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2003 Q3 Random Vacation
(43°48.018' N, 113°45.516' W - Mackay, Idaho, USA)

Day 5 (4 Sep 2003)

00:00 UTC - 02:00 UTC (To Boise)

Starting Day 5, I was driving from Ketchum to Boise to buy a replacement camera before the camera store closed, and before the self-destruction of my camera completely collapsed my mood.

Marilyn: Is Sam insane or what? 6 plus hours roundtrip for a stupid camera when he already has a spare.



Sam Driving to Boise


As I was driving though my mood was already bad.  I was pretty upset about my camera breaking.  And although I couldn't blame them and was trying to be good about it, I had kind of hoped for company on my trip to Boise.  So I was getting more negative as I drove.


After a bit Marilyn called to ask where the handheld GPS was, because they were thinking of climbing the ski slope behind where we were staying.  Oops.  I had it with me.  I was too far gone to turn around and deliver it.  They would have to go without it.  Sorry.


Although I was sad I would miss it, because I wanted to do that, I told them to have fun climbing the slope.  But then as soon as I hung up the phone my mood started turning black.


Cause I had really wanted to go up that ski slope, and even if they went again, it just wouldn't be the same.  They were having fun without me while I was sitting in a stupid car heading for Boise to replace my camera which had broken and which I couldn't really afford to replace.  It sucked!!


Anyway, a couple hours of driving in a miserable mood later, I arrived at the mall in Boise.

Marilyn: I really wanted the handheld GPS so that Chad and I could track our climb. Well, we ended up doing the hike without the GPS. Trust me Sam, you were not missing out. It was a very strenuous hike. My most challenging feat ever. Well, you could have come along to carry me up the mountain…damn you for being so stubborn!

Chad: It was a lot of fun, sorry you missed it too.  Although, you would have slowed us down I bet. :)


Boise Mall


As I entered the mall, I took a picture of the map to document it...

Marilyn: Like you can read anything from that stupid map.



Mall Map


As I was taking that picture a security guard ran up to me yelling...  "NO PICTURES NO PICTURES!  I CAN'T LET YOU TAKE PICTURES"!!!


Um, OK.  It is a mall.  But OK.  Whatever.


I put the camera away...


Until I got to the Idaho Camera where I had called and reserved my camera...

Marilyn: Maybe the security guard thought that you were a terrorist.

Chad: No pictures in the friggin mall?  That is stupid!


Idaho Camera


And then, as soon as I went in, I saw my new camera, in its box, sitting on a shelf with a little tag with my name on top!

Marilyn: And of course, Sam just had to take a picture of it.



Nikon 5700 Box

02:00 UTC - 05:00 UTC (Get Camera and Stew on Way Back)

I had to wait in line a little while, but finally got my camera, paid for it (wincing at the price, which was significantly more than if I had bought it on line) and ran back out to the car.


I immediately ripped open the packaging, pulled everything out, got the 1 GB memory card out of my old camera and got the new camera up and running.


And is is my tradition, the first picture with the new camera, was a picture of the old camera(s).

Marilyn: And don’t forget that Pringles on the seat that I gave you to eat on your long road trip.



Old Cameras


Just as I was getting ready to leave the mall and start the drive back to Ketchum, Marilyn called. 


She and Chad had made it to the top of the ski slope.  It had been a great and exciting climb up, getting steeper the higher they went.  There was a great view on the top.  They were sitting on ski-lifts and such.  Marilyn's camera had also broken though.  So they had no pictures.


I offered to go back into the mall and buy Marilyn a new camera too, but she said not to.


Anyway, Marilyn and Chad were now on their way back down the slope.


The call about the fun happy trip up the slope had done nothing for my mood.  I had wanted to be on that hike!  Grrrr!


But anyway, I did have my new camera, and that was something.  So as I was on my way and saw a pretty late sunset early night view, I of course stopped to take some pictures.

Marilyn: Two cameras breaking in the same day…what are the odds of that happening? The timing was terrible for my camera to break after Chad and I climbed for 2 grueling hours and no pictures to show for it.

Chad: It was indeed heartbreaking.


Late Sunset


Night Road


Double Moon

05:00 UTC - 07:00 UTC (Stew at the Springs)

As I got back to Kethchum and approached the condo, I figured I should go in loudly and slowly, because Marilyn and Chad were probably down the slope by now and making out in the hot tub or something.


They were not though.  By the time I returned Marilyn was already in bed, and Chad was sitting on the couch watching TV.


I was still in a very bad mood.  The whole drive back I had just been stewing and getting madder and angrier.  Now, I *knew* it was completely unjustified.  But I was very monsyllabic when I got back.  Chad asked me how the trip was "Fine".  Chad asked if I got the camera "Yes".  Etc.


