Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Idaho - Southeastern

I visited Idaho a few years ago on an early October road trip through the Northwest with my friend, Lori.  We crossed into Idaho from Wyoming near the Grand Tetons and saw mountains and valleys covered with yellow trees and it was snowing on and off. 

We traveled through the southeast part of Idaho and had plans to check out the Idaho Potato Expo Museum in Blackfoot.  The museum was closed when we got there.  I still suggest people go, but call first. 

We met a friend of Lori’s for lunch in Twin Falls at a bar and grill that was just okay; nothing to write home about.  Afterwards, we walked around downtown and saw geese in the two man-made falls that the town (Twin Falls) was named after.  From there, we drove to Salt Lake City, Utah for the night. 
Geese lined up on the top of the falls.
One of the falls we saw.
Many have laughed at my attempt to check off Idaho on the list of states visited.  I wasn’t overly thrilled with my trip to Idaho but it wasn’t half bad either.  Since coming back from that trip, I’ve met people from the Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho area that have taught me that there are MUCH better things to see and do in their part of the world than the POTATO EXPO!  Between what I have learned from my new friends from the Northwest and the research I’ve done for this post, I now agree with them that the Potato Expo wasn’t where we should have stopped.

I found that if you’re the outdoor type – RUN, don’t walk, to Idaho!  They’ve got RV/camping sites everywhere.  You can fly fish, rock climb, hunt for anything, canoe/raft/kayak, snow mobile (almost year round it seemed), ski, etc.  If all the outdoor stuff excites you, then Idaho is where you need to be.  HOWEVER, if you haven’t figured it out already by state 12 - I’M NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL!

So, here are a few things I found that I’d like to do in Idaho (and still be able to sleep in a nice bed at night while there).

A site in Twin Falls that we should have checked out was Shoshone Falls.  At 212 feet, it’s taller than Niagara Falls in New York and its beautiful!
Shoshone Falls
picture found online
Leaving Twin Falls, you can take the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway.  It’s a peaceful 67 mile drive through the Snake River Canyon area.  It would have only taken 1.5 hours to do.  I wish I had known about that.
Snake River along side the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway
picture found online
South of Blackfoot (where the potato expo was) is the Fort Hall Indian Reservation where they host the Shoshone – Bannock Indian Festival each August.  Thousands of people come from all over North America and celebrate the Shoshone – Bannock Native American tribes.

Two desolate, but very interesting areas are the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve and the St. Anthony Sand Dunes.  The crater monument is described as a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. 
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
picture found online
While, the St. Anthony Dunes are made up of white quartz sand that covers an area of 35 miles long by 5 miles wide and can be from 50-500 feet tall.  WOW!  Talk about some peculiar places!
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
picture found online
If for SOME reason, you go to Idaho and hadn’t seen any wildlife, go check out Yellowstone Bear World, which is a drive-through wildlife park that has free-roaming animals and don’t forget to feed some bear cubs while you’re there.

One place you could go to for an entire vacation seems to be the Caribou-Targhee National Forest full of exciting sites and activities – Nordic skiing, horseback riding, the reservoir, Minnetonka Cave, Charcoal Kilns Interpretive Site, and the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls.  The Mesa Falls are gorgeous.
Lower Mesa Falls
picture found online
If REAL adventure is what you’re wanting, I thought you might love the Mesa Falls Marathon which travels 26.2 miles through wildlife laden woods and offers the runner breathtaking views of the Teton Mountain Range.  If that’s not enough for you – you get a free huckleberry milkshake at the end!  HOT DANG - YUMMY!

Or there is the Perrine Bridge.  It’s pretty to look at, and yes, you should go and visit it.  However, it’s best known as one of eight Famous BASE JUMPING SPOTS in the WORLD.  You can jump off a bridge that’s 486 feet above the river.  Yeah, I don’t think so, but you can do it and let me know how that goes.
Perrine Bridge
picture found online
These are just the places I visited and the places I drove right past that I should have stopped for in southeastern Idaho.  Later this week, we’ll explore some places I’d like to visit in southwestern and northern Idaho.  Then, next week, we’ll see what’s just round the corner in Illinois.

**Pictures were taken by me if not noted.

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