Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Salmon Headwaters opening up

Most people know it as The Sawtooths.  Some call it Sawtooth Valley and others say "SNRA" or Sawtooth National Recreation Area.  From our point of view, it's The Salmon River Headwaters.

Way, way, WAAAY up in the far upper reaches of the Sawtooth Valley, deep in the shadow of Galena Pass you will find a teeny, tiny little trickle of water small enough to skip over on foot like Mary Poppins skipping through a field of flowers.  Here is where the Sound of Music of The Salmon River begins its beautiful melody, murmuring north toward destiny.

Soon, other small rivulets begin to join the party and then larger stream of water spill out of glacial lakes strung like diamonds along the feet of the might Sawtooth Mountains.  When Red Lake's outflow thunders into the fray, The Salmon begins to grow up.  Finally, Valley Creek muscles into the mix and a genuine river is on full display as the waters leave Sawtooth Valley to begin an epic journey to the Snake almost 400 miles away.

Most people visit Sawtooth Country to gape at the mountains or bask in pine-studded campgrounds.  Whenever we visit, we always feel we are there to say "hello" to the young Salmon River and enjoy its frisky adolescent behavior amid the glacial morraines and mountain meadows.

Each year public access to various portions of The Salmon Headwaters unfolds like the turning of pages in a book. Generally, it's not until Memorial Day (in a drier year such as this) when almost all the public roads, campgrounds and so forth become fully accessible.

Some facilities will remain closed until early June but most are open now.  Since Sawtooth Country gets so much visitation each year, the Forest Service tries its best to keep people posted on what's open and what's not.  You can click here to see their May 10th report on accessibility.  This link isn't a generic link to access future sporadic reports.  You will need to go to the Sawtooth National Forest main website to find the link for the next and subsequent reports about the status of various facilities up in the Salmon Headwaters.  The graphic below is a screen shot of the Forest's main webpage.  We've circled the correct link for your to click to view the SNRA's various reports.  Here's the main Forest link: http://www.fs.usda.gov/sawtooth

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