Marcia and I moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho in the summer of 1991, a few months after Katelin was born. We lived there for two years in fairly lean economic circumstances, meaning that most of our recreational and entertainment opportunities were of a low-cost regional nature, usually involving hiking, cross-country skiing and/or camping.
That mostly simple lifestyle led us to explore a lot of beautiful outdoor destinations in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, all within three or four hours of home. I have lots of fond memories and keen mental images of shlepping up various mountains with the baby on my back, or of skiing down forest trails with Katelin towed behind me in a human harness sledge I made myself, or of the three of us huddled up in a tent for warmth in freezing high-altitude temperatures. In July.
Come summer of 1993, my work took us on to Upstate New York, where we lived for nearly two decades. Katelin grew up and headed off to college from there, not really remembering anything about her time in Idaho except for stories related to various photos we had in the family album. The three of us finally decided to go revisit and recreate some of those memorable images in 2012, flying back into Idaho Falls, and then traveling over to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It was a great trip, covering a lot of ground, though we weren’t quite able to squeeze in an outlying area that I considered, way back when, to be among the most beautiful I had ever experienced: The Logan Canyon and Bear Lake region in northeastern Utah, close to Idaho’s southern border.
As it turned out on our current trip, getting from our Lake Tahoe stop back home to Des Moines via I-80 meant that Marcia and I would pass within 90 miles or so of the City of Logan, at the southwestern mouth of that memorable Canyon region. So we decided to get off the highway and spend a four-day block up that way to re-explore and see if my memories of the region’s beauty were accurate.
As we get ready to roll onward out of Logan tomorrow morning at the end of this worthy detour, I’m pleased to report that the area is every bit as lovely as I had remembered it. We’ll be passing by Bear Lake on our way to Laramie, Wyoming tomorrow, with high expectations there as well, so still something to be re-excited about on tomorrow’s eastward drive.
Marcia and I have done great hikes out in the very nearby mountains every day (much easier without a baby on my back!), along with pleasant evening walks around Logan’s outstanding urban trail system, with many pocket parks that have been perfect for socially distant carry-out dining. The city is just exquisite, possessing an exceptional urban forest and varied vistas of mountains and valleys and farms and even a vast marshland. Something to grab your eyeballs in pretty much every direction you look, no matter how often you spin about, gawping. Exceptionally pleasant. Highly recommended. Glad we returned, even if it took 30 years to do so.
I post a few snaps of these recent adventures below, as usual, including one from Bonneville Salt Flats, which we rolled through on our way from Elko. We also made a stop at Great Salt Lake State Park, and both of those destinations actually tie geographically to Logan: on our first day here, we walked the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, along what was once a Pleistocene beachfront when the vast Paleo-Lake Bonneville sprawled all the way across what’s now Northern Utah, including the modern Salt Lake and Flats. Huh! A little history makes everything more interesting!
We had originally intended to go south from Logan to Moab, Utah to spend a few days there, but we realized that (a) it’s really hot down there right now, and (b) if we went to Moab, our entire trip back to Des Moines would be on exactly the same roads we took out to Las Vegas. That’s a bit dull to ponder, so we’re opting to keep eastward on I-80 through Wyoming instead, saving Moab for some time after our planned relocation to the Southwest in late 2020. (Of course, we still have to pass through two-thirds of Nebraska and half of Iowa on the same roads we took a couple of weeks ago, but that’s not quite so bad as adding a re-run of the entirety of Colorado’s width to the mix).
This will likely be my last update from the road, as we’ll home by the weekend. I’ll set up a full photo album of these and other snaps after I get home for those who enjoy such things. Lots of beauty in this part of the country. We’re grateful to have the opportunity, health and time available to us to visit so many of these wonderful destinations, seeing them in awe for the first time in some cases, and with nostalgia through older eyes in others.