After not too long, Chad headed to bed.


But I was all wound up and all angry, and not ready to sleep.  And I knew I had to work it off.  So I went outside for a walk.


I ended up walking around and around and around the block where the condo was.  I was going to walk until I was in a more civil mood.


I walked tyhat loop over and over and over again.  Passing the condo on one side, and the ski slope that Marilyn and Chad had climbed on the other side.


After about 8 or 9 times around the block, just walking and thinking and trying to empty my mind and calm myself, I was starting to get quite tired and my mood was starting to improve.  Not great yet, but better than the completely spiteful mood I was in when I got back.


As I was walking around again, I decided on something I had been contemplating since before I got back, but had been unsure of.  Now I was sure.  I would wake up at the crack of dawn and climb that slope myself.  I'd go up and back in the morning, essentially "catching up" with Chad and Marilyn, perhaps even before they woke up.  Yes, that would be it.


I completed my tenth lap around the block, then I went back into the condo to crash.

Marilyn: There goes Sam being Sam again while Chad and I are fast asleep.

Chad: I am sorry, I evidently did not pick up on the fact that you were in a bad mood.  I am sorry about that!  Then again I am kind of an insensitive bstrd.

07:00 UTC - 13:00 UTC (Sleep)


Marilyn: I was snug as a bug in a rug!


13:00 UTC - 17:00 UTC (Up Bald Mountain)

Before going to sleep I had checked the GPS to see what time sunrise was and had set the alarm for that.  In normal life, I hit the snooze bar for hours before actually getting up.


This time I was determined though.  Even though I'd only had six hours or so of sleep, I got up immediately.  Cleaned up quickly in the half bath upstairs (couldn't do a full shower because those were in the bedrooms downstairs which were occupied).  I left Marilyn and Chad a note saying I was going to go climb the slope.


Then I headed out the door to the slope.  Even waking right at dawn though, by the time I was at the bottom of the slope ready to start it was fully light...

Marilyn: Trust me that it looks much easier that it really is. Sam did not know what he was getting himself into.

Chad: Best hike I've been on for a long time!  Well, at least since Day 2.


Bottom of the Slope


It started getting steep very quickly.  And I was reminded once again how out of shape I was.  I had the GPS set to always show me how far I was from the condo.  And I would watch it, and every 0.01 miles or so (sometimes 0.02 in a not so steep zone) I would stop for a couple minutes to catch my breath and look back at the ever receeding ski village below.

Marilyn: Keep going Sam…you barely made any progress.



Looking Back


After about half an hour of hiking up, I got to the level of the "Flying Squirrel 9" skilift.  Aside from the one at the bottom, it was the first one I passed.  It was a milestone of a sort.  And a chance to pause again.

Marilyn: How could you tell that it was named the “Flying Squirrel 9” sky lift?



Flying Squirrel


Looking Down 2


But looking up, there was still a long way to go!  And a choice to be made.  Left or right.  Left or right.  I chose left.  Following the Flying Squirrel ski lift.


Chad: Now, you're gettin somewhere!


Flying Squirrel on Left


Along the way periodically there were roads that crossed the slope.  It was tempting to just follow the roads, they had to go to the top I figured...  but I didn't.  I kept just going up.

Marilyn: That’s it Sam…continue doing it the hard way.



Picabo's Street


All the while of course, getting higher and higher...

Marilyn: Breathtaking….isn’t it?



Higher and Higher


And by this point, I was getting pretty tired...

Marilyn: Sam…what lovely nose hairs….yuk!



Getting Tired


But at this point it wasn't that much farther to the top!!

Marilyn: This is the point where Chad and I stopped and decided not to climb any higher.



Ski List at the Top


The last bit was the steepest yet, but I got my self ready, and then pushed on up.  And then I was at the top, in the lift house, looking down!

Marilyn: I am jealous. Chad and I should have climbed up to the top where the lift house was.

Chad: I tried to talk you into it! :)


Looking Down


And way down there at the bottom was where I started and the condo...

Marilyn: Doesn’t it make you want to try it? It was so easy…yea right but definitely worth the blood and guts to make it to the top.



All the way Down


But then I turned around...  and realized I was not yet at the top.

Marilyn: Sam has definitely lost his mind



Up from the Ski Lift


So I'm thinking to myself...  this ski lift house was where we had looked at from the bottom and said we would walk up to when all three of us looked up the slope and said we wanted to go further.  So maybe this was where Chad and Marilyn had stopped.  But maybe not.  Maybe they went to the top.  I would have to keep going.


I was in a much better mood already from all the hiking up the slope.  But I wanted to be SURE that I at least matched what Chad and Marilyn had done, if not more.


