Roger Phillips: There's still time for a summer outdoors adventure in Idaho

Don’t worry, you still have a chance to do some cool trips this year.

August 7, 2013 

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Figure out where he’s hanging out now and you stand a better chance of finding him in October.

ROGER PHILLIPS — rphillips@idahostatesman.com

Do you hear the sound of cow bells ringing? They’re pushing you toward the end of summer like it’s a marathon race, and don’t let these final precious weekends slip away.

I know, you’re busy. We’re all busy. But when was the last time you woke up Monday morning and said “boy was that yardwork and shopping fun?”

Wouldn’t you rather wake up a little sore and sunburned with dust behind your ears?

Of course you would.

Time to turn over some rocks and find a few more adventures hiding there.

You probably don’t need my help, but here are some suggestions to round out your summer.

HIT THE LOWER SALMON RIVER

I’ve always thought this is the best time of year to be there.

The river is warm and there are huge sandy beaches to relax on.

The whitewater is fun, but not too intense. It’s a great family trip, and if you choose to go with an outfitter, you have numerous options from half-day trips to multiday trips, and you can run the river on rafts or in jetboats.

I think the Lower Salmon is an underrated, multiday river trip simply because it’s a fun float and you don’t need a permit. Just load your raft and go.

If you need any more enticement, there’s usually great smallmouth bass fishing during late summer. Bring a lightweight spinning rod or fly rod and with a little effort you can probably catch them by the dozen.

Finally, Riggins is a fun place to hang out. The town revolves around the river, so you’re welcome to stay in your shorts and river sandals when you head out to dinner.

GO DEER SCOUTING

Hunting season is creeping up like a hungry coyote on a fat jack rabbit.

If you’re a bow hunter, you’re probably making your preseason preparations now. But if you’re a rifle hunter, fall may seem a long way away.

It’s not, and the cool thing about scouting is you can do it along with other activities.

Hike into your favorite hunting spots. Bring the binos and see if you can spot some heads. The bachelor herds of bucks are probably still roaming out there.

Nothing gets the excitement building better than spotting a herd of deer and seeing a forest of antlers between their ears.

Here’s another hint: Bucks stay in the open more during late summer because their antlers are in the velvet and growing daily. The antlers are susceptible to abrasion, so bucks spend less time holed up in the thick stuff, which means they’re easier to spot.

It’s a great time to figure out where they’re hanging out.

HIT THE LAKES

Mountain lakes are a favorite campout, but it seems like interest in them starts to wane when the roads get real washboarded and dusty.

It’s still a pretty minor inconvenience in exchange for waking up to sparkling waters, or beating the heat by taking a dip into the cool, emerald water and immediately being warmed and dried by the afternoon sun.

Bring your kayak, canoe or float tube and take a cruise around the lake.

It’s nearly impossible to be stressed out when you’re just floating along.

The shoreline camping also tends to be cool because that body of water acts like a giant air conditioner, so you will sleep like a baby at night.

DO NOTHING

Yep, that’s right. You’ve probably earned it. That doesn’t mean turn into a couch potato.

Pack a picnic, or load up the tent or RV, fill the cooler, and leave all the toys behind.

Throw in a comfy chair and a good book, or heck, just sit and stare at the beautiful outdoors.

Don’t even think about bringing the laptop or cellphone.

Make meals your entertainment. Spend the day fussing over some elaborate meal that will be like a campground Thanksgiving.

When someone on Monday asks “What did you do over the weekend?”

Crack a big grin, and say “Nothing, and it was awesome.”

They will think you’re hiding something, and just let them.

Keep your poker face and let their imagination run wild.

Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors

Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns on Thursday. Look for Zimo next week.

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