Friday, July 1, 2016

Montana To Idaho - Searching For Waterfalls

Dorothy writes: One more word about Yellowstone National Park. This is the 100th Anniversary for the National Park System and it is being heavily promoted. Two other reasons for the large attendance is 1) the prospect of terrorists in Europe is causing more people to avoid international travel and 2) gasoline is not expensive as it has been in the past few years. According Motorhome Magazine, 400,000 (that's right - 400,000) new RV's are expected to be purchased this year! That's a lot of people camping.

We think a thousand dollar entry fee for Asians entering National Parks would improve the situation. As it is, the parks are being used to enrich tour firms.

Saturday, June 25 - We drove to Bannock State Park today. We were not expecting much. The cost was $6 per car.  We were very pleasantly surprised. Sixty historic log, brick & frame structures remain standing in Bannock, many quite well preserved and most can be explored. After the gold mining disappeared, the town began to fall into disrepair. The property was acquired in 1953 by Chan Stallings for $1400 with the intention of donating it as a state park. There were a few residents still there. The last person died in 1967 when her car ran over her. Some of the buildings were used as summer homes, the last one was purchased in 1985 by the state. One stipulation was made as part of the donation: it was not to be made into a tourist town like Virginia City, the ghost town atmosphere was to be preserved.

We had a personable and knowledgable tour guide to explain the town’s history.

With regret, we are leaving this tranquil place, Clark Canyon, and heading on a waterfall pilgrimage in Idaho.

Sunday, June 26

Interstate travel today on I15, the only way to get to our destination. About half-way there, I looked east and there were the Grand Tetons. 60 miles away the shape was unmistakeable.

It was difficult for me to turn south. I normally keep going in the same direction - inertia. We will resume our NW direction when we get to the west side of Idaho.

We have made almost a complete circle back to Yellowstone. Almost, but a not a complete circle. We parked on the Warm River, a unique Forest Service CG because they have planted ornamental trees. Our campsite is right on the river, which is warm and shallow for wading. Dorothy put her chair in the water and soaked her swollen feet.

We were looking for a place to fill the fresh tank. While at a rest stop I asked a guy in a fifth wheel. He gave me a puzzled look and finally stammered “You mean to fill your water tank”. “Yes”. “You need to check into an RV park”. “No, we don’t care to do that”. “What are you going to do, park on the street”? “I could explain it to you, but I doubt you would understand”. I walked away shaking my head, thinking he was what we call a Concrete Camper, An Easy Off, Easy On Camper. We found what we needed in the town of Ashford. Bless them for providing a dump and fresh water.

Monday, June 27

Water fall day. We viewed the lower and upper Mesa Falls. No need for hiking. You can see the falls from the overlooks. Besides the canyon walls are vertical.

Mesa Falls

We also spent a few hours at Harriman SP. Mostly going through the cabins that were built from 1902 to 1908 for the Harriman’s and other swell folks that owned shares in the cattle ranch. All I knew about Harriman was from Butch Cassidy movie. You may recall that Butch and Sundance liked to rob trains. And the guy responsible for the safe in the rail car was Woodcock. His line was “Butch, you know that if it were my money, there is nobody that I would rather have steal it than you. But, you see, I am still in the employment of E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad!”

I was astounded that the cabins were furnished and none of the stuff was walking away. We saw a lot of vintage stuff that would sell like hotcakes on Ebay. You could sit in the homes and look out on the vista of the river and mountains undisturbed. We did not see a park employee and few visitors.

The heat is back. It was 90 today. We spent the afternoon in the shade with the Endless Breeze fan on us. And bottle of Mimbres white wine. Not bad. This place has numerous bird species, two very colorful ones. We are too lazy to look them up.

Tuesday,  June 28

Off early to Cave Falls which is in Yellowstone, barely. The access road starts in Idaho and then you go down 12 miles of gravel to a dead end. Cave Falls is only about 20 feet tall, but what it lacks in height, it makes up for in width. At 250 feet wide, there is no wider waterfall in the park. Plus it’s a short walk from the parking area to view Cave Falls. If you are a hiker there are six other falls in the area from a few miles to a dozen miles. Heck, you can hike all the way to Old Faithful, just 31 miles to the east.

Cave Falls

We got away from Warm River by 10 and arrived at Fall Creek Falls 2.5 hours later. Took some pictures of the photogenic falls and scampered back from the sheer drop. Got Huckleberry ice cream to reduce my stress.

We had to ask where these falls were. I had read they were only a 1/4 mile from the campground. About a mile actually, but there were no signs and we did not see them on the way in. When I asked I found out you can see where they are on the road back to the highway, but unless you twist your neck around they are not visible on the way in. The Forest Service took down the signage for fear of liability of people falling over the edge. I was not comfortable on the narrow uneven ledge, so I can understand why.

Fall Creek Falls

Wednesday, June 29

Planned to paddle the yaks on the Snake. Thought about it last night and decided it might be too much for Dorothy - very fast water. I considered doing it myself, but it would be only half the fun for me. So we had a lazy morning surfing the web and then spent an hour chatting with the campground host. We did not get away until 11.

We found a decent city campground in American Falls and enjoyed the air conditioning. After weeks of procrastinating and having no idea where we might be for the holiday, we selected a campground in Twin Falls with W&E to hole-up in for the holiday. We have a project we have neglected for years. I will tackle it as we will have access to hardware stores. And Costco! It will be our first in two months. It’s been over a month since we were in a big box store town.

Thursday, June 30

We did a long, 90 minute drive, from American Falls to near Twin Falls. We are holing up in a county park located in the crop fields. W&E for $15. We are the first here for the holiday weekend. There is a nice breeze off the reservoir.

Friday, July 1

Shopping Day, Costco - Woohoo! More groceries from Fred Myers. Then a 42 cent purchase at Lowe's and $2 worth of small string at Jo Ann Fabrics and we think we can repair the damaged rear window shade.

Bagged two water falls in Twin Falls before the shopping spree.

 Shoshone Falls

Perrine Falls

Interstate Trivia - We normally shun interstates. This trip we have used several of them. Most for short distances, but still… We started off in I85 in Montgomery to I65 to Birmingham, then I59 and I40 to Oak Ridge. Since then back on 75, 65, 74, 80, 90, 25 and now I84.

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