Hiking Devils Bathtub and Iron Creek Trail

After getting home from our day trip we talked about I our last update we had another night with little sleep because of blowing wind’s that just made it hard to sleep so Friday morning (6/23) with clouds in the skies and winds still blowing we gave in and decided to have a down day.

 By a down day I mean doing a little housework, a run into Spearfish to hit a couple spots downtown and making a Walmart run. But basically a restful day. Just nothing blog worthy.

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 Saturday morning 6/24) we jumped in the truck and headed out to do what we had intended to do on Friday so we could avoid the weekend crowds but plans don’t always come together.

 If you remember a couple updates back we mentioned that if we found time we wanted to go back and do a couple hikes that we missed on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Highway while there, and we found time!!

 Our first stop was to find the filming location of “Dances with Wolves”. We found our turnoff and drove back up to Roughlock Falls where we were on our last visit and then continued another mile or so up a good gravel road until we found the sign along the road.

See that bigger bush at the end of the trail? Well that was the end of the trail LOL!!

See that bigger bush at the end of the trail? Well that was the end of the trail LOL!!

 Once we found the sign and saw a trail next to it we prepped for a hike and started in only to come to a dead end at a small pond no more than 50ft into the brush!! Whew, it must be lunch time so we headed back to the truck lol. Well that was a bit of a letdown but we were not expecting much but hey, we were there.

 Then it was time to head to Iron Creek Trail. This particular trail is an easy 4.9 mile in and out that follows along a creek most of the way providing some nice scenery.

Just a slide grade.

Just a slide grade.

Diane found a nice spot to take in the views.

Diane found a nice spot to take in the views.

 When you reach the end you come to an old fence that is very easy to get by and we were told that if you continue a few more miles beyond the fence you come to a lake but it wasn’t something we set out to do on this particular day so we just turned around and headed back to the truck. We had another hike to do anyway.

** (Don’t take our work for the going beyond the fence thing, do your own research.)** But by all means if in the area we would recommend this nice mellow stroll.

 Then we off and headed towards the Devils Bathtub hike.

 I think we read that this hike is only 1 mile in but because of all the twists and turns and creek crossings I would have guessed it longer. Maybe they measured as the crow flies, I don’t know but it was much more technical than the Iron Creek Trail even though nothing to be concerned about.

 When we first took off we were taking advantage of the make shift bridges to get through the creek crossings without getting our feet wet but after about the 4th one we realized that was a useless thought LOL!!

 We also read where someone was complaining that the trail isn’t marked very well, News Flash, it’s not marked at all!!! But even though you will happen across many forks in the trail offering different options from what we could tell they all lead to the same place. Maybe some trails are easier or harder and we did back track a couple times in order to avoid a steep bank to get to a creek crossing but that was part of the fun.

 As far as creek crossing go, we started counting when we first started but soon gave up on that but we had to  of crossed at least 12 times and probably more but during our visit the water was never higher than just above our ankles (even though you could find deeper if you want). But it felt good because it was warm outside.

 This trail gave us the feel of being in a rain forest setting and offered a good place to get wet at the end if you so desired.

 I guess if you were feeling adventurous to could push on beyond where we stopped but we felt content and headed back after seeing Devils Bathtub. These are my kinds of hikes, not overly long with little elevation gains yet provides great scenery, good exercise and cheap entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we got back to the truck we found a small area set up with picnic tables along the stream and had a little lunch before continuing on to Bridal Falls were we made a short stop.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

 At that point we were pretty close to Spearfish and we had a choice, go on to Spearfish and then home or turn around and drive back through the Scenic Byway to Deadwood and home, we opted for turning around. It was the longer choice but far more scenic.

 Another good day of sightseeing.

 Sunday (6/25), our last day in Spearfish we planned from the start to be a kick back at home day so nothing to report on unless you are really interested in laundry and window cleaning LOL!!. Oh I guess I could talk about how much I enjoyed pancakes made on the Camp Chef griddle for breakfast or the bacon wrapped steaks a did up on the Camp Chef for dinner but I’m saving all of that for a Camp Chef dedicated update.

 We really enjoyed our stay in Spearfish and sat around having coffee outside this morning talking about how we could spend a month here pretty easy. If this campground had a gym and Pickleball it would make it REAL easy for us.

 That wraps it up for this area, Monday (6/26) we will lift our jacks and drive a whopping 55 miles to our next destination just outside of Rapid City South Dakota. We know we will stay there at least 4 days but might try to extend that because there is a lot of day trips we can do from there as well.

 I guess you will need to come back to see what happens, well if you want to.   

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Devils Tower and the Vore Buffalo Jump

 Thursday morning (6/22) rolled around after a night of wind, rain, thunder and lightning. Needless to say we were deprived of a good chunk of out beauty sleep but we both enjoy a good light show so it was not a total loss.

