Friday, August 31, 2007

Ketchum or bust

Craters of the Moon, big snore. Even Robert winced a little. I think he was expecting a meteor crater like the one in Arizona. This was more like acres of upturned asphalt. Weird, definitely. While I grilled the park ranger about fire conditions in Ketchum, Robert skimmed the visitors' center to learn the origin of the the "craters." Yawn. Lava field, essentially. Okay, can we go now? Allison was weary and wanted to stay at the tiny RV park at the site, but I fixed that by telling her there were "crater monsters" out there and we should leave right away. Yes, let's go to where there are forest fires instead.

Since we'd come all this way and we were so close to the turnoff to Blaine County, we decided to go for it. The fires were mostly contained we were told and a few phone calls to local RV parks told us that the area was back up and running. We set our sights on making it past Hailey to the Meadows RV park. If we felt uncomfortable with the situation--if the air was too hazy or the locals started looking anxious-we'd circumvent and keep moving. After leaving the lava fields the drive became pretty. The mountains on the approach to Sun Valley were an unusual olive green, or maybe sage green since it was only sage that dotted the hills, and even though the valley floor was green with crops, the soil was bumpy and rocky. The skies were bright blue with masses of puffy white clouds. The whole setting was so pastoral and calming that all my apprehension faded away. Once we hit Hailey the man-made charm began. The main thoroughfare through town was lined with attractive shops and restaurants. We passed under a marquee announcing Bruce Willis' band playing tomorrow night. Darn, we have a seven-year old with us. We'll be walking trails and visiting wagon museums and the Sun Valley Ice Rink. But, Hailey, Idaho is just so darned cute, just like it's name. Try repeating Hailey, Idaho three times in a row. You'll sound like a kindergartner chanting vowels.

There is a faint whiff of wildfire smoke in the air, but for the most part the skies are clear and it appears we have made a lucky move. Many events were canceled and the usual Labor Day weekend crowd is a no-show. All the better for us to discover Hemingway's last haunt.

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