A Pleasant Five Days In McCall, ID

Thursday, August 30, 2018

McCall Map

McCall (3200 souls) lies at nearly a mile above sea level. It’s a great little scenic town to visit. The setting: downtown is right on the shore of Payette Lake, in the pines and only 100 miles from Boise. Activities this time of year include all types of water sports, fishing either in the lake or the Payette River, hiking, biking, well you name it. Winter sports are also very popular. Downhill skiing on Brundage Mountain, ice skating on nearby Payette Lake and an annual winter festival draws the flatlands by the thousands. On the eastern shore of Payette Lake is Ponderosa State Park, one of the nicest state parks we have visited.


The only problem is getting from point A to point B when the town swells to 3 to 6 times its year round population. The speed limit through town on the two land main drag US 55 is a proper 25 mph. The problem comes when one wants to cross the main highway when traffic in both directions is traveling almost bumper to bumper. It’s really difficult to either turn left onto the main street or cross it. But I guess that is the price one pays for visiting a little town in the height of tourist season………..


Nearby is another great ski resort, that of Tamarack. Tamarack is a master planned community that includes multiple ski lifts, a class hotel, a world class golf course, single family homes as well as condominiums and townhouses all built on the side of a mountain. Unfortunately the developer, a foreign born person decided to stiff his creditors and blew town leaving the whole community in a lurch.


The building of new condos and townhouses stopped with the buildings not half completed, the ski lifts stopped running and the golf course was allowed to return to nature. On top of that the economy took a dump and many of the residential units fell into bankruptcy. Many of the ski lifts were removed by creditors.


On the upside the remaining landowners have devoted themselves to bringing the community back. They purchased one lift and had it operating last year. The hotel is open, but amenities are limited. There are plans to revitalize the golf course some day but that will take years.


The McCall RV Resort is such a pleasant place to stay. The setting is on the east bank of the Payette River and in pines. The staff is very friendly and the workampers are always pleasant. The sites are relatively spacious with mowed lawns between all but the newer sites that are located most near the Payette  River. About half of the sights are pull through. Of those there are some that actually have a common square between them, each site forming one side of the square with grass and trees between them. These are ideal sites for family and a gathering of friends. Also in the park is a nice large lodge and indoor swimming pool. Free popcorn is alway provided.


A bonus is the wildlife. Every time we visit we see red foxes, but not this time. No one has seen a one of them this year. They used to bravely wander right through the park. Bow hunting season starts this weekend and the deer have come into town. Momma deer and her half grown fawns are taking advantage of the free food here- the landscape plants and trees leaves.


Young Buck @McCall RV Resort; Beaver Dam @ Sumpter Dredge

We went over to Jil’s brother Rob and his wife Kathy’s house, a place new to us. They bought a really nice place about a mile outside of town. It sits on an acre with national forest located behind. Jil’s sister Kim and her hubby Dave came down from Whitefish for a sibling reunion. We all did a lot of catching up, and had a great meal provided by Rob and Kathy.

We spent the next few days visiting with Rob and Kathy and just snooping around this wonderful place. Between McCall and Donnelly to the south is grazing land. A lot of cattle are raised here. The contrast of the wheat colored  grazing land and the green covered mountains in the background is beautiful. The route to Tamarack is travel south from McCall to Donnelly and hook a right, cross over Cascade Lake, drive past 4 Idaho State Park campgrounds and viola, Tamarack!

Payette Lake reminds me of Lake Tahoe. It lies in an Alpine setting with lots of ponderosa pines growing along the lakeshore all the way up to the peaks of the surrounding mountains. Private homes lie on its shores as well as a state park……. and of course the town of McCall.

Not everything goes well when traveling. Here are a couple of examples:


We are preparing to leave on Friday, August 30. We have a two month volunteer commitment at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery beginning on September 1st. Our plan is to travel to Pendleton Oregon, spend the night at the Wildhorse Casino RV Park, then travel in to the hatchery arriving in the early afternoon on Saturday September 1.

We’ll see you there!



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