In the past we have explored much of Idaho. This time we thought American Falls sounded intriguing; we also wanted to visit and tour the capital city of Boise.
Driving from Kemmerer, WY to American Falls, ID the scenery is quite pleasing.
American Falls was once a landmark waterfall on the Snake River. The town of American Falls was settled in 1800 and has stood in 3 locations! It was first moved across the Snake River in 1888. In 1925 it was the first town in the U.S. to be entirely relocated (to make way for the American Falls Dam). Below is some interesting information regarding the move of American Falls. It’s taken from the City of American Falls website.
Much of the wreckage (mostly concrete buildings) and foundations can be seen today when the reservoir is low or drained for repairs to the dam. A larger dam was completed in 1978 downstream from the deteriorating structure built in 1927, which was later demolished.
This grain elevator is the only structure that was left standing. With its 40-foot deep foundation, it stands with its top rising above the water as a silent reminder of the remarkable history of American Falls. This shows how low the water level was when we visited.
We did not take any photos of the city as it stands today, but it looks like a normal small city with a park in the heart of it. We were able to drive on much of the lake bottom due to the low water level. We could see the reservoir from our site. Dale kayaked and fished while I was trying to get over a pretty bad summer cold. I actually felt horrible during this stop.
But the sunsets and pelicans made me smile!
One day, when I was feeling a little more human, we drove 2 hours from American Falls to the city of Soda Springs to see their famous geyser. Soda Springs Gyser is the world’s only captive geyser. It was discovered in 1937 while drilling to find hot water for a commercial bathhouse and health resort. A few weeks later the city received a telegram from the Secretary of the Interior asking them to turn the geyser off because it was throwing the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser off schedule. The town capped it off and began controlling it with a timer to erupt every hour on the hour 365 days a year at a height of 70’. You may be wondeing where it is! We were, too! We got there about 10 minutes before the hour and walked all around. Then we began waiting and waiting. Finally, after 20 more minutes we left. That’s when we realized none of the traffic lights in town were working, everything was closed, and we had no cell service. Soda Springs lost power on the one day we decided to visit! We couldn’t believe it!
We drove around town and looked at a few of the many springs. The signs say the water is drinkable, but neither of us were willing to try it.
This is an open-pit phosphate mine just outside of Soda Springs. There are many mines and farms in this part of the state.
The next photos were taken in various areas of Southeastern Idaho.
Moving on to Boise, Idaho As we neared Boise we were not happy about the smokey skies.
Fortunately, the skies cleared up before the next batch of smoke blew in. This happened several times during our stay! Looking at Boise from a trail ~ it is a very drivable, walkable and bikeable city.
We toured the capitol building.
This is one of my favorite capitol building interior domes. There are 13 large stars to represent the thirteen original colonies, and the 43 smaller stars indicate that Idaho was the forty-third state to enter the union.
The Fort Boise Military Cemetery stands alone in a peaceful area. It can barely be seen on the hill at the top left of the photo.
One day we drove a couple hours north across the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway which follows the Payette River. Btw…we didn’t see any wildlife!
The next photos are from some of the hikes we did outside of Boise.
Driving near Bruno Sand Dunes State Park.
There are several dunes in this park…some easy to reach, some not so easy. Of course, we headed for the tallest dune, but first we had to go through a low canopy of trees.
Then we had to make our way thru a lot of desert brush. Finally, we got to the dunes!
And we also had to make our way around part of this lake. Here I’m looking at the top of the tallest dune, which was way off in the distance. We were deciding how far we should go knowing we didn’t have time to make it to the top. We had a busy day and got to the park later than we hoped. We did not see any other people on this trail or on the dunes! But we heard a pack of coyotes getting closer and closer, which made me feel very uneasy.
We went on a bit further, but then turned back since the sun was setting. We weren’t too upset about not making it to the top since we already conquered the highest dune in the nation, Star Dune, at Great Sand Dunes NP.