Last weekend Mike and I hopped in our friends Land Rover, destination unknown. The four of us had planned to raft on the Snake River, but we got a late start and suddenly it seemed more stressful than fun. So we transferred lunch and layers of clothing to the Rover (her name is Red) and hit the road. We pulled out maps and essentially put a finger down on a backcountry Forest Service road. Red can go pretty much anywhere, being the high-clearance-off-road-beast that she is.
We took off over Trail Creek Pass and into the Pahsimeroi-Lost River region of Idaho.
The Lost River Range is home to the tallest peak in Idaho, Borah Peak. It’s a relatively remote mountain range, with some very hard to access areas.
We entered the range near Mackay and immediately climbed up and over Doublesprings Pass. The road was still good at this point, mostly gravel and dirt.
The weather was iffy, with big storm clouds rolling in across the valleys, but we kept going. A little rain doesn’t stop Red.
After Doublesprings Pass we took a right toward Horseheaven Pass. At this point, our map ceased to be useful and the road got rough. So we drove on feel, heading in any direction that seemed promising. All of sudden, we saw our yet-unknown destination.
This wrinkly mountain became our focal point. We picked roads that led toward it, the best we could tell.
We crossed a few streams, eventually coming to a small (and empty) ranching outpost along the East Fork of the Upper Pahsimeroi River.
We all agreed we wouldn’t mind a few weeks back here – miles from civilization on rough roads with a view to stop you in your tracks.
We waved goodbye to the little outpost and kept pushing toward the mountain. Then, the rain began. It was beautiful in the rain. I had a horrible time keeping water off my lens, leaving me with a pile of rain-dotted pictures.
Then something amazing happened. It kept raining, but the sun started to peek through. So we had rain, sun, a stunning mountain and then – a double rainbow.
I continued to frantically wipe my camera lens to dry the rain spots as I took picture after picture of the valley. I later learned, through researching the topo maps, that the peak is called Mount Corruption.
We spent a good hour photographing in the rain. We began to pull ourselves away as we were two hours from sunset, and had many miles to travel out of the backcountry and back home. Well that was the plan, at least. Because honestly, after a stunning and unexpected valley, then a rain storm, then a double rainbow, how much better could the day get?
On the way back over Doublesprings Pass we spotted the moon rising over this seemingly unnamed mountain (which I think looks remarkably like a pendulum).
We sat and watched the moon slowly inch it’s way into the sky.
As it did, dusk fell over the Pioneer Mountains, in the direction of home.
We drove slowly through the Thousand Springs Valley before making the drive up and over Trail Creek Pass once more.
On the way home we raised an invisible toast to good friends, phenomenal days, and to Idaho.