 When we first got up the skies were still dark with clouds and a breeze was still blowing and we started making excuses to just hang around home and not do a thing, it was the lack of sleep talking I’m sure.

 But our sense of adventure won over and we loaded in the truck and headed out with another driving loop and a couple major stops in mind. I guess we really are in vacation mode this year LOL!!

 On our way into Spearfish a few days ago we noticed a landmark along the road called “Vore Buffalo Jump”. To be honest I pretty much wrote it off as anything viable from what I saw from the road, just another hole in the ground I thought but Diane did a little research and it was along our route to Devils Tower so we figured what the heck, let’s stop and spend 10 minutes checking it out.

 As we pulled in the parking lot and saw a small shack used as an office and a Tee-Pee looking building sitting by the edge of a hole in the ground our expectations didn’t get any higher but we were there so we figured we may as well go in.

 Once in the small shack we were greeted by a nice & friendly guy named Kevin who gave us a short spiel about the place and told us that for a $7 fee each he would give us a tour. Well great I thought, now we are about to fork out $14 to have a peak at a hole in the ground but again, but Kevin seemed to have a genuine interest in the place and we were there so what the heck, right?

See the rock ledge in the very center of the picture? That's where the Bison would take their last leap landing where the floor of the building is. The did site is actually inside the building.

See the rock ledge in the very center of the picture? That’s where the Bison would take their last leap landing where the floor of the building is. The did site is actually inside the building.

 After we paid our entry fee Kevin lead us through a door and started talking about the history of this spot and how it was accidently found and what must have happened back in the days before local Native Americans had guns or horses and at that point we were sucked in and realized we too happened on to a special and interesting spot.

That's Kevin our guide.

That’s Kevin our guide.

The Vore Buffalo Jump is a steep sided sinkhole about 40 feet deep and 200 feet in diameter where Native American hunters could stampede bison in the direction of the pit where they would jump to their death or at least be injured enough that the hunters could jump in and finish the job.

 This particular site was used as a kill and butchering site from about 1500 AD to about 1800 AD.

 About ten tons of bones have been removed from the site and only about five percent of the site has been excavated. The pit is estimated to contain the remains of 20,000 buffalo. It’s just crazy to think that that many Bison are stacked up on top of each other over all those years in such a small area!!

They figure the big hole in the skull was created by a Native American finishing the job the fall didn't do.

They figure the big hole in the skull was created by a Native American finishing the job the fall didn’t do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we looked out over the dig area at all of the bones that were present as Kevin explained about all of the commotion that had to be going on during this ancient event we just stood in awe.

(Oh, if you happen to see this Kevin we hope you have a great time with your dad during his visit!!)

 There is no way that I can tell the story in this blog in a way that would come close to giving it the justice it deserves so we will share a link that you can take a look at if you care to, here it is. http://www.vorebuffalojump.org/content/

 To say the least we were pleasantly surprised and happy that we made the stop and would recommend it if you find yourself in the area. With a little luck you might even get Kevin as a tour guide.

 After the Buffalo Jump we continued on our way towards Devils Tower but not without a stop in Sundance. Diane is a big fan of Robert Redford so we had to make a stop so she could visit him in jail LOL!!

 This particular Sundance is not named after Robert Redford’s “Sundance Kid”. Instead it’s is named for the Sun Dance ceremony practiced by several Native American Indian tribes. In fact Harry Longabaugh “an outlaw and member of the Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch” took on the nickname Sundance Kid after spending a little time in the local jail.

 After Diane’s little visit with Sundance we were on our way again, this time non-stop to the Devils Tower National Monument.

 Once we reached Devils Tower we whipped out our Old Fart Pass to avoid the normal $15 per car entry fee and went on our way headed towards the visitor center.

 While driving to the tower Diane informed me that we would probably not see any climbers on the rock due to June being an especially sacred month to many Indian tribes and of course it was a sacred place before it became a National Monument.

To my surprise while sitting on a bench gazing at the mountain waiting for Diane to come out from the ladies room I saw climbers!! Well as it turns out throughout June, the park asks visitors to voluntarily refrain from climbing on the Tower or scrambling inside of the Tower Trail loop but it’s not a mandatory thing.

Can you find the 2 climbers on the rock? Well 3 if you count the guy poking his head over the top.

Can you find the 2 climbers on the rock? Well 3 if you count the guy poking his head over the top.

We zoomed in on this climber.

We zoomed in on this climber.

 After the visitor center we headed to the 1.3 mile trail that circles the base of the tower. I think we both figured it would take about less than an hour to make the loop but by the time we stopped to take in the views and yack with people and watch the climbers we ended up spending close to 3 hours!! Well I guess that’s our MO any more, we don’t do anything fast.

 Devils Tower rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and stands 867 feet from summit to base and the summit is 5,112 feet above sea level and the dome of the tower is approximately 1 1/2 acres, about 200 ft. by 400 ft.

