Idaho: Day Two Rivers Of Water And Lava, Atomic Energy And More.
As I almost always do on my travels, I awoke early, before the sun, my first morning in Twin Falls, Idaho. Wanting to get on the road, I packed, had some coffee and left my hotel to drive to Shoshone Falls Park to watch the sun rise.
Twin Falls, located along Interstate 15, was a typical interstate highway exit city. Near the exit were hotels, gas stations, restaurants and a Walmart and other chain stores. And like every town I visited in Utah and Idaho there was a LDS (Later Day Saints) Temple too.
I drove the 8 miles to Shoshone Park and just caught the sun rising over the high desert of Idaho.
I first visited a nice local park, Dierkes Park, which had a man made lake used by the locals for swimming and fishing. There were already a few people trying to catch the many fish I heard jumping in the calm waters. The park also provided a view for a picnic or for a hiker like me.
I proceeded to the Shoshone Falls, also know as the Niagara Falls of the west, but was disappointed to find only one small waterfall along the massive drop off of the Snake River.I t is summer, usually the dry season, and this year there was even less rainfall than usual.
I walked along the park for about an hour enjoying the many informative exhibits describing the geology, history of the area and the Native Americans who first lived here. Here is a link to some of these exhibits and other photographs I took on my morning hike. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Two-Shoshone-Falls-Morning-hike-August-20-2017
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, I was soon heading north on Route 93 and was very surprised to find that there was little traffic on the highway. I enjoyed the scenic 2 1/2 hour ride to the Craters of the Moon National Park.
In addition to some beautiful scenery I also saw a few critters along the way,
a number of horses on the many ranches I drove past,
ducks on some of the ponds along the highway,
and these interesting critters enjoying the Idaho high desert sunshine. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to Craters of the Moon National Park. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Two-Drive-to-Crater-of-Moons-National-Park-August-20-2017-
As I approached the Craters of the Moon National Park traffic did increase and the parking lots were filled with automobiles, recreational vehicles and tourists buses.
I did not have a lot of time but I decided to do the loop drive and got out a few times to explore the ancient lava flows and other geologic formations.
I hiked one of the trails and again learned so much about this unique and beautiful area of our Nation.
I wish I had a lot more time to explore this other worldly park but I had to move on. Here is a link to some more photographs from my brief visit to the park . https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-sol20-2017ar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Two-Craters-of-The-Moon-National-Park-August-
I now had about a half hour drive to my next stop, the first city in the world to be powered by atomic energy, Arco Idaho.
I had planned to spend some time in this town but I was running late and so just had to take a few photographs and move on.
I drove on to find another stop I planned on my route to Idaho Falls, Atomic City. This area of the Idaho high desert was home to the first atomic energy research facilities in the United States.
There were dozens of nuclear plants here in the 1950’s and a number of nuclear disasters, including a nuclear melt down that resulted in a number of deaths . Atomic City was once a booming town due to these facilities but was largely abandoned after the meltdown.
The highway was re-routed and I had to drive 8 miles on an unpaved gravel road to reach the almost deserted town.
I arrived in the town and did see a few of the 25 residents still living there , two men sitting next to the drag racing track and a family in one of the old homes that remain.
I took a ride through the deserted streets wondering about the people who lived and worked here when it was a boom town in the 1950’s.
This old bar must have many tales to tell.
Again I wish I had more time to roam the streets of this near ghost town but I wanted to get into Idaho Falls before I did encounter any of the predicated traffic. Here is a link to some more photographs from my briefs visits to Arco and Atomic City. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Two-Atomic-City-and-Arco-August-20-2017
I drove back over the gravel road, which further delayed me, and I got back on the major highway for the last leg of my journey to Idaho Falls. I was fortunate that traffic was still light and I found myself at my hotel for the next two days, the Econo Lodge, at around 3 p.m.
After checking in, unpacking and taking a short rest I decided to walk to downtown Idaho Falls. It was late afternoon but the sun was still hot during the 1 1/2 mile walk to downtown and the Snake River walk.
The walk to the river was through a commercial district but once I made it downtown I cam upon the very scenic Snake River and the park that is located on both sides of the river.
I rested a while under the shade of the many trees in the park and enjoyed watching the many people taking advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon in the park. I was tired but wanted to see the famous Idaho Falls LDS Mormon temple, so I walked the few blocks from the park to the temple.
You are not allowed to enter a temple but I did enter the visitor center and learned a little more about this religion. The staff was very friendly and happy to answer the questions of the many tourists who were visiting Idaho Falls for the total eclipse.
It was still hot and late afternoon so I decided to walk back to my hotel, where after a shower I had a delicious meal at D’railed a very fine restaurant in an old building along the railroad tracks near my hotel.
After diner I was back at my hotel uploading and editing photographs and soon asleep, excited to see the total solar eclipse the next morning Here is a link to some more photographs from my afternoon walk. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Two-Idaho-Falls-Afternoon-walk-August-20-2017
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir