesmerizing. Highway 21 reminded me of Highway 1, which we drove last summer to Big Sur. Instead of California’s beaches and sea cliffs, though, Idaho has mountains and canyons and rivers and waterfalls. Illinois has….just kidding, Illinois has nothing.