The climbing history of Devils Tower dates back to the late 1800s when it was first climbed by two local ranchers using a wooden ladder. Climbers from all over the world consider Devils Tower to be a unique and premier climbing area. Currently, about 4000 climbers come to Devils Tower each year.

 

 We read that the average time for two climbers to climb the Durrance Route is between 4-6 hours. It takes about one to two hours to rappel down. But in the 1980s, Todd Skinner – a Wyoming native – free-soled (climbed alone, without ropes or protection) the Walt Bailey route in 18 minutes.

 

 

 

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Ok, that’s about it for evils Tower, we enjoyed our stroll around the base but it was time to move on.

Instead of going home the way we came we opted to continue on Hwy 24 and make a loop out of it through Hulett, Aladdin and Belle Fourche and then dropping back into Spearfish from the north.

 Worth mentioning is a 125 year old store in Aladdin that caught our eye while driving by, enough so that we just had to stop and go in. We love old buildings like this.

 Another great day of touring!!!!

 

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A little time in Sturgis and a Fish Hatchery tour

 

 Wednesday (6/21) we decided to take a drive to Sturgis which is only 19 miles away by taking the backroads from our campground which is HWY 85 towards Deadwood and then Hwy 14 to Sturgis. The other option is a 15 mile drive on the freeway which we chose to ignore.  

 The first thing we did was drive through Sturgis and on to Bear Butte State Park thinking we might do a hike Diane read about but once we reached the park and took a look at the mountain we would need to scale we decided otherwise. It was a darn Billy goat hike and we were in no Billy goat imitating mood!!!

I toured this museum a few years ago so we didn't do it this time.

I toured this museum a few years ago so we didn’t do it this time.

 After leaving the State Park we headed back to Sturgis and walked the streets popping in and out of a few shops before making our way to the Indian Motorcycle shop in town. Diane has always had a love for Indian’s so we figured what the heck, let’s look at some eye candy.

A nice old Indian.

A nice old Indian.

 After the Indian shop I figured it was my turn and we headed to the Harley shop but the shop in Sturgis does not carry motorcycles, just parts and clothing, how can that be!!??

 By this type we were getting a little hungry and thirsty so we headed to The Knuckle Saloon to take care of both of these incapacitating conditions.

 Once we were feeling human again after a good meal and adult beverages we headed back to Spearfish to visit the D.C Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. Dang that’s a long name but that’s what they call it.

 Admission is free to the hatchery which is a deal considering all of the displays they have and guided tours that are given by volunteers (of course donation jars are available)  

Gift shop

Gift shop

 The hatchery was created in 1896 to breed, stock and build a trout population in the Black Hills of South Dakota and now between 20,000 and 30,000 rainbow trout are stocked out of this hatchery each year into nearby lakes and streams.

The museum.

The museum.

There is a nice museum on site.

 The Booth House that was originally built in 1905 to house Dewitt Clinton Booth and his family (the first hatchery superintendent) is also open for tours.

The Booth House

The Booth House

A coffin piano

A coffin piano

 There is also a replica of a Fisheries Railcar open for touring. Before the invention of refrigerated tanker trucks, fish hatcheries were faced with the problem of how to quickly move fish from hatcheries to lakes and rivers around the country and rail was the best answer. 

The Fisheries railcar and the Ice House

The Fisheries railcar and the Ice House

During the Fish Car Era, ten specifically designed railcars were constructed; and by 1920, fish cars had carried over 72 billion fish across 2 million miles of railroad track. The D.C. Booth Hatchery displays the only federal fisheries railcar exhibit in the country.

And there is a replica of a 1899 Ice House on display. Blocks of ice were cut from the ponds in the winter and stored in the ice house for use in summer transportation of the fish and eggs.

There are a few nature trails you can walk that gives a few good views.

There are a few nature trails you can walk that gives a few good views.

We hiked up this trail only to find it closed at the top.

We hiked up this trail only to find it closed at the top.

 Of course there are the fish. Lots and lots of fish that seem to almost beg you for food that can be bought in the gift shop.

Diane having fun feeding the fish.

Diane having fun feeding the fish.

 Another good day of touring. Thursday we plan to drive to the Devils Tower and the Vore Buffalo Jump site.

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Spending a little time in Deadwood and a drive on Spearfish Canyon Scenic Highway

Monday morning (6/19) we lifted our jacks and hit the road about 8am headed to our next destination 260 miles away in Spearfish South Dakota.

We drove HWY 16 through the Bighorn National Forest through some beautiful country for about 70 miles until we reached Buffalo where we jumped on I-90 that we drove the remainder of the way to exit 17 about 10 miles east of Spearfish.

Up Up and away!!

Up Up and away!!

Our site is way at the top of this picture but you can't see it.

Our site is way at the top of this picture but you can’t see it.

