Off the Beaten Path...and Back On

Sunday, September 14, 2008 Road Junkies 0 Comments


Day 9:  Idaho Falls, ID, to Evanston, WY.  Since we traveled to Idaho Falls yesterday after finding Jackson Hole such a disappointment, we needed to head back east and south today to make it to Loveland, CO, tomorrow evening. We didn't have any sightseeing to do in this area, so we decided to do some letterboxing along the way.

After we laid out our itinerary, we visited and identified some letterboxes on that route. We chose some that would take us off the beaten path. Today letterboxing took us to some places we might otherwise have missed.  (Pictured above:  A recreation area on the Snake River near Blackfoot, ID)
A hiking trail in Pocatello, ID

And to a cemetery in Honeyville, UT. We were intrigued with the practice—common in this little cemetery—of including marriage dates on headstones and children's names on the back side. What a prize for future genealogical researchers! And most markers in this little graveyard were for husband and wife. We saw very few single markers.
Family information on marker in Honeyville, UT cemetery

Although we weren't in search of a letterbox, we just had to take a little time to explore the rugged terrain of southwestern Idaho, so we drove out to the Goodenough Creek Campground operated by the Bureau of Land Management.
Road to Goodenough Creek
The scenery was spectacular, and Dianne once again fired up her rendition of "Don't Fence Me In." Unfortunately, the performance hasn't improved since last week.
Gorgeous blue skies over the amber fields
On the way up to the campground, we had a good look at some of the circular fields we've been seeing which have the center pivot irrigation system in use.  These systems are able to optimize a farm's yields by using water more efficiently on large fields.
Center pivot fields are easy to recognize, even from an airplane.
We drove all the way up to the mile-high North Ogden Divide near Ogden, UT, looking for a letterbox, only to discover that it had been kidnapped--er, boxnapped. We didn't mind, though, because the view from the top was incredible.
We wouldn't have enjoyed this view if we hadn't been seeking hidden treasure.
Jeanne persuaded us to drop in on the Mormons' Temple Square in Salt Lake City as we went through the Utah capital.  It is indeed a striking compound, dominated by the Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years to build—from 1853 to 1893. The interior is said to be very impressive, but no tours of the temple are permitted.
Salt Lake Temple, the largest Mormon temple by floor area
Visitors are permitted at the tabernacle, home of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Although the choir was not in residence when we were there, having performed earlier in the day, we were able to go into the tabernacle and observe a demonstration of its renown acoustics when a young lady spoke from the pulpit with no microphone. We had no difficulty hearing her in the back row. She also dropped a straight pin onto a wooden table and we could hear it clearly. Amazing!
The incredible acoustics are real.
Ken checks out the Great Salt Lake.
Finally we drove out to the Great Salt Lake beaches. It was a long way across the sand to the water.The sand had a distinctively salty appearance. Dianne was tempted to taste to see how salty it was but was very relieved later that she resisted this urge. We learned that this oolitic sand is actually made up of the waste of brine shrimp (yes, fecal matter) and the calcium carbonate from the rocks all around. Yuck!
Do not taste the salt!
Driving through the Wasatch Mountains toward Evanston, Wyoming, we were treated to the beautiful sight of a bright full moon rising over the mountains... a fitting end for a very pleasant day.