Wednesday, June 4, 2008

North of the border

This last weekend we joined Heather and Nana up in Idaho. They were on their way in to visit us, but first were stopping in Twin Falls to visit Uncle Dan in nearby Buhl. We drove up Friday after work and got into Twin Falls about 9:30 or so. We stayed up late in our big suite at the Super 8, then got up for a nice free breakfast there before heading our separate ways. They went to pick up Uncle Dan to take him shopping, while we went on our way to Hagerman for the Fossil Days celebration and parade.

We first stopped at the little Twin Falls farmers market to check out their goods. It's nice to see a farmers market in town, but right in the middle of fields where farmhands are actually tilling and planting. Pretty cool.

Hagerman's a tiny town, and their humble parade was perfect for us. Not too much competition in gathering the thrown candy, lots of fire engines and motorcycles and Shriners guys. It was small and adorable. Afterwards we checked out the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument visitors center, where the kids excavated horse fossils, broke ancient reptiles and amphibians free from rocks, and made playdoh fossils.

Then we met up with Heather and Nana at Uncle Dan's home. It was nice to see him, have him meet our kids and see Amy again--but it was pretty sad too. I remember him quite differently, dark skin, big and tough with his shirt tucked in snug around his belt, a black mustache and a smirking smile. I was the "war hero." We love him--we can still love and encourage him--and we're so glad and thankful he has a perfect sister like Nana who visits him and gives him a drop of hope and sweetness in his ocean of difficulties.

We left Uncle Dan's and went back out toward Hagerman to the actual national monument. There were beautiful lookouts over the Snake River and the rock layers that yield so many rare fossils, and the road paralleled the old Oregon Trail. We even crossed it while walking a short trail.

our next stop was the Minidoka Internment National Monument. The displays and information about it were in the Hagerman Fossil Beds visitors center, so we went back there for a bit. The actual location was a backroads drive away, past Jerome. It was one of the ten Japanese internment camps ("relocation centers") from WWII. The circumstances these good people had to endure--while most remained strongly loyal to the US--were unimaginable. Many of them went on to fight in the war for the US, even after having been ripped from their homes. Being there, imagining their lives, was sobering.

We had just enough time to go back through Twin Falls to Shoshone Falls. It's always a beautiful place, higher than Niagara, just there near the interstate on the Snake.

We drove home late Saturday night in the Idaho dark.

(I also made a Flickr photoset of the entire trip.)

The line of tractors coming down the parade


The kids stood there, waving, the entire duration of the parade. They got a stash of candy, so it must've worked.

Bella, paleontologist in the making. She was very meticulous about cleaning the sand off the bones. Those were real bones, by the way.

The Hagerman horse fossil. This is how the national monument got its name.

Chipping away at faux-rocks. Inside each was a little rubber frog or lizard. There was a table with these very convincing rocks piled high. The rangers were prepared for a lot of kids it seems; it was really cute and endearing so I'm glad we participated.

At the Snake River overlook.

The clouds were beautiful that day, with drizzles of rain coming off and on. This is looking out on the Hagerman valley, right where the Oregon Trail came through (lower right).

Walking to the Oregon Trail overlook.

Nana found a horny toad! This made her extremely happy. And apparently the horny toad too, by the expression on its face.

Amy and Oey on the walk. The Oregon Trail is on the left.

The old guard station at Minidoka Internment.

A set-up shot of two lovebirds at a historic location. What an amazing place. We had to show the love while we were there. The river behind us was beautiful and flowed roughly under a bridge along the road, where swallows were flocking and a dry severed cow leg rested. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

The girls

Heather and Nana in front of the security checkpoint.

We found this old half-underground barn that we were convinced was from the internment camp. I'm now thinking it was just from farming operations after the fact, but it was cool and dilapidated anyway. There was a barn owl on the rafters at the rear.

We swung by the Twin Falls temple on the way to the falls. It was not quite done, though I wouldn't be surprised if it were open in a couple of weeks, judging by how close it looked. You could see it shining from the freeway.

The always-beautiful Shoshone Falls. I really like the lighting we got to see them in, right before sunset with the sun brightening the water on its way down. Spectacular.

Family falls pose

The boys and the falls. Jarom was quite safe, mind you.

The parting shot, family on the monument rock.


moonshinejunkyard said...

yeah for idaho's beauty! we really got to be there on an amazing day. the sky was fantastic, and the snake river is so gorgeous; i can't believe how fast and wild it flows. matt, thanks for researching all these cool sites to visit. i am so glad the kids got to participate in the fossil days celebration, what a cute little community to do such great kids' activities!

we had such a fun time with you guys! love you!

Life on Pelican Street said...

Way to be! You guys are creating so many fun memories for your kids! I have never been to Idaho, the falls are really beautiful!

bandini said...

i am truly jealous. i cant wait to be hangin with you guys. such a rad adventurous bunch i love it, see you soon.

Maria said...

You guys are always on the go!! FUN!!!

Ben, Telia and Aeden said...

What a beautiful family! You guys are always having so much fun and I love that you share them with us. I love all of your pictures. Great to see you guys again.

Heidi Daniels said...

Jeff is from Jerome, right outside of Twin Falls. The temple is open in AUgust, I'm excited to take hm and his family! It's looking really pretty! Sounds like you guys are always going on some adventure, what fun!

Papa Dan said...

What a fun time for you guys. Thanks for the great pictures. I enlarged each one. Beautiful country.. Oey is growing into a regular infant so fast. I like the picture of the 5 of you guys with Jarom appearing to strangle Bella and Oey saying 'Hey cut that out' to Jarom (well maybe not those exact words!!Dad

Carrie Petersen said...

I love all the pictures the swing looked way fun. We miss you guys call us sometime or I'll call you. :)

Sarah said...

A lot of cool pics! I love how accurate and historical you guys are. Your kids get to do a lot of fun stuff!