Fall in McCall

Mother Nature, along with Typhoon Songda, seems determined to deprive me of living the lines to my favorite poem, Helen Hunt Jackson’s “October’s Bright Blue Weather.” “Oh suns and skies and clouds of June and all ye flowers together, you cannot rival for one hour, October’s Bright Blue Weather.”   Though they may be able to deprive me of my October blue skies, they cannot rob me of my favorite season of the year, Fall.

How sad to be making this scenic drive with all the gorgeous Fall color in the rain!

How sad to be making this scenic drive with all the gorgeous Fall color in the rain!

McCall is located on the southern shore of Payette Lake.

McCall is located on the southern shore of Payette Lake.

I have a feeling this quiet and solitude is a rare occurrence.

I have a feeling this quiet and solitude is a rare occurrence.

Our drive down the Payette River Scenic Byway takes us through McCall, a tiny all-season resort town on the southerly shores of Payette Lake.  Friend and blog follower, “Tom the Awning Fixer” described McCall as “Idaho’s version of Lake Tahoe.”  Known for its year-round outdoor recreational activities, McCall is a cool respite from the summer heat with its mile-high elevation.  Winter brings one of the greatest snowfalls in the area, attracting Nordic skiers, snowshoers, and tourists drawn to the annual Winter Carnival.  But no one seems to be around McCall in the Fall…

Gotta love a place with a "Mile High Marina!"

Gotta love a place with a “Mile High Marina!”

Lots of cute little shops and cafes in town.

Lots of cute little shops and cafes in town.

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There are numerous Forest Service Campgrounds near McCall, Idaho, all of them decorated with the same signage, “Closed for the Season.”   After several straight days of misting rain and overcast skies in remote boondock locations, our solar panels are as thirsty as we are.   Ponderosa State Park seems to be the only game in town, so we head straight there, plug in our power cords, and head right back out in search of libations.  Funny, we both spotted the same Salmon River Brewery on our way into the park.  It runs in the family.  😉

Salmon River Brewery, highly recommended!

Salmon River Brewery, highly recommended!

This place not only had great beer, but also delicious food!

This place not only had great beer, but also delicious food!

Their prices were a bit steep, but thankfully they had a nice Happy Hour.

Their prices were a bit steep, but thankfully they had a nice Happy Hour.

Don't miss the chance for the Dark Villain Imperial Stout, best beer I have had in months!

Don’t miss the chance for the Dark Villain Imperial Stout, best beer I have had in months!

Ponderosa State Park, located right on the bank of Payette Lake, has to be the nicest State Park I have ever visited.  I am impressed by the spacious, level sites, the helpful Visitor Center staff, and the elaborate trail system leading right outside my door.   Of course, this comes at a price, but it’s well worth it to have hook-ups as we ride out the rain from Typhoon Songda.   This is the first park I have ever seen with “companion sites.”  There are two posts in the same parking area, which saves us about $10 per night.   We are two out of four rigs in the entire park, so sharing “one common wall” is not so bad.

Our "Companion Site."

Our “Companion Site.”

Namesake of the State Park, many of the Ponderosa Pines are 300 years old, growing up to 150 ft tall.

Namesake of the State Park, many of the Ponderosa Pines are 300 years old, growing up to 150 ft tall.

Why didn't I know about the McCall Outdoor Science School when I was a youngster? Gotta love an Outdoor school whose acronym is "MOSS."

Why didn’t I know about the McCall Outdoor Science School when I was a youngster? Gotta love an Outdoor school whose acronym is “MOSS.”

Many options around the lake, this one a Yurt.

Many options around the lake, this one a Yurt.

Also some private cabins in one small area outside the park boundary. Thankfully no garish McMansions!

Also some private cabins in one small area outside the park boundary. Thankfully no garish McMansions!

The hiking trails are deserted throughout the 1,000 acre peninsula which juts out into Payette Lake.  Granted, rain is in the forecast, but still, it seems odd to have this massive playground all to myself.  Being only 100 miles from Boise, I can only imagine the crowds that must flock to this beautiful lake during the summer months.

Payette Lake from the Osprey Point lookout.

Payette Lake from the Osprey Point lookout.

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As followers of this blog know, my brother Don is a fabulous cook, and he enjoys it.  I am a decent cook, but I don’t enjoy it.  I have lived full time in the Winnie for 3.5 years now, and never once used the convection oven.   But Don got a little carried away back at the “Rest Awhile Fruit Stand,” and if we don’t get rid of some of the apples he purchased, fruit flies are going to carry his Navion away!   So what better time or way to experiment than with a Fresh Apple Pie!

Fresh Apple Pie, made with Washington apples!

Fresh Apple Pie, made with Washington apples!