But that hill directly behind the lift was way too steep.  I didn't think I'd be going that way.  But there was a path going on to the left.  I followed that path.


Just a little ways down, there were a couple more ski lifts coming up the slope from below in a different direction.  I looked in the other direction, and sure enough, there was another slope, heading further up the mountain!


It was pretty steep, and almost as long as the last slope, but a little smoother...  the last slope had been full of scrub and gravel...  this was more grassy...  and up I went!




Grassy Slope


I do admit though, that as I got closer and closer to the top, I did once or twice take advantage of a few little paths I saw.  I had been going enough hours and expended enough energy that I was no longer going to eschew paths going my way...




Little Path


Where I had come from was now blocked by trees, but I could now see straight down into Ketchum proper.




Looking Down on Ketchum


Ketchum from Above


As I kept going, I looked at the GPS and there were a few landmarks that were on the topo map there.  One that I had been aiming at for awhile, and thought was as far as I would go, was this radio transmitter...




Radio Transmitter


But by this time I had my second wind.  And I knew I wasn't at the top yet, but geting closer and closer at every step.  And I was now almost sure that Chad and Marilyn had to have stopped lower.  They got up and back in the time I was driving to Boise and back.  Even if I was a lot slower than them, they didn't have time to have made it to where I was and back in that time.  I had to have gone farther.


I was very happy.  Time to keep on up to the top!  With of course an occational stop for the view.




View over the Side


And I was now high enough that I could see the lodge where I started up the mountain again...  way down there...  maximum zoom....




The Lodge


As I turned around another corner and headed up another slope, there was yet another lift.  It looked like this might be the top though.




Top Lift


It was around this time, as I neared the top, that I started seeing RUNNERS.  People who were actually RUNNING up the mountian.  Now, I'd been climbing for hours, slowly but surely, pausing every few minutes to catch my breath.  These people were RUNNING!


I caught this guy just as he reached the top of one hill and started slowing down as he reached the top...

Marilyn: Chad could run but I could barely walk up the mountain.

Chad: Only in short bursts, definitely not straight up!


Running up the Mountain


Then I was at the top, looking at the cool shaped ski thing...  which by the way was GOING.  I thought about the possibility of just hopping on for a ride down, but ended up thinking better of it...

Marilyn: Not to mention the lifts were not working because it was summer.



Space Ship Ski Thing


But I wasn't QUITE at the top.  The rest of the way was almost flat, just a small rise over about a quarter mile horizontal...  the actual summit of Bald Mountain was this little communications station....

Marilyn: Sam has turned into the little energizer bunny!



The Summit


Communications Station


When I got up there, there was a sign...

Marilyn: No that is a cool sign. Sam you should have stolen the sign!



Tresspassing Sign


I figured that just meant "Don't break in" and it was still OK to walk around the little porch, so I went on up.  Hopefully I did not get too irradiated.

Marilyn: Sam goes zap like a bug in a bug zapper!



Radiation Hazard


Right next to the little communications station was another lift...  the highest one on the mountain.  There were workers there adjusting it.  Doing maintainance to get it ready for the upcoming season I guess.




Working on the Lift


And of course there were some great views from the summit...




View  from Bald Mountain


View from Bald Mountain 2


View from Bald Mountain 3


View  from Bald Mountain 4

17:00 UTC - 20:00 UTC (Down Bald Mountain)

So there I was at the top of Bald Mountain.  According to the GPS I was at 9165 feet, and 2.09 miles as the crow flies from our condo "The Springs".  I had forgotten to check the altitude when I left the condo.  Have to remember that when I get to the bottom, so I would know just far up I'd gone. 


Around this time Marilyn called me to ask how long it would be until I would be back.  I told her I had just gotten to the top.  She wondered why it took me so long, she thought I would be almost back by then.


I asked her if she had gone all the way to the little house on top with all the antennas on it, or if she had stopped earlier.


She said they didn't quite make it to the little house but turned on the road right before and sat on a ski lift.  I asked why they didn't go the rest of the way, it was just a few feet more, she said because they were tired.  I asked if she went all the way to the top.  She said yes.


I had been sure they must have stopped lower down.  But Marilyn said she went to the top.  I wondered how they had done it so quickly.  It was dissapointing.  I was sure I had gone further!


Anyway, I told Marilyn I was at the top, and it would be a few hours yet until I got back down.  So she decided to take the rental bike out again for a little while.  Not sure what Chad was doing. 


I got the feeling they were a little pissed for me leaving before they woke up and not being there to get on the road to do something else for the day, but too bad.  It was repairing my mood wonderfully.


