Monday, February 20, 2017

Chillin' in the Magic Valley

Sunday's plan to ski in Sun Valley was foiled, thanks to 12" more snow predicted, the northbound road was closed. Something about avalanche mitigation.  
Okie dokie, just saved myself a four hour round trip. 
Plenty to see in the Twin Falls surrounding area called Magic Valley. First, the crew has to be motivated to finish breakfast.

We're staying in Buhl, a farming town close to a handful of parks. 

I try to go to Ritter Island Park, but potential flooding has it closed. So I make my way to higher ground.

Along the way, I can see the effects of last week's devastating flooding in the valley.  These mallards think a flooded field is a new pond.

Doofus on point!
Thanks to detours, we get to see a lot of the former family owned farmland that has become consumed by big ag conglomerates.
Totally disheartening to see dumpy farmhouses,  thin pregnant beef cows and dairy cows living in abominable conditions.

Not Happy Cows.

Their tails have even been docked. Not the same magic valley founded on pioneers principals.

The Oregon Trail passed right though the valley. From Missouri to Oregon, 2100 miles traveled by over a quarter of a million settlers. 
Started in the 1840's, reaching its peak during the 1860's.... Wouldn't you risk it all to get away from the Civil War in the East? 

Risk it all they did, for 150 days, they faced drought, cholera, hostilities from Indians and highwaymen, drowning...

Pete is most worried about the famine part-- understandably since he's fading away and all.
It's only a 6 mile hike.

Hagerman Fossil Beds has the richest deposit of fossils in the  country. Most interesting to me are the prehistoric horses that roamed the valley.

The boys, as amateur archaeologists.

The Emigrant trail that begins on a gravel surface becomes snow covered a quarter mile down.

We all get our quota of cardio for the day.

The boys aren't having as much trouble...

... especially Cole, who has no problems whatsoever. He figures as long as he can see me, he's fine. But sometimes, I can't see him. Can you see Munchkin?

A speck in the landscape.

Zooming in for you.

You need binoculars to keep up with him!
Because of his propensity to be up the trail from us, we turn around half a mile before the end. 5 miles will be enough anyway. 
The urgent care doctor this morning said he was concerned because my broken toe was so swollen. Ice it, he said. Technically, I'm following doctor's orders. My boots were soaked by mile 2, my feet are wet and frozen. I AM the best patient. 
After a two hour nap at our motel, I can feel my feet again. I tell Pete that were going out for a short little walk, I promise!

A little spin down to the Snake River.

Maybe just a little further.

What's around the next corner?

They're not running off leash because of potential hazards:

Signs of porcupines everywhere.

Wouldn't that encounter make for a fun vet bill?

Plus, there's what I believe to be highly poisonous water hemlock growing everywhere. 

Once I'm sure we found a duck free spot in the river, we play. See Pete, wasn't this worth it? 

Oooh, you didn't realize two hours was my version of short?

Enjoy the geology of the lava rocks.

I know I am!!!

Perhaps you would like to observe how the cottonwood bark mimicks it's habitat by having a bark that looks like running water? A little too fruity for you, Pete?

He is very interested in the rainbow trout that a fisherman has caught. Food is his fixation.

He picks up the pace as we near the end of our hike!

Finally, we go home, right?

Not quite...
Clear Springs Foods has a fisheries unit a mile from the trailhead. We must view the sturgeon from the underwater observation deck.

" Really, you drag me out for this?".

OK, OK, we'll go home, after we give Binky a bath. I think Pete's giving me the middle finger, I can't be sure through the suds on the windows!