I have to say, the convection oven did a better job at baking the pie than a traditional oven. The hot air seemed to “lift” the pie crust, making it more flaky and tender. It took about five minutes longer, but it browned evenly and cooked through and through. I love Don’s fiery homemade chili, so I made him a deal…“You make the chili, and I’ll bake the pie!” A great way to spend a rainy afternoon enjoying Fall in McCall!

Don's Homemade Chili includes not only chili powder, but whole chilies too.

Don’s Homemade Chili includes not only chili powder, but whole chilies too.

The perfect Fall meal!

The perfect Fall meal!

And just in case you were wondering, yes, I walked off the pie…

Beautiful hiking trails all along the peninsula, well marked, and possible to combine for loops or longer hikes.

Beautiful hiking trails all along the peninsula, well marked, and possible to combine for loops or longer hikes.

There are lakeside trails and ridge trails along the Ponderosa State Park peninsula.

There are lakeside trails and ridge trails along the Ponderosa State Park peninsula.

Strange to be hiking along and come across this basket of sticks in the middle of the forest. I looked around for Gretel!

Strange to be hiking along and come across this basket of sticks in the middle of the forest. I looked around for Gretel!

Duck Cove

Duck Cove

Lily Marsh

Lily Marsh

The trail circles Lily Marsh

The trail circles Lily Marsh

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Many duckies in the Marsh!

Many duckies in the Marsh!

Can you see them better now?

Can you see them better now?

Beautiful Aspen grove in Meadow Marsh Loop.

Beautiful Aspen grove in Meadow Marsh Loop.

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15 thoughts on “Fall in McCall

  1. What a beautiful looking spot and to have it all to yourself! Looks like you are enjoying the colors even with the rain. Chris would love the Dark Villain Imperial Stout! Time to go bake an apple pie, yum!

  2. I’m sitting here at home, it’s 24 freekin degrees outside, and your brother Don’s fiery chili sure looks good. I now know what I’m making for dinner. The other observation is craft beer names. I see you had some “Moose Drool Brown Ale” from Missoula. I saw some “Elk Poop Stout” in South Dakota, had some “Polygamy Porter” in Utah, and my dairy farmer friend (and neighbor) makes “Roll in The Hay IPA” at his new farm brewery. I’m not really a beer drinker but I do admire the craft brewers for their creativity.

  3. We were there in August visiting family who live in McCall year round. It’s a beautiful place and I would love to go back again in our RV. During our stay we had lunch at the bistro, ate dinner and drank some brews at Salmon River Brewery (YUM), hiked a bit in the state park, rented a pontoon boat and cruised around the lake, went skeet shooting at a nearby hillside, strolled the downtown area and had relaxing time away from our 9-5 life back home! Yep, McCall is a place I could definitely visit again!

  4. Hi, Suzanne –
    So nice you and your brother have this opportunity to enjoy the country together. Lots of beautiful photos – especially like the Aspens. Not bad to have the whole little town to yourselves.
    Happy Travels.
    Pamelab in Missouri City TX for a while

  5. While the weather wasn’t ideal, it probably helped you have the park to yourselves:) Sweet!! Lots of colors going on! Beautiful pie! Glad you decided to try your convection oven. So many people are afraid of them. I went to a class at Lazydays for it, which was a waste! They say you are suppose to cook at a lower temp and less time and adjust the recipe. Not so! I use my oven all the time just like a regular oven. I follow the recipe for time and temp the way the recipe says. I found it browns (which I heard they don’t do). I’ve even made two turkey breast for Thanksgivings!! Pies come out perfect! Chili on a damp, cool day really hits the spot! Yum!!

  6. How great to have a personal chef along with you! Chili is the perfect rainy-day food. Although the weather hasn’t been cooperating, it has allowed you solitude on the trails, something I always cherish.

  7. Thanks for the armchair “visit” to McCall. We were there on a driving trip BRV and really need to get back to camp and hike, sounds like Sept maybe an ideal month. Are you headed east over the Sawtooths next?

  8. I stopped to see a blogger friend in McCall. We stopped at a ranger station and picked up a tape that guided us as we went all around the lake. It was interesting to here the history and some of the quirky stories, i.e., the Mayor and his brother. It was a very pretty drive. I can understand why some relate it to Tahoe.

    There are a lot of moose in the area. We saw a deer and her twin fawns. I miss my convection over as far as baking, although like you I’m not particularly interested in cooking or baking any more. The pie and chili did make me hungry. Good on Don!

    My friend’s husband was a fire fighter. The children who live way back in the woods are brought to a spot in the state park by snow mobile where a bus picks them up. Just loving traveling along with you. :)

  9. Lovely photos, as always, but my heart went straight to the Dark Villain Imperial, Homemade Chili and Fresh Apple Pie. Lawd! Your mama must be proud to have raised children who appreciate life the way you seem to…with abandon and creativity!

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