If you stay in one place long enough you are bound to do the same things over again.
As a child in a family of six during the hot summer days we would pile in the family vehicle (which ever it happened to be at the time – van, truck, sedan) and head ‘upriver’. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that these family cars had air conditioning thus it was even hotter by the time we arrived at a little riverside beach.
Nowadays, when we are at home during the summer, the heat finds us repeating a twenty-five year old tradition…going ‘upriver’.
The Lochsa River (pronounced “Lock-saw, unless you are from New Jersey then it is pronounced “Low-Sha”. No offense meant, there is a story behind that…) is named so in the Nez Perce language meaning, “rough water”. Indeed, it is. The river drops nearly 2,000 feet in 70 miles. It is a high intensity, world-class whitewater attraction for kayaking during late spring during the runoff, complementing Idaho’s nearly 3,000 miles of sporting whitewater.
The Lochsa River is a placer where you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience all summer long! About the time this season slows down, the locals are ready for swimming. Since the river is primarily fed by melting snow in the Selway-Bitterroot mountains it can remain very cold all the way into late June.
Of course, no river outing is complete without a sandy lunch, or in this case a fresh S’more made over a driftwood fire! Yummy!
The mountains are so steep on either side of the river that you are in complete shade by 6:00pm and the water starts to feel a little more like melted snow.
The extremely hot weather here is more than enough to offset the cold water. Sunday it was 108* F. It was a great day and by the time we left, climbing back up the bank, we could have taken one last dousing…alas, we’ll save it for next time.
(It isn’t difficult too understand after looking at these pictures why I include WATER in my Summer Days series novels, “The Fishing Trip” and “The Pismo Beach Bicycle Thief“. I grew up in the water…)
It wouldn’t be fair if I did not tell you that the drive between Idaho and Montana on this river road (Scenic Highway 12) is one of the MOST beautiful I have ever had the privilege of taking. If you are within, say, 500 miles, you owe it to yourself…