Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sites in Elk River, Idaho

So, this past weekend, my husband (Mr. Lucky) and I, along with our dog, Bonnie, ventured all the way from Orofino to Elk River. Elk River is about 40 miles over the bridge and through the woods from here. However in the interest of not shaking the heck out of our motorhome we take the long way around making it about 83.7 miles one way. We avoid a lot of gravel, dust, and ginormous chuck holes.

Elk River is home to roughly 700 thousand miles of ATV trails. Well, maybe not quite that many, but a lot of them. The forest around is noted for its abundance of huckleberries, and Elk Creek Falls.

It is also home to a Giant Cedar tree. It is thought to be 3000 years old and worth a look along the paved foot path to get to it. I’m not sure how tall it is but I wouldn’t want to climb it.

Having put our shoes to good use on Saturday trekking to the ‘Giant Cedar’ we (I) thought it would be a good idea to experience the legendary Elk Creek Falls (in Idaho, that's crick) which is a series of 3 separate waterfalls. The Forest Service has made a number of trails, mostly dirt, with viewpoints for all three of the falls. Did I mention this was a foot path, like the one to the giant cedar tree? Anyway, the trails are marked quite nicely every so often with mileage posts so you know how far to the next one. Ha. It was apparent that the Forest Service had an excess of 1/4 mile markers or maybe the guy or gal who put up the signs had a sick sense of humor. Either way we trekked along the longest quarter mile stretches in history. Three times. From one junction we chose to go to the Upper Falls....1/4 mile with an arrow to indicate the path. About ½ to 3/4 of a mile later when we reached the Upper Falls, the sign says it’s 1/4 mile to the Middle Falls. Another ½ mile and you can take the still scenic route to a viewpoint to the Lower Falls. We came all that way so why not? Another 1/4 mile in Forest Service signage is roughly ½ mile. Did I mention it was uphill both ways?

Along the way, when I wasn’t gasping for air, I was trying to think up ways to convince Mr. Lucky to go back to the parking area (after all it was only 1/4 mile away) and get one of our ATVs and bring it back to rescue me. It seemed more reasonable than having him shoot me and rolling me off over the bank. (There was a cold beer on the ATV). There was that silly rule about "no motorized vehicles" on the trail. Mr. Lucky is a stickler for obeying the rules. Well, most of them. Along the way the trail blazers did place a number of benches for folks like me to rest and catch their breath. Too bad they didn't install a few oxygen tanks.  

We saw quite a number of people, no one over 21, I’m guessing, some with small children in tow. One young mother had a child, maybe 15 months old, in one of those backpack gizmoes.  I cautioned her to allow other members in the group to take a turn at carrying him. No need she said. She would be fine. Hmmm. Over-achiever, I thought. One nice young couple passed us TWICE. They were really padding them off. I’ll bet they knew a shortcut.

If you happen to be in the northwest corner of Clearwater County stop at Elk River. We really 'roughed' it this weekend by only eating out once at one of the three eateries. If you happen to be a fan of huckleberries you can stop in at Huckleberry Heaven for pie and/or ice cream. Don't forget about the Giant Cedar and the Elk Creek Falls.