My husband was asleep when we crossed into Idaho. A sign announced that we were also entering Pacific time. The kids could call their uncles and say, “We’re in your time zone now!” We were getting excited about arriving, but we didn’t know what adventures awaited us first.
The drive on route 12 through the Clearwater National Forest went through the densest wilderness we’d seen yet. My husband woke up and we began to wonder when (if?) we would ever emerge into something resembling a town. Eye-stunning beauty saved us from anxiety. We didn’t really want to emerge.
But every great journey reaches its end–that’s one of the things we’ve learned on this trip–and this one terminated in, well, nothing resembling a town, but the loveliest lodge we’d stayed at, right on that eponymous river.
River Dance was like nothing I’ve ever experienced…a combination of summer camp plus luxury…and good food instead of soggy grilled cheese and bug juice. (Actually, I loved camp food, but I was 13.)
The minute we got there, we were treated to a tour of our spacious, two story log cabin–the kids loved the sleeping loft, while my hubby and I ogled the private hot tub on the deck). Next, we were asked what we wanted to do.
Do? You mean besides sit in said hot tub and gaze at the sparkling river? But when the options included a lesson on baking over a real outdoor fire–just like Ma did it–and a whitewater rafting trip even our non-swimmers could handle, we decided to get active.
What followed were two days of pure fun. That night we ate the carrot cake our leader showed the kids how to bake in a spider over a fire, right after a meal of European specialties fixed by our Czech hosts.
These included homemade stuffed peppers one night and prime rib the other. Plus parmesan mashed potatoes. Salads were made up of a dozen fruits, nuts, and vegetables, with dressing made with local berries. And there were appetizers fresh out of the oven–these too creative to be described. Let’s just say the kids never liked green beans so much as when they were served mozzarella stick-style with a teriyaki dipping sauce.
The rafting trip was another odyssey–I think my four year old may grow up to be a guide. The kids’ faces when we hit rapids were studies in bliss and excitement, but the guide made everything feel safe with her expert rowing and watchful eye. She served up lunch while we swam at one of Idaho’s white powder river beaches. Freezing water, homemade cookies. Then we followed an eagle the whole way down river.
And that hot tub did feel good.