Sunday, September 22, 2013

Following the Snake River

It was definitely a day of two halves. We experienced our first disappointments of the trip in the early part of the day. Overnight we were staying in Twin Falls, Idaho which boasts one of the best waterfalls in the USA. Shoshone Falls is higher than Niagara and is called the Niagara of the West. It can be viewed as the Snake River enters Twin Falls. Unfortunately, we arrived at the end of a dry season, and the falls were just a trickle. The views of the Snake River at this point were fantastic, but it wasn't why we were there. We left Twin Falls with Caroline carrying a bit of a cold and me doing the brunt of the driving so far. We headed east through Idaho which is a very agricultural landscape, loads of planted fields of crops. Our first stop was in a town called Pocatello.

The beautiful Snake River, near Twin Falls

Unfortunately, Shoshone Falls were virtually dry

The Snake River is the dominant feature of the South of Idaho. It is a beautiful river that runs from the Teton Mountains in Wyoming westwards through the whole of Idaho providing the irrigation needed for agricultural produce in the region, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean in Washington State. We followed its meandering course as we headed eastward. Pocatello promised to be great with an historic downtown district. However, the historic downtown district was a bit of a dive, and although we had a nice coffee, in a pretty cool cafe, the town still proved to be a disappointment. It did bring us a laugh on the drive out, when we saw a pizzeria named "Papa Murphy's" indicating the Irish demographic in the city.

Blackfoot's surprisingly good Potato Museum

Around midday, after we left Pocatello, things started to pick up. First, Caroline's cold seemed to ease up. Then we came to Blackfoot which has a Potato Museum. Now we thought this was going to be a pretty cheesy exhibition, but we were pleasantly surprised by the educational and entertaining way the museum was set out. Idaho is a state built on agriculture, and in particular, potatoes which we saw in the next town to Blackfoot, Shelley, which was having the annual fair, called "The Spud Day". It might possibly be my biggest regret of the holiday that we didn't have time to stop, but we were on a tight schedule as we headed further east to Wyoming. We did manage to eat an Idaho Spud Bar which is a coffee flavoured candy with the weirdest texture I've ever had. I didn't really like it, but didn't really dislike it, it was just really odd.

The stunning Snake River in the Teton Mountains

The Snake River was a dazzling green colour in the late afternoon sunshine

As we headed to the eastern side of Idaho, the road started to rise. We still followed the Snake River, and it became more and more spectacular as it approached its source in the mountains. In fact, the Snake River valley road which leads into the Teton National Park has to be one of the most spectacularly beautiful roads I've ever driven down. The river has cut a deep channel in the mountains and leads all the way to Jackson, where we stopped for the night. Jackson is itself a fantastic little town nestled in the Teton Mountains. It is a ski resort and tourist destination with loads of boutique shops and restaurants. We had a drink and some food in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. I had an Elk burger, which was a little more gamey than beef, and we had some more Sierra Nevada Ale. It's an early night for us tonight, as tomorrow we do a 10-12 hour one day tour of Yellowstone. Not sure if I'll be posting after this tomorrow, but we're hoping for some spectacular sights.
Caroline under one of Jackson's amazing Antler Arches

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