A Steinlage Adventure in Idaho…Week 1

Sometimes, just being together, enjoying family and your own area is an adventure. Our daughter Jodi and her family drove out from Iowa to spend 12 days with us.  It is 1300 miles and takes 21 hours, so when they come we try to do as much as we possibly can.  We started our fun with a Pioneer celebration and Round the Block parade at our church.

We enjoyed a craft party, Sonic’s half price milkshakes and an eye game that they found online…lol.

We had a fun evening at Rigby Lake with everyone enjoying the kayaks

Fun in the sand…building forts, canals, and dams.. with abit of relaxing and rolling.

We splashed in the water

And by the end of the night, Whitney and Wyatt were ready to try the kayaks by themselves.

It was a great night, with a beautiful sunset.

On the way home we stopped for burgers and had a funny episode of pickle tasting.

We enjoyed an afternoon of exploring the Palisades and Swan Valley areas. Palisades Reservoir is one of the flood and irrigation facilities on the Snake River.  It is an earthern filled dam and when full, holds 13.5 million cubic yards of water. The dam was built in 1957 and has a small hydroelectric power plant.

We had a contest to see who could throw a farthest off the dam.

We drove down the south side of the river to Fall Creek falls. This waterfall, cascades over 60 feet to the river below.

It has several trails to obtain a closer look.

A small stream feeds the falls, and from the top you can see the entire Swan Valley area.

On Saturday, we headed southeast towards Montpelier.  On our way, we stopped in Soda Springs.  This was once a stop on the Oregon Trail and was famous for it’s carbonated springs.  In 1934, city leaders were looking to establish a hot pool attraction.  They drilled into a hill and instead hit a pocket of highly pressurized carbon dioxide and cold water.  Thus a cold water geyser was formed.  It was capped and only manually released as a tourist attraction.  It is now on a modern timer and “erupts” every hour on the hour.  The carbonated water, has altered the handrails and boardwalks as well as stained the headstones in the nearby cemetery.

The eruption is pretty cool and because it is cold water, there is no restriction on getting close to the geyser.  It is an “at your own risk” situation.

There is a small museum that has history of the area. A nearby building has been preserved as it was an observation area for the Ground Observer Corps.  Before modern radar, this group of citizens was charged with helping to detect hostile enemy aircraft during World War II as well as the Cold War in the 1950s.

We continued our journey to Montpelier, Idaho.  This is one of several centers across the western United States, dedicated to the pioneers of the 1800s who settled this area.  We took the pioneer living history tour with an explanation of the fur trade.

We then moved on to the transportation and provisions that would need to be purchased from the general store for the long journey. A wagon weighed 1500 lbs with the provisions weighing another 1500 lbs.  No one was allowed to ride in the wagon so as not to add extra weight for the oxen to pull.

We then boarded a covered wagon to begin our journey.  To make it more realistic, it sways and rocks.

After arriving in “Soda Springs”, we learned what life on the trail would be like.  Lots of buffalo chips to pick up to burn in the cook fires.  If you wanted a bath, you would have to pay for it’s use from a traveler who brought it along.  Items like this were luxuries and were soon thrown to the side of the trail to lighten the load. A quilt had 4 primary purposes on the trail 1) Sleeping 2) A privacy curtain 3) Trading and 4) a burial shroud.

After our pioneer adventure, we admired the paintings that told the history of the area. The quilts were made by area quilters and were being displayed for the summer.

In the basement of the center, is the Caribou County History Museum.  It is full of railroad items, as Montpelier was a stop on one of the main lines.

There were also interesting items, such as a dentist chair and military uniforms.

Upon leaving the center, a local rancher was set up in the parking lot, selling ribs, coleslaw and beans.  We bought 2 dinners, wow, it was good!!

With pioneers fresh on our mind, we headed to a roadside exhibit called Big Hill.  The pioneers travelled down this steep trail in their wagons. It was the steepest descent on the Oregon Trail.

On a whim, we decided to go to Minnetonka Cave.  During the summer, the cave tours fill up fast, so we were crossing our fingers we would be able to be on one. We arrived and were able to make it on the second to last tour of the day.  However, being August and not planning to tour a cave, we did not have jackets.  The tour is about an hour and a half and the cave temperature is 40 degrees.  We knew the adults would be okay, but Jodi bought a sweatshirt for the kids…they traded every 20 minutes.

There is a boardwalk to the cave entrance as the area is very steep.

The cave was discovered in 1907 by a man hunting pine grouse.  Over the years, the entrance of the cave has been enlarged to accommodate the tour visitors.

The tour takes you 1800 feet to the back of the cave.  There are numerous stairs as well as interesting formations.

Our tour guide was a geology student at a nearby university.IMG_20180728_181424211_HDR

Before we headed back to Idaho Falls, we made a brief stop in the town of Paris.  This is a place of worship that was built in 1889 at the direction of Charles Rich, an early settler. The red sandstone was transported by wagon from a quarry 18 miles away.  Unfortunately we did not arrive in time to go inside, but it is a beautiful structure.  We enjoyed walking around the building and talking to the groundskeeper.

We backtracked through Montpelier and stopped to take a picture and read the information about Butch Cassidy’s robbery of the Bank of Montpelier on August 13, 1896.  Who knew….

We had read the reviews about Papa’s Chocolates and when we found out they served Aggie Ice Cream we just had to stop.  The business was started in 1922 and is in it’s 5th generation, with the candy being hand-dipped. The Aggie Ice Cream is made at nearby Utah State University, it really is creamy awesomeness!!!

Our last stop of the day was at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Mama Inez in Pocatello, the nachos are unbelievable and the they have the best salsa.IMG_20180728_214037860_LL

On Sunday afternoon we had a group of friends over for a barbecue, to celebrate Jodi being home, but also Jade’s college graduation.  It was a great way to end Week #1 of the Steinlage adventure. Alaska salmon and Halibut, Iowa brats, and Idaho beef.