I have always been one to save a penny wherever I can. When I first started traveling regularly, saving money was like a game to me. I’d ask myself, “how can I spend as little as possible, while still seeing as much as possible?” In the beginning this was great. I’d spend $12 a night on a hostel where I would share a room with countless other humans, but where I saved in dollars I paid for in energy.
Don’t even get me started on the two times I “slept” in the airport to get the cheaper flight.
I quickly discovered a good nights sleep while traveling is worth far more than a cheap hostel (or flight.) I still find other ways to save, and I will search for cheap places to sleep, but I also don’t mind spending a little more on proper accommodations. The newest lesson I have learned is that spending more to stay closer to a desired destination is also worth the extra money.
When I decided I wanted to hike in the Sawtooth Mountains, I checked for accommodations close to the wilderness. Granted, the options were slim as the towns surrounding this area are quite small, but I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money. When I settled on the town of Challis, I didn’t think the hour and 20 minute drive to the Sawtooth area would be a big deal. For the most part it wasn’t, but when trying to beat the heat it made for very early wake up calls.
Staying so far from the wilderness meant we spent more time in Challis than I thought we would.
Challis is likely the smallest town I have ever stayed in, but our Airbnb was modest, adorable, and enjoyable to be inside of. We spent a handful of days lounging as it was too hot to go outside and there wasn’t much to do in the area. I got a little restless at times, so I expended that energy by going for morning runs or evening walks while trying to get a lay of the land.
This didn’t take long, and by the end of our time in Challis I felt like I knew all the roads.
The town is nestled between the mountains, and I only wish there were more accessible trails in the area. There were plenty of private trails, which is great for those who own the properties, but limited access for people like me who want to explore the nearby mountains. Instead I spent some time in the town cemetery where I saw plenty of deer and unique birds.
I also found a small park with a lake for people to fish in.
I did enjoy running in this town. The small country roads are very peaceful, and the farmland fields and animals always bring a warmth to my soul. The heat was brutal at times, but my favorite way to explore a new area is by foot or by bike. I spent the remainder of these lounge days watching movies or playing Monopoly, which admittedly was difficult for me multiple days in a row. I don’t love downtime, but I sometimes do TOO much when I travel.
Downtime allowed me to feel refreshed and ready to come back to real life after this vacation.
All in all Challis was an enjoyable town for a short term stay. Time seemed to move slower here, and life felt simple. The houses weren’t fancy, the cars weren’t expensive, the yards were slightly run down, but it had a carefree charming vibe I find myself longing for in my own life. We make things way too difficult at times, always needing more. When in reality, oftentimes less is more.
I don’t think I’ll stay in Challis again (the grocery store had slim pickings for my needs), but I’m glad I experienced it once. Next time I visit this area I hope to stay in Stanley, or better yet I hope to camp the entire time. I’m thankful for the time to press pause while here though, and to savor the quiet moments.
Q: Do you spend much time resting on vacation, or do you prefer to be doing things most days? I definitely prefer to be doing things most days, but a day here and there to recoup is welcomed.