Clearwater NF, Idaho – Two Hikes

Here’s a special “Stress Reliever” post going out to Lesann and Paul.

Over the next two days at White Sand campground we did two hikes.

The Bridge to the Jerry Johnson trailhead, across the Lochsa River.

The first one was to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. It is truly amazing some of the thermal features found in the west.

Two Thermal Springs flowing out of the earth.

There you are hiking along a mountain trial and right alongside the trail you see, spewing like some great dragon nostril, a hot spring. Water, at 105℉, comes running out of a pair of holes in the earth and down to the river. Amazing!

A few hundred yards farther on we found the Jerry Johnson Hot Spring. Over the years people have built rock walled pools to trap the hot water for soaking. The water in the pools is absolutely clear and the pools for the most part have nice sandy bottoms. One has to wonder at the goings on beneath the Earth’s surface to provide this.

One can wonder, and still enjoy.

Small Pool Alongside the River.

It was Saturday and we had managed an early start so we had the pools to ourselves for long enough to have a good soak. Soon the Saturday crowd, complete with dogs, kids, and 12 packs of Bud Light started to show up and we beat feet for quieter environs, namely the DeVoto Cedar Grove; no hot springs, just some marvelous old cedar trees.

Devoto Grove

Red Cedar trees often live to be 400 – 500 years old. Slow growing, the trees reach 4 – 6 feet in diameter at maturity. If undisturbed they can live to be over 1,500 years old.

Aftermath of a Fallen Giant.

One particularly large tree had a bad winter and, due to high winds or lighting, came down in the grove. Looking at the aftermath one can imagine the extraordinary scene when the tree fell.

The DeVoto Grove is a serene, peaceful, place. Cedar needles blanket the forest floor quieting the footsteps, and only a few yards in from the road even the sounds of cars are barely heard. Along with the cedars are many varieties of fern and some interesting wildflowers.

Maidenhair Fern.


Unknown Orchid

Our last day at White Sand campground, and the Lochsa River, dawned overcast and cold with heavy mist hovering over the river and hanging on the mountainsides. There are no bad days in the mountains when you are a photographer.

Morning Mist on the Lochsa

Our Campsite on the Lochsa River.

Beargrass in Bloom.

Reflections in a small pond near the river.

The photographer in this team sometimes blows me away.

The beauty of the places we visit is often overwhelming. We find ourselves sitting, enjoying a beer or cup of coffee, and just watching it be there for us.

Lochsa is pronounced – ‘Lock-Saw

The road, Idaho Route 12, follows the Lochsa until its end when it meets the Clearwater River.


3 responses »

  1. Love the tree hugger photo–requited, or unrequited…? Agree on the photographer’s ability! Tom

  2. Just started following your blog. Very enjoyable. I just ran across this archived post and noted the “unknown” orchid. I think it’s a Calypso Orchid. Anyway, great photos and keep travelin on!

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