Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Long Road Home

We spent Memorial Day Weekend in Boise with Tyler's family. Instead of making the drive home on Monday a typical 5-hour jaunt on the freeway, Tyler did some research and mapped out a course home that would allow us to stop at five Idaho State Parks.

First Stop: Bruneau Dunes State Park

We paid our $5 (which ended up being good for all of the parks we went to - best-spent $5 ever!) and then hiked to the top of a huge sand dune. We wished at that point that we could just roll down the dune like the little kids were. If only we wouldn't have dreaded driving the rest of the way with sand...everywhere.

On our way to our next stop we saw this cool field of...well...we aren't sure what they are growing, but isn't it pretty? You can see the dunes in the background.

Second Stop: Malad Gorge State Park

This one was a quick stop. You walk along a bridge and are able to look down the seriously deep crevace to see the snake river roaring below. I loved the water fall. While leaning over the edge we talked about how my brother Curtis would probably be crazy enough to try kayaking this portion of the river (not that Curtis is into kayaking...he's just adventurous like that!) and would actually be successful at navigating the huge stones that are wedged sporatically along the river. We also met a couple from Texas who were on their way home from Seattle. The gentleman is a pastor and had been in Seattle to perform the marriage of his niece. Oh, he also told us about a non-profit his church started in 1994 and then said, "So, I've been doing this non-profit since about the time you two were born." Ha ha...do we look 16? Was he kidding or had he simply forgot simple math skills? This pastor also has a brother that lives Flower Mound - the city just next to where my sister, Tina, lives. Such a small world.

Third Stop: Niagara Springs Sate Park

It was beautiful to see the springs - it almost seemed unreal. The smell of a skunk had us hurrying back to get in the car after we snapped a quick photo. There were a lot of people out fishing. I'm sure we could have enjoyed it longer, but we had to rush off to our next, and final stop.

Fourth Stop: City of Rocks

We decided here that if (IF) we were campers this would be a sweet place to come back to. Okay, okay - even though we aren't campers we really want to come back here and do some climbing. It was a very cool place (literally - the temp dropped down to 54, whereas everywhere else was about 79)!

We saw this cool house on our way out of City of Rocks. And, from here is where the REAL journey began! We headed out of the park and read a sign giving us directions to the freeway. We had made our four stops and were ready to get back on the freeway to head home. We decided on the path that headed south, since that is the direction we untimately needed to go. We quickly made a U-turn when we realized the next 84 miles were going to be on a dirt road. We opted for the path that would take us through Elba, ID.

On the way to Elba we were slowed down by cows. They did not want us to pass!

Once we got to Elba, ID we saw this old LDS Relief Society building, built in 1901. Kind of cool!

Once we finally got through Elba and some some construction detours we made it to a town where we could fill up the gas tank. We checked the map and realized we might be a little bit lost. Why? Well, because the road we needed to take said it was a dead end. Ugh!

After reviewing our options with some other lost Utahns at the gas station, we headed for a new path. As we flew down the road we suddenly saw a road veering to the left that we assumed would get us closer to where the "dead end" road was supposed to lead us.

This is what that "road" looked like as we barrelled down it at 65mph. I took the picture with my head poked out of the sunroof and Tyler warned me a few times, "Do not drop the camera."
We laughed as we just kept heading further and further out into the pastures. We joked that perhaps when we would never really find the freeway, or if we ever did there would be no way to actually get on to the freeway, or worse...the road would dead end and we would be forced to head back to where we started. Finally, we could see the freeway and sure enough after winding under and back over the freeway, we were back on I-84 and headed south.

Our tires got a bit dusty!

We had such a great day! Drove for hours, covered lots of miles and now we're wondering what other Idaho parks we can explore next time.