Our site at Elkhorn Ridge Rv Resort

Our site at Elkhorn Ridge Rv Resort

Once we reached Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort we checked in, set up, took a walk around the park and just chilled the remainder of the day.

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Tuesday (6/20) we got a halfway early start to a day of touring with our first stop being Deadwood which was just 8 miles away.

Deadwood

Deadwood

Deadwood

Deadwood

I have been through Deadwood a couple times on scooter rides and Diane was with me on one of those rides but like most rides we spent very little time actually checking things out in depth.

Deadwood

Deadwood

A bar in Deadwood that was filled with Kevin Costner stuff because he filmed Dances With Wolves in the area.

A bar in Deadwood that was filled with Kevin Costner stuff because he filmed Dances With Wolves in the area.

We spent a couple hours just walking the streets while popping in & out of whatever looked interesting before getting back in the truck and heading out towards Spearfish Canyon Scenic Highway.

Deadwood

Deadwood

The old train depot in Deadwood.

The old train depot in Deadwood.

Diane does not seem to like what she's seeing!! That's ok honey, we will get back to playing Pickleball pretty soon LOL!!!

Diane does not seem to like what she’s seeing!! That’s ok honey, we will get back to playing Pickleball pretty soon LOL!!!

The speed limit on the scenic highway is only 35 mph but to be honest I found myself driving even slower so I could take in all of the scenery.

Most of the drive the road follows Spearfish Creek with a number of turnouts in case 35mph ends up being too fast for you and you just need to come to a stop and take it all in.

The entire drive is very pretty but you just HAVE to stop and check out the waterfalls that can be enjoyed by just taking short hikes, well walks really.

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls

Roughlock Falls. You can JUST see the larger part of the falls in the background.

Roughlocks Falls. You can JUST see the larger part of the falls in the background.

Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Falls were our favorites but Bridal Veil Falls is worth a look see especially because it right on the highway.

On the trail to Spearfish Falls

On the trail to Spearfish Falls

Spearfish Falls

Spearfish Falls

Spearfish Falls

Spearfish Falls

It's a 1 1/2 mile round trip hike to this falls.

It’s a 1 1/2 mile round trip hike to this falls.

Oh by the way, Spearfish Canyon was the location for several scenes in the movie “Dances with Wolves.” We didn’t know that before taking our drive but we enjoyed it so much that we have been talking about doing it again and if we do we have 2 more hikes picked out and we will check out the “Dances with Wolfs” filming location.

The trail to Spearfish Falls

The trail to Spearfish Falls

We ended the loop at Spearfish and headed to the Visitor Center to see if there was anything spectacular that we didn’t already know about in the area before heading out for a bite to eat. We chose the Crow Peak Brewery even though we knew they didn’t serve food but we also knew that Bunky’s BBQ was right next door so we planned to get a brew at the pub, some BBQ from Bunky’s and enjoy. What we didn’t plan for was Bunky’s being closed on Tuesdays LOL!!!

Crow Peak Brewery

Crow Peak Brewery

Oh well, we had an adult beverage at the brewery and then headed to Killian’s Pub for a late lunch / early dinner and another brew before heading home for an afternoon nap LOL!!

A great day of touring and a loop we would recommend if you ever find yourself in the area. Tomorrow we plan to drive to Sturgis and then check out a local fish hatchery, be sure to come back and check it out.

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Touring around Worland and Thermopolis Wyoming

First off let me share a link to a video that I shot while at Warren Bridge Campground outside of Pinedale. I was going to put it in our last update but my editing program took a dump and I just found a new one to test. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1gCwyHNYfI&t=31s

Saturday morning (6/17/17) after a great visit with our friends Tom & Diane we lifted our jacks and headed out on a 266 mile travel day to Worland Wyoming.

This is a wildlife bridge over the highway. We love that they have these.

This is a wildlife bridge over the highway. We love that they have these.

We drove HWY 191 southeast until we reached Farson where we switched over to HWY 20 and followed it the rest of the way.


It was a 2 lane highway type of day which makes 266 miles a little longer but all of the roads were in great shape and they took us through some pretty country which made the drive go by pretty fast.

DUCK!!!

DUCK!!!

Duck 3 times!!

Duck 3 times!!

Once we were all set up and after a bite to eat and a little down time we headed out for our usual driving tour of the area which didn’t take long. Between Worland being a pretty small town and me being a little tuckered from the longer than usual driving day we found ourselves back home pretty early with the intention of cramming a lot in on Sunday, and we did!!
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Sunday morning (6/18) after our morning routine we jumped in the truck and drove 33 miles outside of town to check out a spot called Gooseberry Badlands.


Diane had read in a review that one visitor liked this area even better than Bryce Canyon so even though we couldn’t imagine anything out in this area coming close to matching Bryce we had to have a look for ourselves.
As soon as we pulled into the overlook parking lot we knew we were correct in our assumption about it not comparing to Bryce but hey, it was something new to see and there was a 1 ½ mile looped trail so we decided to make the best of it.

