Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 20,21 – To Idaho, Falls Creek Falls, Hell’s Half Acre

Yesterday we made the move to eastern Idaho.

It was another day with a bit of everything, weather wise. When we got up, we had bright sunshine for our long climb up to the high plateau. The campground was at about 6500 feet and we climbed to almost 9000.


It got darker and more wintery as we climbed.



But the sun came back out for our drive north across the plateau.



At one point I wondered why they would build an overpass on this lightly travelled highway but then I realized it was a funnel point for the wildlife to cross.


We had dipped down in elevation a bit but then we started seeing snow on the ground as we climbed again.


Climbing over one pass we were in a pretty solid snowstorm.


And then heavy rain as we followed a river valley down into Idaho.


After about 6 hours we arrived at our campground near Irwin, Idaho.

I realize now that I should have spent more time picking our new location. The campground itself is just OK. I know that they just fit me in because they are full for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend but I barely fit in the site. Also the Wi-Fi is broken. They say it is going to be fixed on Thursday but who knows.

The main problem is that it just a long way from everywhere. It’s almost an hour to the city of Idaho Falls and a little more than an hour one way over the mountains to Grand Teton National Park. We probably should have stayed partway to Teton near Victor, Idaho. I am going to be doing a lot of driving this week.

Today we headed towards Idaho Falls. Once again, given the weather that was around, we were pretty lucky.

First up was the close by Fall Creek Falls, which are just off a short side road from the highway.

When we arrived at the pullout there had been no mentioned of a raging creek that had to be crossed to get to the trail.


A short way down the road we found a place that we could both jump across.


It looked like it was raining back towards the campground.


You get a side of the falls as they go over the cliff beside the road. There were lots of ledges and lots of water so it was a great view.


The photosphere.

Out came the drone to get the front view.

created by dji camera

A wider view. You can see how far it was from the car. A tough and tiring trail!


There was a small cave off to the left side of the falls. I thought about climbing down the trail but it looked muddy and slippery.

created by dji camera

The super wide shot. You can see the extra falls from the creek that we crossed to the left.

created by dji camera

Whenever I flew out too far, there were a bunch of birds here that REALLY didn’t like the drone. I guess they thought it was a bird of prey and kept swooping around it. I flew it just long enough to get the pictures.

Onwards towards Idaho Falls.


We passed through a strong burst of rain on the way but once we got there it had stopped.

We first went to a visitor’s center that was just across the street from the falls of Idaho Falls. A fish bench.



The falls were really just rapids until a diversion dam was built for a nearby power plant, which created the”falls”.



The huge white building that dominates the skyline is the LDS Temple.


Some flowers along the riverside walkway.



We drove along the river a short way and parked to have lunch.


Then a quick stop for a front view of the temple.


And the golden angel Moroni on top.


On to Hell’s Half Acre. It is a 220 square mile recent (2000 years old) lava flow about 20 miles west of Idaho Falls. There is a fairly civilized access trail off of I-15 to the south of the city but to get the best look you have to come here.

On the way we passed through another torrential downpour and almost turned back but once again it had stopped by the time we arrived. The short road in off the highway did have some evidence. The puddle was thankfully not very deep.


There are two “trails” here although you can’t really call them that. More like suggested routes.  Since you can’t follow a path on new lava rocks they have just placed marker poles for you to try and find.


The 1/2 mile blue trail just loops around some interesting feature. The 4.5 mile one way red trail goes to the lava vent that caused it all.


After doing the 1/2 mile trail, with all the jumping and scrambling, I could not imagine going 18 times as far.

This is not a place for anyone with a fear of heights. Jennie came up and gave it a try but it was just too much. There were too many steep cliffs and lots of wide, very deep cracks to step or jump over.


This pit was about 50 feet across and 20 or 30 feet deep.


I helped her back to the car and did the loop by myself, which in hindsight was kind of stupid since it was rather dangerous and how would she even find me if I fell.

Anyways, onwards I went.


A photosphere.

Another huge pit.


A photosphere.

The wind had died down just enough for another drone flight. I am probably posting too many of these but the novelty of them hasn’t worn off yet.


From much higher.


Looking the over way, across the pit towards me.


And the wide high view.

created by dji camera

As I said, there were lots of large, deep cracks to step over.



Another photosphere.

Some wildflowers to brighten the place up.



The paint was rather worn on the marker poles so they were hard to see. I completely missed the start of the red trail.





As compensation for not being able to do the trail, we headed back to Idaho Falls and Jennie got some Walmart time and then we bought a huge plate of BBQ ribs and chicken. As a bonus, since it was Tuesday it was $10 off.

As we headed back home, about halfway, we again got into some heavy rain that only let up a bit as we arrived. It was a short but wet trip from the car to the RV.

It was a much better than expected day.

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