Farewell to Summer: a day trip to Island Park

Fall where I live can be so lovely.  I say can because sometimes fall is skipped.  We go from 80 degree temperatures to the 40’s and are tromping around in snow for Halloween.  One year since we have lived here it was actually below zero for Halloween.  Disgusting!

But the last three years we have had the most amazing autumn.  I am looking forward to that this year.  It has still been in the 70’s and 80’s during the day, but cooling of to the 40s at night, so the morning are chilly.  I love it like that.  And the leaves are starting to fall and the colors will soon change.

For Labor Day, we decided to nod our head to summer by heading out for a day trip.  We live in such a lovely part of the world, when it isn’t covered in snow.  Well, even under snow it is lovely but I am such a cold wuss it is hard to feel motivated to go out.

We all got bikes last year, and we have taken several biking trip all around, such as in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.  We heard there were also great bike trails in Harriman State Park, so we decided to check them out.  So we packed up, took a picnic, and headed out for our adventure.  By the way, one of our favorite pastimes for car travel is to listen to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts.

After biking in Harriman, we wanted to visit Mesa Falls.  Here is a map of the area:

This is also a well known area for fishing.  We went fishing at Warm River a while back and my husband caught 8 trout that day.  Another post for another day, I suppose.

Harriman State Park is full of lesser traveled trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding.  It encompasses some pristine forest and lake area, and is a treat for the eyes.  But there was a bit of a problem: what they labeled as “easy” bike trails were really more “moderate” for me and outright “difficult” for our nine year old.  I was imagining a paved trail, like in Grand Teton.  No such luck.  The very best trails were gravel/dirt roads.  Most of the bike trails were single track mountain biking trails.  My two older kids had a wonderful time maneuvering their bikes around.  I finally got the hang of it.  But my nine year old cried for part of the time.  And I don’t blame her!  There was one patch of trail that was so sandy and dusty several of us nearly fell, and she really biffed it.  But, brave girl that she is, she was willing to keep going after her Dad adjusted her brakes.  So, I wouldn’t recommend this area for biking unless you 1. have the tires and stamina for it and 2. don’t have tiny kids or trailers and 3. Don’t mind dodging piles of horse poop.  Difficult trails aside, the country was beautiful and peaceful.

Beautiful Lake

Do you see the graceful swans? They were so serene.

One of the trails went alongside the length of this lake--my favorite!

Old Family Barn in the Park. Why do I love Barns?

After our adventure, which took about two hours of solid biking, we went back to our car to retrieve our picnic lunch.  Once rejuvenated, we were ready to head over to Mesa Falls.

Mesa Falls, in my opinion, is one of the lovelier places on the planet.  The mist from the falls creates this green, lush microclimate where ground cover and different kinds of berries and wildflowers flourish.

Look at that forrest on the other side of the river!

This is a view of the upper falls.

To see the lower falls, you actually have to get back in your car and drive to it.  But before leaving, we hung out like porch monkeys at the Visitor’s Center.

This kind of flower was in full bloom.

Visitor's Center and gift shop

My daughter will probably kill me for posting this photo, but I thought it turned out so pretty!

A view of the lower falls

My son attempting to give me a heart attack!

It was a lovely day overall, and my youngest got lots of praise for how brave she was to tackle those tough trails.  We all slept well that night!  Yes, we left piles of laundry to do and a lawn to mow, but really….how many days like this are left?  In this neck of the woods, you gotta grab those days while they are there.  We are like bears before hibernation, except for collecting food, we collect Vitamin D.

Speaking of which…my neighbor’s corn is on.  Time for a corn fest tonight!  How many can I eat?  I don’t want to admit that in cyberspace.  Another plus to Autumn in Idaho.


4 thoughts on “Farewell to Summer: a day trip to Island Park

  1. Pingback: Big Springs in Island Park, Idaho | Damommachef Travels

  2. Hi Jessica,
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Island Park to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!

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