This would be the only rock I would let Diane pick up without giving her guff but no can do, it was in a protected place.

This would be the only rock I would let Diane pick up without giving her guff but no can do, it was in a protected place.

See our friend on the top of the ridge?

See our friend on the top of the ridge?

Come on down Diane!!

Come on down Diane!!

Oh Ok, sit down and rest while I wait down in this hole with o breeze.

Oh Ok, sit down and rest while I wait down in this hole with o breeze.

Other than a deer this was the only other critter we saw. Oh and a chipmunk.

Other than a deer this was the only other critter we saw. Oh and a chipmunk.

The trail is pretty easy but certainly not for those that are not overly steady on their feet and there are a set of wood and dirt stairs to navigate at one point but otherwise a well-marked trail.

We hiked the 1 ½ mile trail taking in the views of the many hoodoos and various rock formations before heading back to the truck to figure out our next stop which turned out to be the Dinosaur Museum in Thermopolis.

I’ll admit that the Dinosaur Museum wasn’t on the top of my list but Diane had been talking about it for a few days so the Dinosaur Museum it would be, she puts up with my train and plain museums LOL!!!


As we pulled up to the museum even Diane started having second thoughts because it certainly didn’t have the curb appeal we had expected or the size but once we went inside our thoughts changed, it was jam packed with more actual real artifacts than probably any other museum of this type that we have visited.


And if just looking isn’t enough you can go on tours of actual dig sites which seemed to be popular but we didn’t do that. But we did spend easily 2 hours touring the museum.
Even though it might seem like we are putting a lot of pictures of the museum in our update keep in mind that when I walked out I had taken around 75 pictures LOL!!! That’s a lot for a guy who wasn’t really interested in going in the first place. But I whittled it down to just these.

 

 

Here is a link that tells all about the museum in case you have a hankering to research more. http://www.wyodino.org/

After seeing all of the dinosaurs in the museum Diane headed straight to these. But I bribed her, a beer & burger or a stuffed dinosaur,,,, as expected she picked the beer & burger LOL!!

After seeing all of the dinosaurs in the museum Diane headed straight to these. But I bribed her, a beer & burger or a stuffed dinosaur,,,, as expected she picked the beer & burger LOL!!

After the Museum we headed downtown to the One Eyed Buffalo Brewery for a little lunch and an adult beverage before heading to the Hot Springs State Park at the edge of town (the oldest state park in Wyoming).

 

 

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Once we reached the state park we realized we stumbled into a car show!!! Perfect timing, HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO ME!!!

I think we would fit it that just fine. Can it be towed????

I think we would fit it that just fine. Can it be towed????


For a small town they had a pretty good car show going on with music playing, food vendors and even a full bar set up.

This made me think back to when I was a kid. My dad had the plastic covers put in every new car that I can remember growing up.

This made me think back to when I was a kid. My dad had the plastic covers put in every new car that I can remember growing up.

I had an old Olds 442 like this except green. Fun & fast.

I had an old Olds 442 like this except green. Fun & fast.


We wandered through the drooling over a few rides that we could see ourselves tooling down the road in before heading to the truck and driving to a different section of the park that had a few Bison roaming around for a look see.


After the Bison we headed down to the swinging bridge that was built in 1916 and crosses the Big Horn River and to aw at the colorful travertine bank that the hot springs have created along the river.

Crossing the swinging bridge at Hot Springs State Park

Crossing the swinging bridge at Hot Springs State Park

I read that over 3 million gallons of 135 degree mineralized hot water is discharged each day from the springs. Some of the water channeled and regulated to two bathing pools that we didn’t go check out but I guess is a huge draw for visitors.

The look on your face after dipping your foot in water and then finding out it's 135 degree's!!

The look on your face after dipping your foot in water and then finding out it’s 135 degree’s!!


By the time we finished up at the state park we felt like we had a pretty full day of touring and headed home to rest up for another long travel day that would be coming the next morning. Yup, it was a short 2 night stop but we stuffed it pretty full of sightseeing.

You will need to stop back in to see where we landed next but it’s bound to be chocked full of touring as well.

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Visiting friends and touring Pinedale Wyoming

 Wednesday (6/14) we lifted our jacks and departed Idaho Falls with a very pleasant 137 mile travel day ahead of us to visit our good friends Dianne & Tom just 20 miles outside of Pinedale Wyoming where they are camp hosting at a great little campground along a river.

 

 We headed out of Idaho Falls east on HWY 26 and continued on 26 until we reached Alpine Wyoming where we switched over to HWY 89 until we reached Hoback where we turned onto HWY 191 and continued to the Warren Bridge Campground.

 Tom & Diane have Camp Hosted at Warren Bridge 3 years and we can see why. It’s a very small & neat campground with only 16 sites that sits on the very pretty Green River.

