The sun warmed us amongst the tall Ponderosa. Almost done packing we were greeted by the camp host who reminded us of the mysterious hot springs shower. "If you don't walk in the river you're not there," he explained. Our gear was packed in minutes.
The well worn trail skirted along the Payette leading to a high pool on a rounded escarpment. We soaked in the shallow pool admiring red, green, and black biofilm before heading towards the shower. A submerged causeway of stone led between the cliff face and a large eddy in the turquoise river. We waded through the icy waters to another sandy beach. The great rock face above us exuded red and black snot that hung down in long strands. Rivulets of geothermal water ran over the shining stone. Below, the small slope of river deposit had been organized into a few cascading pools fed by a 20 foot waterfall of steaming liquid. We alternated roasting in the waterfall and cooling off in the gentle eddy. Thoroughly relaxed we returned to our metal steeds and powered up the hill.
The Banks-Lowman road continued high above the river. Soon the forested hillside gave way to rocky cliffs and we dropped along the canyon walls. Out of the protective shade the sun's rays baked us as we rode on to Garden Valley. We found the Garden Valley Market and quickly dominated a cafe table with our mountain of food. Finally we ate the 5-serving tuna can found in Montana by way of taco buffet. We conquered a bag of cheetos and wrote. Eventually it was time to brave the heat again and finish the descent to Banks.
We were met at the crowded intersection with an exodus from the North towards Boise. Relief from the heat was close at hand in the North fork of the Salmon. The cooling refreshment spurred to try and hitch North to McCall with such heavy traffic. We positioned ourselves in a nearby gravel lot and stuck our thumbs out. Soon enough a red van approached us and we met Toni, her dog Bo, and a blind bobcat named Woody. Toni, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist, graciously drove us to McCall and insisted on dinner on the town with her husband Rich. We happily fell asleep on a spare bed in a delightful food coma.