August 1-6, 2016. We spent a relaxing week in McCall Idaho, stand-up-paddle-boarding (SUPing) and cycling, and when we left we were wishing we could move there. It's like Jackson Hole without crowds, gazillionaires and surly ski-bum's. I love the Teton's but the town of Jackson is a damn joke, so we opted for something a little less commercial and touristy this year for our summer vacation. Yeah, don't roll your eyes, McCall is definitely a tourist town, but in comparison to J-town it is a quaint, bucolic back-water village.
Take road cycling for example. Try cycling anywhere in Jackson Hole and you're basically on a suicide mission. Motor homes, Escalades and Harley Davidson's buzzing you endlessly at 60+mph, just inches from your elbow. In comparison, while in McCall I cycled from main street up Warren Wagon Road to Upper Payette Lake and back, approximately 25 miles round trip, and I was passed by only five automobiles all day. And the riding was beautiful: a blur of deep green and blue, a thick Douglas Fir forest surrounding a deep mountain lake. It doesn't get much better.
The SUPing was even better. Payette Lake is like Tahoe without the tourists and crowds. (Broken record here). Our rental had walk-to beach access, with none of the damn parking problems of Tahoe, of which if you don't arrive by 6AM you'll have to park a mile away then walk to the beach. Payette lake is big and deep and surrounded by a thick evergreen forest, and the boaters are friendly and give you a ample elbow room. We were never nervous of errant boaters running us down. Better yet was paddling the Payette River, which is the inlet to Payette Lake. It is a beautiful meandering mountain river with zero current for about the first four miles above the lake. Boring? Hell NO! It was perfect for paddling, and with the endless meanders it gave us a continual change of scenery.
The bottom line it was a total kit-back, relaxing week.
|Payette Lake. Our rental is about 100 feet into the trees above the tip of Kara's board.|
|View S. The smoke from the fire near Sun Valley slowly spilled into the Payette Valley during our week and by week's end it was not nearly as blue-sky'ed as you see here.|
|Just leaving the Payette Lake and entering the meanders of the Payette River.|
|Beautiful meanders of the Payette River.......|
|Just north of the inlet to Payette Lake.|
|That's Kara about to re-enter the lake after paddling four miles up the river.|
|Climbing wall, just above the river, for the nearby boy scout camp.|
|As you can see the river is not deep and withou a current.|
|Our rental. Quiet. No phone calls. No traffic. Couldn't hear or see our neighbors.|