Warren Bridge CAmpground

Warren Bridge CAmpground

 There are no hookups at the campsites but there are a few water spigots scattered around and a dump station on site and with a cost of only $10 per night ($5 with an Old Fart Pass) it’s a great place to settle in and tour the area from, and of course for us to see good friends.

Our site in the foreground and Tom & Dianne's towards the center

Our site in the foreground and Tom & Dianne’s towards the center

That's Tom & Dianne's spot on the left and us on the right

That’s Tom & Dianne’s spot on the left and us on the right

 We rolled into the campground about 12:30 if I remember correctly and of course as soon as we got settle in we got right to catching up with Tom & Dianne. For those of you that follow the blog you might remember their names popping up over the last few years because we have bumped into them in places like Pahrump Nevada, Quartzsite Arizona, Casa Grande Arizona, Painted Rock State Park in Arizona, Colorado and Tucson Arizona. And it never gets old running into them.

 After a short visit we all decided to all go our separate ways and get back together later for a run into Pinedale for a little driving tour and dinner at the Wind River Brewery.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner we headed back to the campground where we visited a short time longer and then called it a night.

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 Thursday after a leisurely start to the morning and a short visit with Tom & Dianne we (Diane and I) decided to drive back into Pinedale and visit the “Museum of the Mountain Man”

 In the early-to mid- 1800s, the fur trade was booming in America and Europe. Beaver pelts were in high demand for fashions, especially headwear, and the mountain men in the Rocky Mountains were able to make a living trapping and trading pelts. Mountain men like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Thomas Fitzpatrick and William Sublette carved their legends in the Wind River Range with employment in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and blazed a new beginning for the pioneers of the Oregon Trail heading west.

 

The Museum’s permanent collection includes many pieces from the fur trade era like Native American clothing, a great Winchester firearm display, a Shoshone bow made from the horns of a Bighorn Sheep and authenticated to be one of the oldest specimens of its kind, a buffalo-hide tipi that is one of only two buffalo-hide tipis still displayed in the nation.

 

The golden years of the Rocky Mountain fur trade can be traced to March 1824, when Jed Smith led a party of trappers into the Green River Valley, finding an abundance of beaver and a lack of hostile Indians to contend with. The mountain man, the annual springtime rendezvous, and overland supply system that followed this discovery ultimately characterized the classic Rocky Mountain fur trade era. The rendezvous of 1840 was the last of what is now known as the golden era of the fur trade industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The entry fee was $10 or $8 for those over 60 and if you stop in at the Visitor Center downtown before going you can pick up a coupon that saves you $1 each. We found the museum pretty interesting and I think it’s the first museum dedicated to the Mountain Man that we have come across in our travels.

 

After the museum we stopped at a small park located in the middle of town and took a stroll along the river before heading home, we had another restaurant to hit and need to get ready.

Pine Creek runs through Pinedale Wyoming

Pine Creek runs through Pinedale Wyoming

Pine Creek

Pine Creek

 Once we got home we had about an hour to kick back before meeting up with Tom & Dianne and heading to the Branding Iron Restaurant in the tiny town of Bonduant (with a population of just under 100) which is 23 miles in the opposite direction from the campground as Pinedale.

Me (Dave) Diane, Dianne & Tom

Me (Dave) Diane, Dianne & Tom

 If you find yourself in the area don’t let the size of the town or the size of the restaurant fool you because the food is great. Tom had a Tee-bone, his Dianne had Fish & chips and my Diane and I both had Salmon and everyone liked there meal. Oh and of course the deserts were pretty darn good as well.

Branding Iron

Branding Iron

 After dinner we all headed home, visited a bit more and called it a night. Another great day.

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 Friday after another leisurely start to the day and a short visit with Tom & Dianne we (Diane & I) headed back through Pinedale so we could check out a scenic drive (like anywhere you drive around here isn’t scenic LOL) on Skyline Drive, which starts out as Freemont Lake Road in Pinedale.

Freemont Lake

Freemont Lake

 The drive gets you some great views of Wyoming’s third highest summit (Fremont Peak at 13,745ft) and some great views of the Wind River Range’s jagged mountain tops before ending at Elkhart Park.

 At the beginning of the drive we started at 7185ft and climbed to 9097ft at the top which provided us with some great views of America’s 7th deepest natural lake, Fremont Lake as well as views of Half Moon Lake and Soda Lake.

 The entire drive is only about 32 miles but with all of the stops we made to take in the views it took us a while. And if it wasn’t a “HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT” wind day we would have taken more time.

 After our drive we headed home, kicked back for a while and then headed over to Tom & Dianne’s for dinner. Tom did up some Brat’s on the BBQ and Dianne made up a potato casserole and vegies, mmmmmm good.

 After dinner we went for a walk down by the river and then sat around outside until the breeze kicked up enough and the temps dropped enough that we called it a night. Our last day in Pinedale had come to an end.

