Thursday, February 5, 2015

Free as a Bird in White Bird, Idaho

Finally, the planets aligned, the Gods gave their blessings, the weather cooperated and school schedules came together so we made a quick get away to our winter home, White Bird, Idaho.

With the promise of sunshine, I picked up Hailey from school on Thursday and we made a bee line to warmer temperatures above freezing in central Idaho.  It is amazing how my spirits soar as I slide behind the wheel leaving on a new adventure.  We eat dinner on the way in the truck and arrive at out destination for a weekend visit to our little home.  It doesn't take long to get the few essentials we brought along put away and we settle in for the night.

I stopped by a video store and purchased Season Two of Alias, an old TV series which is our entertainment for the evenings which still get dark early in the river canyon.  Since we actually have electricity at Swift Water we are able to watch the Big Screen (24inch) TV rather than the portable DVD player. We turn on the electric fireplace and are soon toasty and we can use as much electricity as we need. Bring out the snacks.....we enjoy a relaxing evening all to ourselves


We woke up to morning fog that burned off later in the morning revealing a bright blue sky.  Oh my gosh, it has been so long since we have seen a cloudless day, with a blazing yellow ball streaking across the sky.  A perfect day for a hike in a day with temperatures rising to the 50's.  We are located at the bottom of the White Bird grade, just outside of the tiny town of White Bird with the population of 150 people.  After breakfast we, packed a lunch and headed out for a hike to the White Bird Battlefield Site.

White Bird Battlefield is one of thirty-eight sites that make up The Nez Perce National Historical Park.  The primary visitor center is located at Spalding and is approximately seventy miles north of the battlefield on Hwy 95. The center is open daily from 8:00 to 4:30 (in the summer 5:00PM)  the visitor center has displays,  a movie and pamphlets available to explain the significance of the Nez Perce Historical Trail. 

We are near the loop left of the center

The history behind this battle is all to familiar in Native American history and early settlement of the West.  Treaties were made and then broken when the hint of Gold or available land caused a press to develop the Western Territory.  When the treaty was broken,  the Native Peoples began moving to Lands far from their Peoples had lived.

looking down at the battlefield area

Five Native scouts waving a white flag met a surge of soldiers in this place. Shots rang out from the soldiers and the battle soon began.  I can't help but wonder, what if the soldiers hadn't fired......
What if they had just talked?

The terrain factored in the battle as the gullies allowed places for the Native people to hide in safety.

The areas the Nez Perce peoples lived in a hundred years ago is still to this day not highly populated.  What if they had been left to their Native Lands?

 We watched birds sailing overhead and landing on the cliffs.  Finally we were able to get close enough to discover that they were a family of pigeons.

The culture of the Nez Perce believes the peoples of the Earth are one with the Mother Earth. You do not own the Earth.  You come from the earth and one by one you are returned to the earth of your forefathers.  To leave the place of your forefathers was unfathomable. 

This place is a place of quiet serenity and reflection.  You cannot be here and not feel the presence of those who have gone before.

There are no buildings or artifacts in the area only a few distant ranches.  Only the legacy of what happened and what might have been and this statue.

After our hike we traveled farther up the old Highway 95 to the top of White Bird Pass.  I had heard harrowing stories of travels up this grade and decided today was the perfect day to travel its winding climbing way.  From 1915 until 1975 it was the only Highway connecting North and South Idaho.  This is definitely not a highway for the faint of heart nor those pulling a trailer. 

Looking from the new highway that was completed in 1975 to the winding old highway, you can see some of the switchbacks winding to the top.

The following day we took off for McCall Idaho for the Winter Carnival.  I am generally not one to attend festivals due to the large number of people..... the the lure of ice sculptures was to great as I have not seen anything carved from ice and snow.

We were shrouded in fog most of the drive to McCall and when I saw something worthy of a closer look....of course there wasn't a place to pull off and check it out more closely.  Such is the life of a wanderer.   Up, Up, Up we went.......

During our arrival we were caught up following a local bus..... on to a parade route.  We came to view the snow and ice sculptures and instead got caught up in a parade.  Trust me, everybody was there along the parade route.  Every where we looked there were people.  We were close to the last vehicle driving the parade route before the parade started,  So what were we to do..... We waved. We eventually found a parking spot and walked to the parade route to see what all the fuss was about.

Every vehicle from around the area was there and I suspect in the parade.  Some of them not designed for road travel.


                 Even a few green aliens!!

Nothing like a small town parade....everybody embraces the parade.....literally it is difficult for the parade floats and participants to make way through the crowds.   They literally become one.

Shopping cart drill team

The theme was Mardi Gras so watching carefully and ducking from flying candy and beads was necessary.After we had our fill of watching the parade we made our way down to the waterfront and

People watching is the best fun!!

After we had our fill of watching the parade we made our way down to the waterfront and

Hailey did some foot skating on the lake.

We walked around town to get a couple of pictures of ice sculptures.  We weren't able to get to some of the best sculptures but did find a few to satisfy our curiosity. 

  My favorite was of course a bit of vintage charm.

                                      Hailey's favorite was Olof in a tribute to the Movie Frozen.

 After the parade was was like a tidal wave of people.....everywhere, milling around like ants.

Suddenly all the police and security guards were gone and it was literally a free for all.  People where cars should be....Scotty Beam me OUT of Here!!  When I was feeling a tiny bit of road rage, I decided it was time to go before before I plowed my way through the lingering crowd.

Ants, Ants I say......Everywhere!!!

We saw a couple more cute ice sculptures on our way out of town that we could photograph.

We had planned on eating in town before we traveled back to our trailer......
A quick change of plans....sandwiches made in the truck and a fast exit out of town.


The peaceful drive back to the trailer through along a nature filled highway was restorative and I was calm and at peace as we arrive back at our little home.

 All too soon we need to return to our city home.... but will soon be planning another getaway !!


  1. Beautiful photographs! The change from dry rolling hills to snow covered lakes and mountain streams is quite dramatic. Looks like you had a fun day!

  2. Great getaway!! Your happiness exudes all over the post. My heart just breaks over the Nez Perce story and for all our cruelty to those whose land this was when we came to terrorize them. I would love to spend a summer following the pow wow trail and visiting these sacred sites. Fun to see the ice sculptures though I feel exacting like you about too many people. Thanks for this post.

    1. ExactLY.....spell check......grrrrr

  3. So glad you guys had such a great getaway! Your excitement in slipping behind the wheel was palpable. What a lot of variety you managed in such a short trip! Love the ice sculpture vintage trailer and the "Hailey Tree!"