Warm Lake–Spotlight

A Pilgrimage through Time

Story and Photos by Julie Conrad

Historical Images Courtesy of Julie Conrad

Scent, more than any other sensory stimulus, can transport many of us to another place and time. If you have spent any time in the mountains of Idaho, you know what I mean. The scent of moss and of dusty, spicy pine mixed with sweet berries often evokes the sentiment, “Don’t you wish you could bottle that?” Whenever I stumble upon that heavenly scent, it takes me straight back to childhood days camping along the riverbank with my family at Warm Lake in the 1960s.

For many, the very mention of the name, “Warm Lake” conjures up hot summer days, swimming holes, and fresh-caught trout. For me, it is that and so much more. It’s a place chock-full of wonderful family memories and adventures camping in the Sixties: a time when life seemed . . . well, simple. 

Not long after I was born, my parents first began to pack the station wagon full of gear and dried goods and make the three-hour drive from Caldwell to Warm Lake along with me, my brother, and our German shepherd Tandy Lynn. Somewhere along the final twenty-six-mile stretch of unpaved washboard dirt road, my brother and I would wearily whine in unison, “Are we there yet?” as the dog chimed in with her excited yodeling, which signaled to Dad that it was time for a potty stop for all.

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