Diane, Dianne and Tom

Diane, Dianne and Tom

 After a good night’s sleep Saturday morning rolled around and it was time to lift our jacks, say our “see ya down the road” to Tom & Dianne and hit the road at 8am, we had a 265 mile day ahead of us so we got a little earlier start to our day.

Diane & me (Dave) standing in the middle of the Labyrinth that Tom & Dianne made.

Diane & me (Dave) standing in the middle of the Labyrinth that Tom & Dianne made.

 I guess you will need to stop back in to see where we headed LOL!!      

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Our stay in Idaho Falls

As we mentioned in our last update we picked Idaho Falls as our stop on Friday (6/9)

Idaho Falls is the largest city in Eastern Idaho with a population of just over 60,000 with a metro population of 136,108 and sits at 4,700 feet in elevation.

What is now Idaho Falls was the site of Taylor’s Crossing on the Montana Trail which was a timber frame bridge built across the Snake River. The 1865 bridge was built by Matt Taylor who was a Montana Trail freighter who built a toll bridge across the river. The bridge improved travel for settlers moving north and west and also for miners, freighters, and others seeking riches in the gold fields of Idaho and Montana and especially the boom towns of Bannack and Virginia City in western Montana.

Mail service postmarks indicate that by 1866 the growing town had become known as Eagle Rock. The name was derived from an isolated basalt island in the Snake River 7 miles upstream in the Snake River that was the nesting site for approximately twenty eagles.

In 1891 the town voted to change its name to Idaho Falls, in reference to the rapids that existed below the bridge. Some years later, the construction of a retaining wall for a hydroelectric power plant enhanced the rapids into falls. In 1895 the largest irrigation canal in the world at that time began diverting water from the Snake River and aided in converting tens of thousands of acres of desert into green farmland in the vicinity of Idaho Falls. The area grew sugar beets, potatoes, peas, grains, and alfalfa and became one of the most productive regions of the United States.

According in our neighbor in the campground, who is retired from the power company here in town, the hydroelectric plants on the river produce 33% of the power for the city.

Historic Downtown lies along the east side of the river and has a lot of small restaurants, wineries, shops, and art centers scattered around in some neat old buildings.

Across the Snake River to the west has more of a small-town feel and doesn’t have the congestion of the east side.

On both sides of the river going through town is a great green belt that has a very nice walking and bike trail with a couple huge parks and a small Japanese Garden.

And Idaho Falls is a college town and we have mentioned before how we love college towns and the vibrant feel they tend to bring.

Sure, there are some run down and not so attractive areas in Idaho Falls but overall from our short visit we found it to be a nice place. One HUGE downside is the lack of RV parks. IN fact I would say that the park we stayed in was among the 5 tightest and un-desirable sites we have stayed in during the almost 5 years we have been on the road. But it certainly was convenient for touring the area.

 

This has to be in the top 5 of the tightest sites we have stayed at in the almost 5 years we have ben on the road. But it's not always about the campsite, it's about the area you want to explore.

This has to be in the top 5 of the tightest sites we have stayed at in the almost 5 years we have ben on the road. But it’s not always about the campsite, it’s about the area you want to explore.

After we rolled into town on Friday and got set up we took off on our typical driving tour with a stop in historic downtown to grab a bite to eat at the Snakebite Restaurant which is rated #2 for places to eat in town.

Diane had a Blue Cheese burger and I had the Fish Taco’s that were raved about on Trip Adviser and both were good but I didn’t think the fish tacos were as good as everyone talked about on Trip Advisor.

After our 220 mile travel day, our driving tour and food we decided to call it a day and kick back the rest of the evening.

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Saturday morning (6/10) we headed downtown at about 9am to hit the Farmers Market.

Saturday Market at about 9am. By 10 the street was full of people.

Saturday Market at about 9am. By 10 the street was full of people.

It was average sized and the setting along the green belt by the river was very pretty. A number of crafters were set up as well as a few places serving food and only a couple stands selling vegetables and most of what we saw came from California surprisingly but then I guess it’s a little early in the season for this area.

Taken in the Japanese Garden in Idaho Falls

Taken in the Japanese Garden in Idaho Falls

Even though it was a cool & breezy morning we took a stroll along and over the river taking in the sights. I think both of us have slowly turned into weenies when it comes to cool weather, heck I even wore a light pull-over jacket BUT NO LONG PANTS LOL!!!

We had to wonder what happened to the rest of her babies. Cute but sort of sad.

We had to wonder what happened to the rest of her babies. Cute but sort of sad.

The rest of the day we spent driving in the surrounding country side through farmlands and driving through the different sections of town.

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Sunday (6/11) we decided to take a road trip about 75 miles north to see the upper & lower Mesa Falls outside of Warm River on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. The Byway covers about 30 miles and takes you from Warm River through the Targhee National Forest and eventually runs back into HWY 20.

