Sunday, July 13, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish, Redfish Lake...

The Facts

During our trip to Idaho, we spent a few days at Redfish Lake Lodge.

His Side

During our trip to Idaho, we spent a good portion of our time at the Eichelberger family farm in Kuna, but took a three night trip to the gorgeous Redfish Lake near Stanley. I had heard a lot of things about the journey from the farm to Redfish Lake. Mostly, I heard that the “Idaho City Route” was long, windy, and treacherous. So, we decided to take the other route through Horseshoe Bend. As Kristi and I loaded up in my brother-in-law’s car (the car without the baby), he cranked up the GPS and we took off. On the way, I posted a status to Facebook and sent out a Tweet explaining to everyone how I would be “off the grid” because I had been told there was no cell phone service at Redfish. That’s not something I was thrilled about, but I didn’t complain or mind too much. There are worse things than not being able to check your fantasy baseball team or being able to keep up with entertainment news on Twitter for a few days. 

As the GPS led us on our journey, we ended up following a sign toward Idaho City. Kristi expressed her concern that we were going the wrong way but my brother-in-law was convinced it was fine. It turns out both of them were correct. Kristi was right that we were going the Idaho City route when we planned to go the Horseshoe Bend route, but my brother-in-law was right because it was fine. I actually liked it. That route winds you through some very scenic mountains and didn’t seem very treacherous to me. And, of course, I took some pictures.

Once we got to Redfish Lake, we checked in and got our stuff unpacked in our rustic cabin… rustic is relative, though. We had a stove, oven, electricity, hot shower, plumbing, etc. That’s roughing it, right? We did lose electricity for a few hours at one point, though, because of a small tree falling into some power lines. Those few hours felt a little more like roughing it because it was nighttime and we had to do things by candlelight.

The thing about Redfish Lake is that it is GORGEOUS. It’s a good sized lake nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains. I am reasonably well travelled and have seen a lot of things, but that ranks right up there near the top. Serene is a good way to describe it. I apparently didn’t have a strong enough reaction to everything, though, because Kristi thought I didn’t like it or wasn’t amazed by it. I kept telling her I was, but she wasn’t sure because I didn’t show it. I did, however, show it when we experienced the most awe-inspiring view of the entire trip:  the stars.

There isn’t a town (other than Stanley which boasts a population of 63) within 60 miles of the lodge. What that means is that there is very little light pollution. Light pollution is what most places have that prevents you from seeing all the stars that grace the night sky each evening. One night, after spending a great time around the campfire with a large group of Kristi’s cousins, we were walking back to our cabin and we looked up. I didn’t know there were that many stars. I saw the Milky Way. I know what you’re thinking:  “How can you see the Milky Way when we are in the Milky Way?” That’s what I was thinking and I don’t know how to explain it unless you’ve seen it. 

It wasn’t just seeing sights and taking pictures in Redfish, though. We also hung out with family. There were around 30 family members there spread between cabins and camp sites. The first two nights were spent with everyone at a camp site making s’mores and cooking exorbitant amounts of meat on the campfire. Two of Kristi’s cousins had been vegetarians and decided it was time to come back to the good side (the carnivorous side). And when they came back, they came back in a big way. For the camping trip to Redfish, they bought a huge stack of spareribs, a pork shoulder, three or so pounds of bacon, and more. It was delicious, too. I ate so many spareribs one night that I ended up feeling sick. It turned out fine, though. 

We also took a trip to Sun Valley and Ketchum (two of the closest towns). Ketchum was cool because they had some boutique art galleries with some stunning photography. And Sun Valley (a ski-resort town) featured some shops and such. One shop had a pair of pants on the CLEARANCE RACK for ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. This is a place Kristi’s relatives mentioned seeing Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, and more. We didn’t see any celebrities, but that’s okay. It was still a nice jaunt.

Highlights of the Redfish Lake trip included made-from-scratch buckwheat pancakes two mornings, a paddle boat ride on the lake (which Kristi stepped out of her comfort zone to do with me), a trip to a cool ghost town, and the most serene view I’ve seen in a long, long time. That spot was a spot you get to by stopping on the side of the road, walking through some trees, and sitting on the small stone bench in front of a smaller lake near Redfish. There aren’t boats on it, the water is still, and the Sawtooths tower over it showing their reflection in the glasslike surface of the water. 

It was a great piece of the trip and I would go back in an instant. It turns out, though, that I did have cell phone service. Kristi wasn’t thrilled about that but it did turn out to be good because the few of us that did have service could get in touch with each other when needed. I guess Verizon isn’t kidding when they say they have the largest 4G network in the nation. I only had 3G most of the time, but that’s pretty good. I would have been more than okay without cell service, though. It’s a gorgeous place and I would recommend it to anyone.

Her Side

There is something satisfying about being alone with nature and the ones you love. That’s what I LOVE about Redfish Lake… for the most part. In every other excursion to Redfish Lake in the past, there was no such thing as cell phone service. If you wanted it you would drive into the closest town about 10 or so minutes away. But why would you need your cell phone when part of God’s beautiful creation is at your fingertips to admire and enjoy?

This year was slightly different as those with a particular cell phone carrier had coverage in the breathtaking Sawtooth Mountains. I suppose it’s a good thing on some level that a select few had access to their phones at any time since long gone are the days of making plans to meet up at 2 o’clock somewhere. Now it’s an age of “I’ll text you the time and place.” Nevertheless, the almost technology free trip to Redfish Lake was wonderful. 

We recreated one of our favorite family trips by renting the same big cabin and having an open door policy with all Eichelberger’s staying at Redfish (nearly 30). We had meals, toasted marshmallows, and sat around enjoying one another’s company. Not to be redundant, but it was wonderful.

I was especially excited to take Nolan to Redfish Lake because there is such a breathtaking ride and view up to it. While Nolan certainly found the beauty I have been telling him about for months, it wasn’t as awe inspiring to him as I had hoped (but I’ll chalk that up to the fact he’s traveled around the world a bit). What did take his breath away were the stars. That might sound weird, but they were amazing. Once the sun finally set around 10:30pm, the sky lit up with stars and the walk from a cousin’s campsite to our cabin was spent with necks bent to the sky. Millions and millions of stars… the Milky Way… gorgeous.

While at Redfish, we took a few little excursions. We went to a ghost town called Custer. It was an 1890s mining town and
full of history and neat artifacts. Not to mention it was down a super, super long dirt road. On said dirt road, we thought we might be encountering the likes of the Walking Dead (no joke…it was creepy) and we were ready to use the van as a bowling ball of sorts and take those suckers out. It turns out the “walkers” were merely a group of folks practicing scuba diving… honest mistake, right?

We went into Sun Valley (yes, the same one that boasts of having great ski slopes), which is a fair distance away from Redfish but well worth the side trip. Sun Valley is a town that I felt I wasn’t rich enough to even step foot in. When you walk past a sale rack and hear someone exclaiming how great a deal a sweater is…. at a mere $600, you know you’re a bit out of place. Nonetheless, it was a great little town to explore and its neighboring town of Ketchum had tons of neat shops and art displays (something that sucked Nolan in immediately).

This trip to Redfish made me realize that we tend to spend too much time dealing with the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and just be. Just be content with nature and all it brings. Just be at peace with wherever you are in your life. Just be with family and the ones you love.

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