While going across Idaho we rejoined the Oregon trail in Burley Idaho. The Oregon trail splits from the Mormon Trail at Fort Bridger. Instead of staying on the Oregon Trail, we followed the Mormon trail to visit Salt Lake City.
You might see some similarities in the title of this post. Last month I described our route going across Wyoming and our method of choosing the best days to travel. This post was called Across Wyoming. Here is a quick link to the post. Across Wyoming
The post Across Wyoming describes our route. We took Interstate 80 until we got to Fort Bridger. Then in Fort Bridger, we took Interstate 80/84 into the Great Salt Lake Valley. The post, Salt Lake City describes our stay there. Salt Lake City
Going north on Interstate 84, we rejoined the Oregon Trail in Burley Idaho. Burley is a nice farm town along the Snake River. The reason that the Oregon Trail is here is because of the Snake River. If you are going to walk across Idaho following a reliable source of water is critically important.
It is kind of funny that I mention Yellowstone here because nothing we mentioned so far has an obvious connection to Yellowstone and we are not headed toward Yellowstone. Yellowstone however ties into the story because of Yellowstone’s influence in southern Idaho.
The Snake River Valley cuts across Idaho following the path of a volcanic hotspot that is now under Yellowstone National Park. Gradually millions of years ago, the hotspot moved across Idaho starting in western Oregon. This hotspot is the reason that southern Idaho is the farm country we think of it today. The volcano supplied the soil. But there was one other key event in history that added to the mixture that makes Idaho the potato capital of the world. (I find it great that we have a state that is dedicated to the potato.)
I mentioned another event that has made Idaho farmland wonderful. It was a massive flood. This flood was huge. Nothing we have witnessed during recorded history was like this flood from Lake Bonneville.
Lake Bonneville covered most of Utah and parts of Nevada and Idaho. Evidence of the lake shore surrounds the Great Salt Lake Valley. If Lake Bonneville were still full today, it would be one of the Great Lakes. It was about the size of Lake Michigan.
About 18,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville’s natural dam broke at a location in southern Idaho south of Pocatello. It flooded the entire Snake River Basin. The water draining from Lake Bonneville was so huge and fast that it crossed over the Snake River flooding areas uphill on the north side of the Snake River. Everything in the Snake River Valley, south of Idaho Falls was flooded all the way to and including much of Oregon. The flood left mud deposits all the way across Idaho. Today this mud is the home of the Idaho and Oregon potato farms.
The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and the Bonneville Salt Flats are all remnants of Lake Bonneville. After a year-long flood, the lake continued to drain down the Snake River Valley for more than 3000 years. The draining of the lake eventually cleared the Snake River Canyon bottom free of mud deposits. North of Boise, the Snake River Canyon is very deep because of the flooding associated with Lake Bonneville.
The only area in the Snake River Valley not covered with mud is now known as the Craters of the Moon National Monument. I covered this story about Craters of the Moon National Monument when I described the park in this post. Goodale’s Cutoff
Snake River Valley
Of course, the Yellowstone volcanic hotspot moved across Idaho eons before the Bonneville Flood. The combination of great soil alone didn’t alone create the potato farms of today. The farms needed water. Farmers transitioned the land from a sage-filled high desert by providing the water. Without irrigation, the mud deposits couldn’t have supported farming like it does today.
While in Burley we visited Shoshone Falls and found this year’s lack of water going over the falls remarkable. Our previous visit in 2018 on the same day four years prior had a stunning difference in the amount of water at the falls. Some of the flow this year was probably associated with the drought but water needs and water storage result in various flows across the falls.
The falls were still pretty but not like in previous years. In the past, we have seen Shoshone falls with less water, but that was in the fall when you would not expect a massive flow. Here is a link to that story. Twin Falls
Our next stop westbound was Glenns Ferry. The Oregon Trail Pioneers also stopped here to cross the Snake River. In I told 2018 my story about Glenns Ferry in this post. Three Islands Crossing
This time while in Glenns Ferry we didn’t stay at the Three Islands Crossing State Park, instead we camped at the Ynot Winery. By far, the winery is the biggest business in Glenns Ferry. We stayed at the winery because of a club we belong to called Harvest Hosts. This club allows us to stay at guest locations as we travel. Here is a link to my article describing the club. Harvest Hosts
At the Ynot Winery, they have a real (paid) RV campground, golf course, and restaurant. As a Harvest Host member, we stayed outside of the campground because we don’t need the campground amenities to be comfortable. Because we were not inside the campground our stay was free.
Our entire trip so far this year had Boise as the goal. Our arrival had to be in the middle of May to get to our grandson’s High School Graduation. We made it. I think he remembers us being there. We intend to see him during our trip south through Oregon, interrupting his first year in college. I am sure that he will enjoy seeing us, especially if we have food with us.
Boise Riverside RV Park
While in Boise, we always try to stay at the Boise Riverside RV Park, because of the location. The Boise River has a wonderful greenbelt and we love to walk on it. We also bike ride nearly every day during our visit. Boise was the place, the first place this year north of Florida, where we could really enjoy really nice weather.
This year our stay at the Boise Riverside RV Park wasn’t great. Overall the RV park is well below average bordering on intolerable. We have had better stays in past years. The number one attraction for us about this RV Park is the Boise River Greenbelt.
Really it was the fault of poor planning by the staff and old facilities. I am certain the park was designed in the 1950s or 1960s by people that knew almost nothing about RVs. The park design is bad even though we really love the location. The staff was new but they were still struggling from previous neglect. We didn’t really know how bad the problem could get until they parked another RV next to us. The tow truck driver even hit our RV (no damage) while parking this other huge RV next to us.
It is very obvious that these two RVs should have never been parked next to each other. A couple of hours later, the park moved our neighbor but the problem repeated with every new arrival. Since our spot was near the front, the site next to us was the obvious target for every arrival.
Boise River Greenbelt
I guess you can say that we tolerate the Boise Riverside RV Park so that we can be next to the Boise River Greenbelt. It is very pretty and provides for very enjoyable walks and bike rides.
About Freak Alley
Boise doesn’t really have a gritty side of town. It is wonderfully well kept. That doesn’t mean that there are not some “colorful, strange, interesting” people (pick your own adjective). Freak Alley is a restricted use location (few cars, lots of people, and cool art) next to the downtown open-air restaurant row.
In Boise, this is what passes for graffiti. To me, it seems that it is amazingly created by very talented artists. I am glad they share their art. I can’t say the same thing about most graffiti.
For us, we didn’t travel across Idaho to follow the Oregon Trail. We came across Idaho to see family. It was really good to see everyone. Above all, I want to say how proud we are of our grandson Brady, the new High School Graduate. It was nice to see your picture and name on the jumbotron during graduation.
Links to places mentioned in this article.