Over the weekend, I volunteered to do trail work with the Idaho Trails Association. That work was fun, and I had a great time. But this post is not about that.

There was an accident on Idaho 21 on Sunday afternoon between Boise and Idaho City.

That’s the only paved road that goes from Idaho City to Boise. And it’s a crowded road on a summer Sunday afternoon with folks recreating along the Middle Fork of the Boise River and myriad other places. All that traffic got bottled up, and I was in that mess.

I left Idaho City by 4 pm, and I should have been home around 5. Instead, I saw a fire truck stopping traffic around a historical marker on the side of the road. The man who went with it told me that the road would be closed for 4, maybe 5 hours and I could wait or I could try to go around. I asked how to get to Boise and he said I could take Robie Creek Road to Rocky Canyon Road, or backtrack to Idaho City and go around the long way to Horseshoe Bend and then Boise.

I wasn’t confident in taking Robie Creek, so I parked instead of turning around. I also parked because I knew another woman from the trail crew was close behind me and I wanted to touch base with her before moving on. After hanging out for a while, we decided to try Robie Creek.

I’d never been on that road before, and I knew that it should get me back to Boise, but my gazette showed me that it would do so by way of Shaw Mountain Road, which I know is not a road I would ordinarily want to take my Ford Focus on. But we took it up on the Magruder Corridor, so I supposed that I could make it work. And there were a lot of people going that way…

We drove by a couple of parks, and then went off pavement, following a dusty line of traffic. the car in front of me tended to drive in the middle of the road, which freaked me out a bit because there was traffic coming the other way.

As it turned out, too much traffic.

It took a while for the truth to come out. First we heard there was a dead end. A professional looking cyclist rode by and I asked him if he knew where he was an if the road went to Boise. He said that it did. So we drove on.

And then I heard that a truck went off a cliff up ahead and everyone was turning around.

But we went on.

Until we heard that two trucks with trailers had tried to pass each other and ended up jack-knifing, thereby completely blocking the road. Then it was time to turn around while we still could.

I spun out a few times trying to get my car to move forward up the incline on the gravel, but I managed not to roll backwards into my friend’s car – just barely. And as we drove back towards 21, there was a bit more stopping for reasons unknown. During one of the stops I got out and asked my friend to stop with me at the park instead of going back to 21.

I executed an erratic tactical maneuver to get to an open parking spot, and we went to the park to use the restrooms and get in the water. Because we weren’t getting over to Boise any time soon, so why sit in a car when there was a gorgeous park?

And, after what felt like too long of a wait, but wasn’t as long as it could have been, we heard someone yelling that the Robie Creek road was clear. We walked over towards the cars, and by the time we got there, someone else said that 21 was open.

I got home by 7:30.

So many times, I’ve taken 21 home after spending time out in the wilderness or the forest. And I’ve taken it for granted that it would be open and allow me to go through. I had no cell service out there. No way to tell my husband that it wasn’t me in the accident. And then, one day, someone drives across the center line and traffic gets stopped for hours.

And two people died.

So I’ll complain about the delay, but I am so grateful to have made it home safely.

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