Boise - Leslie Gulch & Geology

August 26-31, 2001

On this six-day trip we covered 1104 miles, enjoyed splendid scenery, experienced up close many geologic wonders, learned about the region's cultural history, and sampled various places in wonderful Boise.

Day #1. Highlights: Salt Creek Falls, Hole in the Ground, lunch at the base of Fort Rock, a visit to the Fort Rock Homestead Museum featuring pioneer buildings and an interview with a 97-year-old pioneer lady. Then to Crack in the Ground where several of us descended into the chasm amid big rocks and debris on a hot day. Finally, through Christmas Valley and Wagontire to Burns for the night.

Day #2. East on Hwy. 20 to Vale, southeast over Keeney Pass to inspect some Oregon Trail ruts, via Nyssa to the Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell. Within the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History is the Evans Gem and Mineral Collection. The displays are awesome, especially for the rock hounds. On to the World Center for Birds of Prey; their work in the restoration of condors, peregrine falcons and other species is intriguing with prospects of good success. To the Best Western Vista Inn in Boise for three nights.

Day #3. An early walk on a cool morning on the grounds of the Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center, a 4.5-acre oasis in the heart of the city. We viewed fish, waterfowl, trees, plants in abundance, and more - a delight for the nature lover. At Julia Davis Park we boarded the Tour Trolley Train for a one-hour introduction to the City of Trees. The stately homes on E. Warm Springs Blvd. are beautiful and are heated with geo-thermal steam, as is the State Capitol. Following this tour, the nearby Idaho Historical Museum is a gem. Then at mid-day we split the group: some lunched uptown at the Hyde Park complex of shops and restaurants; others remained at Julia Davis Park for the Chihully glass exhibit, the rose gardens, the historic Black Church and the Green Belt along the Boise River. At 2:00 we began a conducted tour of Boise State University with its 16,500 students already in class. Their Morrison Auditorium is very impressive. And the blue artificial turf at the football stadium seemed very strange. Back to the motel for some R&R. At 6:00 to the Basque Center for a full Basques dinner, delicious. At dusk we viewed the Union R.R. Station. End of Day.

Day #4. First to the State Capitol, which features several kinds of marble and is patterned after our nation's Capitol. Obsidian Gary Marx visited us there; he said "Hi". Then to the Botanical Gardens with an English Garden and many varieties of plants and flowers. Then to the adjacent Old Idaho Prison built of Boise sandstone. The guides took us through some appalling places: the gallows, the Ice Box, solitary cells and much more. After lunch in Municipal Park we returned to the M-K Nature Center for films, talks and a guided tour both inside and out. During the previous night, 50 kokanee salmon had been placed in ponds, quite a vivid red addition. Next we drove up to the top of Table Rock for a great view of the Valley. A white knuckle ride on a curvy, one-lane gravel road, but driver John Mikulich was up to the challenge. Back in town for a drive to the cathedral of the Rockies and other churches. We completed the day with a short walk to Kathryn Albertson Nature Park, which is part of the Green Belt system. Boise is booming. Names such as Simplot, Albertson, Morrison, Knudsen, Micron and Boise Cascade have made huge contributions to better the city.

Day #5. West on I-84, Hwy. 19 to Homedale (deli stop) into Oregon, and south into Succor Creek Canyon, spectacular but on a primitive road. A side trip to famous Leslie Gulch with rock formations, spires, four mountain sheep, and more. Lots of photo stops; and lunch in the hot sun. On to Jordan Valley for Mike Manley's Ranch to see his vintage wagons (some have been in movies). Mike is also an author, tells interesting stories and knows the area well. We were served iced tea and lemonade. Mike was the prime player in restoring the Charbonneau grave site. Overnight in Jordan Valley. This is Basque country with the Old Basque Restaurant and a peseta game court nearby.

Day #6. Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the infant son of Sacajewea, was nicknamed "POMP" by the Captains. Adopted by Gen. Clark, he had a story book life traveling in Europe, then all throughout the West as a Mountain Man, and dying here at Inskip Station while en route to Montana. This site will be visited often during the Lewis & Clark Bi-Centennial. On to Burns where we refreshed at McDonalds. Then our final sack lunch at the Brothers Rest Area. Continuing on Hwy. 20 through Bend, over the Santiam Pass, with a stop at Sahalie Falls. The traffic was light and we were back in Eugene before 5:00 p.m.

Thank-yous to: Rosella Jones (for handling the sign-ups and reservations); Evelyn Hile (for all things monetary); Ethel Allen (for the goodies by the Hospitality people); Liz Reanier (handling many details up front and behind the scenes); Ewart Baldwin (whose explanations of things geologic, geographic and historic are always outstanding); John Mikulich (driver from Oregon Coachways who was professional, personable and helpful in many ways; and excellent pilot); and to all the riders and volunteers who made the trip successful.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Mabel Armstrong, Ewart Baldwin, Mary Cheadle, Dallas & John Cole, Leona Devine, Judy Dobell, Margaret Fea, Jeanette Forsman, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Ben & Pat Jefferies, Ben Kirk, Mary Larson, Gloria Layden, Bonnie Ledford, John & Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Joyce Mixer, Frances Newsom, Joyce Norman, Virginia Prouty, Liz Reanier, Kathleen Schlenker, June Smith, Nan Smith, Bobbye Sorrels, Millard Thomas, Cristy White, Vera Wooley and Ray Jensen, leader.

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