If you have had your fill of cell phones, fax machines, palm pilots, e-mail, and plasma TVs, Jim Super can help you turn back the hands of time—all the way back to the 1800s. Super, a licensed outfitter and guide based in Bellevue, leads an annual wagon train from Fairfield to Ketchum, journeying 70 miles through some of the prettiest backcountry in the state.
This year’s sixth annual event runs August 23 through August 28, and coincides with the Wagon Days parade in Ketchum, the largest non-motorized parade west of the Mississippi. Participants can travel with the wagon train for a day or two, or for the entire six days.
Upon leaving Fairfield, Jim Super’s Wagon Train climbs the 12 miles to Wells Summit. It’s another nine miles to the next day’s camp at Worsick Hot Springs, where guests can soak their bones in the hot springs or spin for fish in a nearby stream. The wagon train stays put for a day at Carrie Town, the destination for the third day of travel. Guests are free to explore the mining district, which dates back to the 1880s. “There is a great old stamp mill there,” Super said. “A lot of history.”
On day five, riders conquer Dollarhide Summit (elevation 8,900 feet) before descending into the headwaters of the Warm Springs drainage. Camp is set up at Placer Creek near the old sheep corrals for the final night. In the morning, the wagon train makes its way down along Warm Springs Creek for the approximately 15 miles into Sun Valley, where participants may choose to stay with the wagon train at Sun Valley Riding Stables to prepare for the Big Hitch Parade on Saturday, or opt for the comforts of the resort itself.
While the wagon train itself is decidedly rustic, the food is not. Super and his staff prepare three square meals per day, including Dutch-oven specialties featuring salmon, pork roast, and chicken. Barbecues with all the trimmings are also highlights. Among the modern-day conveniences is ice for cold drinks. “After a couple of days in the saddle,” Super said, “people are grateful.”
The $1,500 cost of the six-day trip covers all meals, a bedroll, and a tent. All you need to bring are your personal items and a pioneering spirit. Rustle up more information by calling 788.7731 or visit online at www.sunvalleyoutfitter.com.