Quick, what’s the best way to find a vet? Yelp? Nope. Recommendation from a friend? Nah ah. What, then? How about just get in your car on a cloudy day, and head on up to Idaho City? You’ll meet Wayne at the Wildfires Museum, which is open for the first time in several years. Wayne fought wildfires for half a century before retiring back to Idaho City and this museum. There’s also an antique shop where it’s up to you to decide how much you want to pay for the treasures you find. I didn’t find, so I didn’t pay, but didn’t they try this somewhere before? Get back in your car, drive up to Lowman, which is closed, ask for directions since there’s no signal up there, and make a big loop so you don’t repeat yourself. As you make your way down the hill, there are places you can stop by the Payette River. We stopped at one such place, in need of a break from the driving. Parked nearby, a family in an eight-seater Sprinter van was unloading their raft and a little blow up kayak. People and dogs were spilling out of that Sprinter like popcorn. They just kept popping out of the van and unloading gear. That’s how you meet your next vet.

Steve Baker is a partner at Habitat, a veterinary clinic down at Barber Station. He’s a “river lover, river surfer, and guitar around the campfire guy.” His dog, Franklin, rode the entire way in that blow up kayak. Now that’s a proper dog. Do you really need to know any more than that?

I must not get out much, because I’ve never seen a boat ramp so steep or so long. Four on each side, Steve’s crew guided the raft down the ramp and into the water. They gathered at the bottom for a group shot before shoving off.

We sat by the river for a while, dipping our feet in the water and playing with our ill-behaved dogs. Then we made our way back up those steps, slowly, carrying dogs part way. Back at the car, I emptied a first aid kit and poured water in it for the dogs, but they weren’t thirsty. I’m no mind reader, especially when it comes to dogs.

Further down the road, you’ll eventually wind up at the 55, the road from Eagle to McCall. Somewhere along that highway is a lodge where you can buy a huckleberry shake, but that’s the other way, towards McCall. Bummer. I was wanting to try one today.

That’s what a Saturday is like around here on a holiday weekend when you don’t feel like emptying boxes and just want to go out exploring. You should try it sometime, even if you’re not trying to avoid something else.