Our first stop was to take a look at the lower falls. It’s a very short walk from the parking area to the view point.

Lower Mesa Falls on the left and you can see the mist from the Upper falls on the right side of the picture.

Lower Mesa Falls on the left and you can see the mist from the Upper falls on the right side of the picture.

From the Lower Falls we drove a short distance to the Upper Falls and stopped in at historic Big Falls interpretive center to learn about a little about the geology and history of the area and look at some of the artifacts on display.

**Mesa Falls Tuff, which is the rock over which Upper Mesa Falls cascades, was formed 1.3 million years ago. A cycle of rhyolitic volcanism from the Henrys Fork caldera deposited a thick layer of rock and ash across the area. This layer compressed and hardened over time.

Upper Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls

Between 200,000 and 600,000 years ago, the river eroded a wide canyon which was subsequently partly filled with basalt lava flows. The Henrys Fork of the Snake River then carved the channel through the basalt; which is the inner canyon seen today.**

Below Upper Mesa Falls

Below Upper Mesa Falls

Upper Mesa Falls is roughly 114 feet high and 200 feet wide and the state has done a fantastic job creating walkways that get you up close and personal with the falls.

Once again we got the short end of the stick weather wise but it was still a great sight to see.

After the falls we continued on the Scenic Byway branching off on a few gravel roads that took off in one direction or the other in hope of seeing some wildlife but had no luck. We did happen across Fish Lake however and found a few boondocking sites that we will keep in mind if we pass through this area again.

Fish Lake

Fish Lake

Hello from Idaho

Fish Lake

Fish Lake

Fish Lake

Fish Lake

We sure wish it would have been a sunny day. I bet the blue and yellow flowers would have been very pretty.

We sure wish it would have been a sunny day. I bet the blue and yellow flowers would have been very pretty.

See the Crane?

See the Crane?

Once we reached HWY 20 again we drove to Harriman State Park.  From 1902 to 1977 the land was owned by Union Pacific Railroad and private investors and served as a cattle ranch and private retreat for the Harriman and Guggenheim families.

We were told by a park volunteer (Dave) that some of the best fly fishing waters in the nation flow through 8 miles of Harriman State Park, known by anglers the world over as “the Ranch.”  Moose, elk and Trumpeter swans, the world’s largest waterfowl species, are a common sight at Harriman. Dave also said he has seen 2 bear in the last 2 weeks and a fellow volunteer saw Elk but we were not that lucky.

A few of the old ranch building are offered to rent and a few were open while we were there to tour which was pretty interesting. We sort of envied Dave (the volunteer we chatted with) because he & his wife are going to spend the summer here enjoying the great views. Plus it’s located at just over 6000ft elevation so it would be a cool place to spend the summer.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan is the heaviest living bird native to North America

The Trumpeter Swan is the heaviest living bird native to North America

After the state park we headed towards home and chilled the rest of the evening. A great day!!

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Monday (6/12) originally was going to be a travel day as we planned our trek east but I think I mentioned in our last update that the weather at our next stop showed rain and a chance of snow flurries and because that stop would be a dry camping spot we decided to stay 2 more days in Idaho falls even though the weather in Idaho Falls was supposed to be rainy. But we would rather endure poor weather with hookups so it was an easy call.

To our surprise there were sun breaks during the morning so we jumped in the truck and headed downtown to the Green Belt after stopping in the office to pay for 2 more nights.

After parking we headed off on what was supposed to be a nice 6 mile walk but about 1 mile in the wind picked up and it started to sprinkle so we turned around and headed back to the truck. Once we reached the truck the weather was just looking iffy again so we kept on walking.

We got about ½ mile when the skies started looking pretty darn threatening so I checked the radar on my phone and sure enough there was a nice big RED area headed right towards us so once again we turned tail and headed back to the truck LOL!!!

As we got about 50ft from the truck it started raining and hailing, pretty big hail to so I drove down the street until we could park partially under a tree that blocked some of the hail until the front went by, well the hail anyway.

We had a couple spots we wanted to see in the area so we drove around a bit and then we made our way to the Snow Eagle Brewery for a late lunch. It was still raining when we left the brewery so we said to heck with it and headed home.

We just screwed around until we figured that even though we were not very hungry I would BBQ a couple steaks we had thawed out with the intention of keeping on for dinner Tuesday.

After dinner we just killed time until game 5 of the Cavaliers and Golden State came on. That pretty much ended our mixed bag day. Too bad Cleveland, I was cheering for ya. But Diane was happy.

Tuesday (6/13) we woke to rain just as the weatherperson forecasted and we have no real plans other than grocery shopping and to catch up on some basic household chores, oh well it has to be done. You can escape a lot of the real life BS by living this life style but you just can’t escape household chores LOL!!

So I guess we will wrap it up about our stay in Idaho Falls for now. Tomorrow (6/14) we will lift our jacks and make a move into Wyoming!!

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