Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn in Central Idaho

Woohoo! Three day weekend in Stanley Idaho! Karyn and I snuck away for a three day weekend in Stanley. We took the El Conquistador de MontaƱas, our full suspension mountain tandem. The weather was beautiful upon our arrival, but it wasn't supposed to stay that way. It is amazing how different the valley looks than when we were here in July. The green is gone. Dry grasses now replace the green lush meadows of July. The mountains are just as beautiful although there is a lot less snow. Many of the birds are gone, but there are still plenty to look at. The brush was turning red and the aspens were bright orange. It was beautiful.

On Friday we choose to ride our favorite mountain bike trail, Fisher Creek, as this was the only day with guaranteed good weather. The trail was as fun as ever. The temperature was about 70 degrees with little wind. A perfect day.

Saturday morning we awoke with the sound of rain. It didn't sound too hard. We decided to support the local economy by visiting the local bakery. Last time we were there they had fresh blackberry scones. Mmm. Unfortunately this time it was Blueberry. Still very good! We visited the Stanley Creek basin for some bird watching. We found a Prairie Falcon on a fence post. We watched it catch a small bird in the air. Wow! We hiked in the rain around the small stream looking for frogs and small birds in the brush. The rain really started to come down so we returned to the van for lunch. We opted for a hike in the afternoon instead of a ride as the weather was still threatening. We hiked a few
miles up elk creek into elk meadows. A Northern Harrier was flying low over the meadow. We decided to skip the trail on the return and hike through the marshy meadow. While soggy, it was beautiful. Tons of frogs, scared up some ducks, watched a Redtailed Hawk fly over. No large mammals though. It was probably all of the hunters out and about.

We decided to camp at Stanley Lake in the hopes for some great birds. Birds there were - 8 Western Grebes, lots of Common Mergansers, some Ruddy ducks, and a large group of American Coots. Our camp was filled with Mountain Chickadees and lots of Warblers I couldn't identify. Around dinner time there was a hatch of these little blue bugs with cotton ball butts. We watched as the warblers would fly out of the tree to grab one or two and then return into the tree. A few moments later they would fly out again for some more. A Brown Creeper landed on the tree about 6 feet away and creeped up to the top. It was an impressive show for one fall evening.

It rained hard over night. The snow level came down to just above camp. This ruled out a bike ride so we stuck with bird watching. We would catch a quick ride after returning home.

The view of McGown Peak from Stanley Lake.

As I have said before, fall is a wonderful time of year in Idaho.

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1 comment:

binnur said...

What a great weekend! Btw, we love blackberries, too. I have several bushes right behind our house. This year, for the first time I made a blackberry pie. It was delicious. Probably had a lot to do with picking it directly from the bush and baking it immediately. As fresh as it could get :)

--B