Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hot Springs, Lava Beds and Sand Dunes

     I'd never in my life been to Idaho until four days ago when we followed the old Oregon Trail, crossing over from Wyoming north of Bear Lake, to Montpelier and Soda Springs. According to most reports from the trail, the emigrants were thrilled to be done with the rough and boring landscape of Nebraska and Wyoming, and welcomed the smoother terrain of the Snake River valley.

     Furthermore, after leaving the cholera-ridden Platte River and gasping across the dry high prairie, they were glad to see fresh water in the Snake River, its tributaries, and the fresh springs that bubbled out of the ground.

Hooper Spring

     We stopped at Hooper Springs, outside of Soda Springs, ID.

Potable, but not so great

     We were allowed to sample the water. There were a few bubbles, and it tasted faintly of minerals. Not the best, in our opinion, but to the pioneers it was manna from heaven.

Are they crazy?

     A little farther on, in Lava Hot Springs, there's the cold, clear Portneuf River, which draws a lot of visitors to this day, many from Salt Lake City which is only two hours away. Some people raft the river.

Looking down on the hot baths

     B and I just took advantage of the hot springs. There are four different pools. The water temperature ranges from 105 to 115 degrees.

View across the lava beds

     After Lava Hot Springs we angled north to see Crater of the Moon National Monument. Most of the emigrants kept to the south, along the Snake River. But others followed the Goodale cutoff which skirted the northern edge of the lava beds and rejoined the main trail south of present-day Boise.

Rough going

     The lava beds themselves were almost impassable for the wagons.

Indian cave

     They'd be impassable for modern hikers as well, but for the paths that cut through the beds and lead up the hills and down into the lava caves.

Looking from the bottom

     We stopped at Bruneau Dunes State Park. The dunes were actually not on the path of the pioneers. But we wanted to see them.

Looking down at our car from the top

     Then it was a night in Boise, which got its name from the old mountain men of the early 1800s. Set in the high desert area, the tree lined valley was an oasis dominated by cottonwood trees. They called it la riviere boisee, which means "the wooded river."

Boise River runs through the city

     And now . . . it's on to Oregon!


Anonymous said...

Looks like you enjoyed your visit to our state. :-) I did an Osher (adult lifelong learning) trip that took us along the Oregon Trail from Glens Ferry to Boise. The best part was that you could still see the marks in the ground where the wagons turned around to cross at Three Mile Island.


gigi-hawaii said...

Interesting terrain. So glad your trip so far has been a good one.

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hi Tom! I am loving your photos and your "travelogue"! I can't recall ever being in Idaho myself either but it is popular for lots of the snowbirds who live here in the winter. And this time of year all the green and water in your photos is definitely refreshing. I'm looking forward to seeing where your travels lead you in Oregon. ~Kathy

Meryl Baer said...

Great fun following your trip in the comfort of home. Never visited that part of the West but hope to someday.

Olga Hebert said...

Those explorers and pioneers certainly came across some forbidding territory. I would have turned around fairly early in the game.

Tom Sightings said...

You mean, three island crossing? We were there. Turns out, I like Idaho! Anyway, apparently there were emigrants who quit and turned back. They called it "Seeing the elephant," or "I've seen too much of the elephant." The phrase reportedly comes from the circus -- the elephant being the biggest animal, the real reason you went to the circus. Anyway I think I, too, would have seen the elephant pretty quickly on this trail.

Dick Klade said...

Brought back memories of our two years living in Boise in the early 70's. One was of floating down the Boise River with inner tubes for about a mile right into the center of the city.

Jono said...

I always enjoyed the hot springs I ran across in Montana and Idaho. Some are in the middle of nowhere with only a trail passing by. Jerry Johnson hot springs are only a mile hike off U.S. Hwy 12 in Idaho not far from the Montana border. I met some prospectors there who were taking their mules into the mountains to look for gold. They may still be looking.

Celia said...

I live next door to Idaho and haven't actually seen this part of the state. You two have inspired me to go, although not until fall, too hot for me in summer. I used to white water raft and it does take a certain level of "crazy." I'd be more interested in the hot springs now. :-)

Barbara said...

Keep on Truckin'. I'm loving it.