Nip and Tuck Road, a Gateway to the Sawtooths

With a rare July temperature drop and storm approaching, we weren’t exactly willing to do the whole overnight hike and wilderness camp thing for the weekend. Instead, I was feeling more sissy la-la and preferred to stay in the truck for a night. After some Saturday morning chores, we decided to get out of town take a trip. An overnighter is easy preparation-wise – we only need to set up the truck bed platform, toss in the sleeping bags, some snacks and off we go.

The midday drive was beautiful. Not too much traffic on the Highway 55 commute, and many people were gathered at the turn-off by Banks Cafe. The previous hot weekend we rocked a Class IV “easy” run down the lower South Fork Payette River Canyon. It felt great to finally have a dual experience – one driving and one rafting in a now very familiar territory. But that’s a whole different story. Our third drive to Stanley this season flew by, and with its familiarity I begin to think it’s not that far. It’s only a couple of hours away from Boise, when in reality, it is still pretty remote and maybe it is better that way. Eventually we arrived at the turn off for Stanley lake. This time we turned the opposite direction, and onto Nip and Tuck road for some dirt road driving. Robby said we are taking the long way to the city. Indeed, we ran into four wheelers and further on, campers securing their night-time locations in the beautiful hills overlooking the Sawtooth Mountains and the highway to Stanley. Since our plan was to overnight in our truck, we scouted for a campground to ourselves. We noted a couple of places and continued on to Stanley.

Nip and Tuck Road on the way to Stanely
On the way to Stanley.
Mount McGown
A dreary evening near Stanley Lake.

In the city, we afforded ourselves a nice dinner, all very unusual compared to the common hiking drill we normally repeat. This time around, we were there to enjoy. Nothing more but relax, eat and have fun. I felt a bit guilty skipping on the high-intensity and stress part that normally accompanies me in our wilderness endeavors.

After the dinner we headed to a potential sunset shoot at Stanley Lake Creek. I traversed our Toyota over a large puddle flowing from the nearby beaver-dammed pond, and this was my first “offroading” experience. After we parked the car, we were off to capture light hitting the great McGown Peak.

Setting our photo studio by the creek – one that gets attraction from local wildlife – we may have spotted three deer, or perhaps just the same one drinking by the water three times, who knows. Sadly we weren’t able to catch them on record, yet still got some gloomy shots of the mountain tops.

Heading back to the long way to town, we were able to set camp at one of the spots we’d hope to claim earlier. We selected our 4×4 bedroom under the stars along a spur just before it ended with a No Motor Vehicles sign.

Catching a summer sunrise over the Sawtooth Mountains from Nip and Tuck Road.

After a peaceful overnight mist, we were up just in time for the sunrise at 6am. We drove a bit down the road and Robby found a great location for a morning shoot. The same mountains from the previous night’s scenery were transformed by a wide canvasing view from the overlook. The weather change did it’s magic, and finally after a while, it offered a sky full of clouds, beautiful morning light, with everything falling into place for a magnificent sunrise. After the first composition, Robby was eager to explore the area for other beautiful scenes.

Sawtooth Mountains panorama, sunrise, wilderness, Idaho
Morning light over the many peaks of the Sawtooths.

We headed back to Boise early at 7am, just in time to drive through an amazing summer storm on our way back. We arrived to Boise with the whole day ahead of us, and another great weekend adventure under our belt.

Nip and Tuck Road
Curvy 4×4 turns.
storm clouds, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
Dramatic July weather.
Cows grazing near Valley Creek
Cows grazing near Valley Creek.
Williams and Merritt Peak, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
Williams and Merritt Peaks from Highway 21 in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Valley creek winds through a meadow near the Sawtooth Mountains
Valley creek winds through a meadow near the Sawtooth Mountains

This article has 3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures. Slovenia looks like a beautiful place. . .I would like to visit sometime.

  2. These images are simply magnificent. I’ve always felt that Idaho is the best kept secret when it comes to nature. People visit Colorado, Utah, and the Sierra Nevadas but never venture further north. When you do though it’s ALWAYS worth it. Thank you for sharing such amazing photos.

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