Words by Yuri Hauswald; images by Adventure Scout Media
I was a free range kid before raising free range kids was thing. See, growing up on a farm in rural Petaluma, CA, in the early 70s, without a TV, meant that I spent plenty of time outdoors roaming the hills looking for adventure when I wasn’t doing ranch chores. I was also lucky enough to have parents who would regularly pack up our family to go camping, houseboating, and skiing throughout the western states, all of which deepened my appreciation and love for adventure.
This spirit of exploration and wanderlust followed me into adulthood and served me well when I regularly spent my summers following the NORBA circuit, racing and living out of the back of my Subaru.
Sun Valley, ID, one of the places my parents introduced me to in the early 80s, left an indelible impression, and became a shining beacon for future travel and exploration in my adulthood, which is what eventually led me to Stanley, ID. Located in the central part of the state, and surrounded by the Sawtooth, White Cloud, and Lost River ranges, Stanley is more village/hamlet than town, and is a year-round home to a rugged group of less than 100 individuals- that might have something to do with the fact that it’s regularly one of the coldest locations in the United States.
It also happens to be one of the last strong holds of the Idaho frontier. Not only is it situated within the 756,000 acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area, but it has 50 peaks over 10,000 feet, hundreds of remote, high alpine lakes tucked away in the jagged mountains, is the headwaters of four major rivers, and has hundreds of miles of forest roads that criss cross this pristine landscape. It’s safe to say it’s an adventurer’s paradise.
I have been traveling to Stanley, ID, for nearly two decades, exploring its rivers, lakes, and trails, but it’s been the sinewy network of dirt/gravel roads that spider in all directions that have really captured my attention and sparked my sense of wanderlust. This fascination led me to connect some of the dirt roads from Galena Lodge, which is situated about 40 miles south of the Sawtooth Basin at the base of Galena Summit, to Stanley, and finally complete an adventure ride that I’ve been scheming for years. So here’s to embracing the “free range kid” within each of us, to seeing potential adventure in the landscape that surrounds us, and to seeking the stillness in nature that can be so good for our souls.