With the stay at home order finally lifted and approaching 6 months of no solitary travel, I was eager to hit the road at the first possibility that presented itself. Not being one to ever take a straight route to anywhere, I choose to add a short loop into Montana then took a short cut through the mountains to Lolo Pass which allowed me to make my way down the wild and scenic Lochsa River corridor. I’d never driven the Lochsa route in the spring, and the cottonwoods dispersed along the riverbank were just budding out with light green foliage. I then drove south up the South Fork of the Clearwater River and ended my day on the Camas Prairie at Grangeville.
With rain in the forecast for the following morning I headed south on hwy 95 to the dryer climate along the Salmon River. At Riggins I turned east and followed the Big Salmon River Rd. I watched sun rise over an old bridge then continued into the canyon for a visit to Allison Creek, surrounded by an oasis of green. Another venture off the highway on the Middle Fork Weiser River Rd. took me along the scenic creek with patches of wildflowers in bloom along the banks. This shooting experience in the pouring rain was invigorating. I spent the evening shooting assignment work for a client near Boise and retired early to the hotel. Sleep eluded me as it often does when I’m excited and this was the day of my big desert adventure. I left the hotel at 2am and three hours later was deep in the Owyhee Desert doing some map reading under the full moon. About 10 more miles of rough two-track road through the sage and lupine and I could make out the tops of the aspen grove in the predawn light. My oasis destination did not disappoint. Safely back in town I did another quick assignment, then made my way to Challis for the night. I watched sunrise from a ridge top in the Salmon River Mountains, another amazing experience of solitude and grandeur.