With the day dawning bright, clear and cold, we left the plains behind and veered north, up the Lost River Valley. The Lost River Range and the state’s highest peaks were holding the sky to the east, and the snow-capped White Knob Mountains were west. With the afternoon upon us, we decided to spend the night at Phi Kappa Campground, on the dirt road between Mackay and Sun Valley.
Set back from the road with only a couple of absent hunter’s tents for our company, the campground bordered a brush-choked bog, riddled with channels and beaver build outs. As the day waned over the White Knobs to the south, I walked through the half frozen slush til I had two wet tennies and some great shots of the autumnal brush.
We breakfasted, then set off down the road a short ways for a 1/2 mile hike up a ravine to the rumored falls. Bear tracks in the snow showed there were blackies with cubs in the area, but with our defender Denver in the lead, we set off across the half frozen creek under distant whisper of tumbling water.
The falls doing their thing. Soon after, we packed it back to the camper. As we hit the dirt road, their we were bracketed by two parked trucks 100 yards to either direction. I didn’t know what was happening, but my guard was up. As we approached the front truck, I saw he was glassing the hills above where we’d just come down.
Just then, two shots rang from the truck behind us. The guys were spotting for the poachers behind us! I just managed my most toothless grin and kept stepping, but that’s just bad acting.
It was an ambivalent end to a fantastic camping spot just up the road from Mackay.