June in SE Idaho is a mysterious thing. Sometimes it is 90 degrees; sometimes it is 45 degrees. Sometimes within the same 24 hours. We are talking daytime highs–not overnight lows. So trying to get out and about in June can be tricky.
We were promised beautiful weather last week, which unfortunately turned into some very windy days. Not breezy. That we can handle. More like gale force winds.
It was on this windy day that we decided to adventure out anyway, with the hope that once we drove about 40 minutes away the weather might be different enough so as to be tolerable. We filled our car up on the way and almost got blown away. We almost turned around and came home. But since our little outing was in honor of Father’s Day, the Dads wanted to keep going and we humored them. Luckily, as if by magic, the wind calmed down to “breezy” and we were blessed with a lovely late afternoon.
On the way to Yellowstone is Island Park, a well known area for hiking and fishing. In Island Park are some truly lovely spots, one of which we visit at least once every year. It is called Big Springs. Here is the location on a map.
Also in this neck of the woods is Mesa Falls, which I blogged about last year. Mesa Falls is down from the natural springs that originate in Big Springs.
Big Springs is a Natural National Landmark, being one of the 40 largest natural springs in the World. Because its temperature is constant throughout the year, Big Springs does not freeze and is home to great accumulations of wildlife. Here you can camp, picnic, take a nature hike (which is an easy two mile hike along the river), view wildlife, and see the historic Johnny Sacks cabin.
First we stopped for a picnic.
Here is that “fruit-cake” up close. How fun!
We also had Curried Chicken Sandwiches on homemade Focaccia. At the guy’s request.
At the head of the nature hike is a bridge. From this bridge the view is amazing, and down in the crystal clear water you can spot a variety of water birds, huge trout, muskrats, and river otters. On this day we saw several large fish and a muskrat. Here is the view from the bridge.
The nature hike is a very easy hike with a few gentle ups and downs. Even the youngest in our group was able to complete it with ease. The entire way is paved, boardwalk, or gravel. It winds through the trees along the edge of the water. We even saw a moose once come out of the trees on the other side to take a drink of the water. It is a great introductory hike after the long Idaho winter.
At the end of the hike there is a bridge and boat dock.
A stop here should just take a couple of hours at most. It is one of our favorite locations. Lucky for us, it is right in our own backyard!