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.


Michelle said...

You went to the City of Rocks?!?! That is where Aaron's family has a ranch (in Almo, but they have property in the City of Rocks). Check out my blog- Aaron just took the kids up there a week ago. So funny! And I've been by that Relief Society building many times!

Michelle said...

One more thing- Matthew keeps calling the "City of Rocks" the "Town of Rocks" by mistake. Ha!

Aaron said...

Almo is where my dad was born and grew up -- and buried in the cemetary there (did you stop to say hi?). In fact, I will be moving cows from Almo up through the City of Rocks this Friday. You should go back when it's warmer -- it's a lot of fun.

Rena said...

First - I am a friend/neighbor of Andrea W. in AZ (not a weird blog stalker), and noticed Bruneau in the pic on the side bar of her blog so thought I'd peek. However, what I found brought tears to my eyes. My Dad is from the Boise area (which is why I am familiar with Bruneau), but my Mom is from Elba! My parents live in Burley now.

Elba was my second home growing up. It is my FAVORITE place on earth! I spend VERY little time there now living in southern AZ, but want to thank you for the pictures. So happy to see snow in the mountains so my grandma and uncle will have water on the ranch in August. :) You drove past their houses on the highway - my uncle's is the little pink one a little ways past (north) the church and my grandparents home (where Grandpa was born in 1910 in the north end of the house and died a year ago in the south end) is a red brick home with a separate white garage building. I don't know if you noticed them, but you drove right past them. His funeral last August was the last time I was there. How exciting to see someone blog about Elba! No one EVER goes to Elba! It is one of those old timer towns where the descendants of the original settlers try to keep the ranches alive. The church is the ONLY building besides houses that is there and that is how the residents like it. My grandparents were 2nd and 3rd generation people there. Grandpa would have been 100 this year and Grandma just turned 90. My ancestors were the first ones there in the 1850's. So, yes, I am related to pretty much everyone living there. My grandma has many fond memories of quilting in that RS building as a child with her mother. Because the church was so small when I was younger, we used to have YW on Sunday in the RS building too. It is really neat inside.

FYI - Across the road from the RS building is the Elba church. Its history is fascinating. It was originally one of those two story rock churches. The second story was removed and it was remodeled in the middle of the twentieth century. But, when they remodeled, they kept original rock for the bottom level and made that the chapel. It was remodeled again in the 90's to what it is today, but the original rock is still there and is still the chapel. Very few buildings in the church carry such a history.

Nice to "meet" you and thanks again for the pictures!

PS - you probably got gas in Malta. Had you gone north about a mile from the gas station, you'd have found the road that headed east to the interstate. Glad you had a fun adventure on the dirt roads though. :)

PPS - Aaron - we are probably related if your Dad grew up in Almo. My Mom's family is the Ward family, but also related to the Parishes, Beechers, Edwards, & Pettingils. Hope you have fun moving cattle and feel free to "say hi" to my family as you are passing through. :)

Cameron H said...

You missed Shoshone Falls park in Twin, its pretty cool I think you guys are just following Megan and I around on our vacations.