Saturday, July 20, 2013

One of the things we are trying to remember to plan is little getaways. We live in beautiful country and fun things are fairly close to us, we are semi retired, we have time, we need to do fun things away from home now and then. This all makes perfect sense and everyone would agree with it, so how do we manage to forget? So the other evening we watched a DVD that our friends loaned us on Idaho and we saw Bruneau Dunes State Park and I said to Hubby “we still need to go there.” He got on the internet and reserved one of the camping cabins at the state park and we were off. It wasn't too long a drive and we picked a perfect day to go, it was not too hot and the impossible blue skies the Rocky Mountain West is famous for had a few fluffy white clouds . People think of Idaho they usually think of mountains and trees, but the southern part of the state is very much endless prairie country! We went for 2 days and one night and just had a great time.

Bruneau Dunes boasts the largest single structure sand dune in North America!

The Oregon trail is the 2000 mile corridor that brought settlers from the east to the west in the United States- namely Oregon and California. It begins in Missouri and ends at the Pacific Ocean. Most of the westward trails of the 1800s started at independence MO, they started branching off from there – The California, Mormon and Oregon trails followed the same general route to Wyoming where the Mormon trail goes south, the California trail heads south at Fort Hall Idaho and the Oregon trail splits at old Fort Boise and goes north or almost directly west. If you ever get a chance to go to the Great River Road Archway in Kearney Nebraska – do it! It's a very well done interpretive center one of the best I've ever seen. So many people moved along this route that the ruts were dug in the trail very deep and folks could follow the trail by the ruts. In many places along the trail west there are still ruts left from that time, most are being preserved and kept from being destroyed by time or progress. People who are interested in the trail and who learn about the history and go to see the ruts wherever they can are called 'rut nuts'!

I am something of a 'rut nut', (could you tell?) So imagine my delight when I looked at the map of where we would be and discovered that we could come home a different way and follow the Oregon trail southern alternate route on the south side of the Snake river!
So we went camping, climbed dunes, and I got a dose of Oregon trail history that I had not seen before. I love historical markers and Hubby is only slightly less interested, he never actually says he loves historical markers – but he does love museums and we found one in Murphy Idaho that was all about the silver and gold mining days that was very well done. What an awesome trip! 

The cabins at the state parks are rustic (no bathroom or running water but very clean and comfy) and $50 per night, we took all our food and so our fun outing only cost gas and the cabin. A great time was had for about $80!

The best part is that I now have only about 200 miles of the Oregon trail that I have not been on! That I have kept track of this probably says something about me I may have wanted to keep to myself! I do love history!

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