Thursday, September 12, 2002

Since we stayed an extra day at Glacier, we're left with a heck of a drive today and tomorrow to get back to Salt Lake City, 900-plus miles away, in time to catch our flight.

Leaving Whitefish, we drove along the western edge of the 200-square-mile Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.

Flathead Lake, Montana

From Hamilton, Montana, we followed the Salmon River Scenic Byway south through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The Salmon River is one of the few remaining undammed waterways in the United States. North of Challis we stopped to watch whitewater rafters negotiate some rapids. I'll have to raft this river someday!

Salmon River, Idaho

Sawtooth Mountains

At Stanley, Idaho, the road stayed the same, but the name changed from Salmon River Scenic Byway to Sawtooth Mountain Scenic Byway. We reached the 8,450-foot Galena Summit at sunset.

Jana on the Galena Summit

Another 30 miles brought us to the trendy mountain resort towns of Sun Valley/Ketchum well after dark, where there was not a room to be had. We continued on to the small town of Hailey, where I'm convinced we secured the last available room in all of central Idaho, at the Hitchrack Motel, Gas & Grocery. That's right - It's a motel in a gas station. It was 58 bucks, the most we paid for a room the entire trip! We had to hang a towel over the window because the miniblinds were damaged. And guess where we had dinner. Right again - the gas station. Say what you will, but the place has character. 483 exhausting miles.

Hitchrack Motel, Gas & Grocery, Hailey, Idaho - Home for the night


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