We pulled in late the day of the drive across Nevada and were treated to a lasting day in the Northern Rockies . Idaho, by dint of being in the northwest corner of the Mountain Time Zone, has extremely late evenings in the summertime, with ample light available until well after 10pm around the solstice.
Being before the 4th of July, the tourist seas
on hadn't quite kicked in and we basically had the place to oursleves. Plus which, the spring had been kind to the land with mild temperatures and more rain than the area typically sees. June, it would later turn out, was a record-setting month for Sun Valley with over 5.5 inches of rain, and we caught the margin between the bad and the good weather. The land was lush and green and the streams flowed fully.
Daily hikes from mellow (Adam's Gulch) to grueling (Pioneer Cabin via Corral Creek) were the order of the day and provided the full range of nature experiences, including the death defying when a surprise thunderstorm chased us down
hill from a 9000' ridge with uncomfortably close lighting strikes, crashing thunder, cold wind and pelting hail stones the size of grapes.
Summit Creek was perhaps the ideal blend of wild, high scenery and good weather. We got a late start, leaving Sun Valley around 4pm, which is insane if you know anything about mountain weather. But we got lucky and enjoyed blue-bird skies into the mid-evening and were the only people exploring a lush alpine valley with extensive beaver dams and excellent views of the northern end of the Pioneer range. The terrain was a little muddy in places, after the wet spring, and we were surprised by a lot of snow still clinging in the shadier parts of the trail. But all in all this is a great hike, with a gentle uphill and a great payoff for the effort.
On the way back down we surprised a cow moose who'd been grazing in the willows. She crashed out of the creek bottom like a freight train and headed up the opposite side of the ravine, stopping after about 50 yards and looking back to check us out.