But for me, it was time to start heading back...  after another quick look at the view.

Marilyn: I did not realize that Sam turned into this little hiking guru. I was glad to have the chance to ride my bike by myself. I really enjoy my quiet time.

Chad: We didn't go anywhere near that high, unfortunately.


View  from Bald Mountain 5


...and a quick pose with one of the ski lifts that was NOT moving...

Marilyn: Cool camera shot Sam!



Sam on Ski Lift


So then it was time to go down for real.  Passing more people RUNNING up the mountain...

Marilyn: Check out that lady’s muscles. I need to get in shape like her.



Runing up the Mountain


Who then got to the top, turned around, and started running DOWN the mountain!




Running DOWN the mountain


Meanwhile...  Marilyn had gotten out of the house and was taking pictures of a wall of skis.

Marilyn: The wall of skis was so cool. A construction worker chatted with me and told me how expensive the wall of skis was…something like $20,000

Chad: I like the ski wall.


Wall of Skis


And bridges...

Marilyn: This Bridge was just so quaint that I had to take a picture of it.





And stream beds...

Marilyn: Check out the reflection of the water.



Stream Bed


Back on the mountain, as I trudged my way back down, I also stopped to take pictures of interesting things on the ground.  Like an old chain...

Marilyn: That chain looks like it has been rusting for years.



Old Chain


And a butterfly...

Marilyn: Oh how beautiful. That is my kind of picture!





Back in town, Marilyn wanted to buy me the Bear Bench.

Marilyn: This bear bench would be so cool in Sam’s back yard patio.



Bear Bench


And just a few minutes later, I had made it all the way back down off the mountain to the condo!


First thing, check the GPS.  Altitude...  5957 feet.  I had been at 9165 feet at the top.  This means that I had done a vertical climb of 3208 feet!  Plus a lot of horizontal distance too.  And then back down again!  Go me!  That was a LOT of hiking for Sam!


When I got in, chad was sitting on the couch watching something stupid on TV.


And Marilyn was working her way to Sun Valley.

Marilyn: I was having a blast biking to Sun Valley!

Chad: I was in a vegetating mood.  Then again, I often am...


Sun Valley Sign


I decided to immediately hit the showers.



20:00 UTC - 22:00 UTC (Getting Marilyn and Shopping)

While I got all good smelling again and then got ready with Chad to go pick up Marilyn, Marilyn was just wandering around the Sun Valley shopping area taking pictures and shopping.

Marilyn: Too bad that Sam and Chad had to pick me up right away. I could have wandered around a bit longer and checked out the shops! It was a beautiful day. The weather was just perfect.





Kid with Birds


Purple Flowers


But before long, Chad and I got there, and after a bit of searching, found Marilyn

Marilyn: Hola Amigos!



Found Marilyn


It took a little coaxing to get Marilyn away from the stores, but eventually we managed to round her up into the truck to go elsewhere.

Marilyn: It is no fun to shop with 2 disinterested guys! Where are my girlfriends when you need them?


22:00 UTC - 00:00 UTC (To Mackay)

After some discussion, it was decided that we would go to dinner in Mackay. Mackay was as far as we could tell the closest actual town to the random spot. We had not been there yet, and it was about time to do that. Before we got on the road though there were a couple of preliminaries such as returning the bike and letting Marilyn pose a few more times. Marilyn likes posing.

Marilyn: So this is your favorite picture of me Sam huh? Yes, I like posing, can't you tell?



Marilyn sitting on a Step


Marilyn in a Plant


So then we were off toward Mackay. Before too long we were back at that super twisty high mountain road with a cliff off the side. We stopped and let Marilyn out to take pictures.

Marilyn: There I am... me being silly again!



Marilyn Snapping Road


Truck on Road


After we got off the twisty road and back on basically flat land we noticed a mailbox out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, people do live here.

Marilyn: How strange is that? A mailbox in the middle of nowhere!



Lonely Mailbox


Even though we only had maybe another 45 minutes to go, Marilyn couldn't wait for food. So she stopped and got out a snack.

Marilyn: Aren't I a goof ball or what? No wicked comments from you Chad!

Chad: When have I ever made a wicked comment?


Marilyn Getting Snack


Marilyn's Butt


Then, with visions of Marilyn's butt in the back hatch fresh in our minds, we got on the road for the last little bit to Mackay, where hopefully we would get dinner. As we headed down the road, Day 5 ended.

Marilyn: Nice Ass shot Sam. I can't believe that you took that picture but then again I gave you a perfect opportunity... stupid me!

Chad: Yeah, nice shot Sam. :)


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2003 Q3 Random Vacation
(43°48.018' N, 113°45.516' W - Mackay, Idaho, USA)