In Nevada we had seen a few historical markers, etc. for the California Trail (the route of the mass emigration of settlers headed west in the late 1800s) and as we headed into Idaho from Utah, we started seeing a new set of signs indicating that we were on the Oregon Trail (Bryan and I were cracking up – remembering the old computer game and hoping we wouldn’t end up dying of Cholera). At a park in Soda Springs, ID we were able to see the wagon ruts that are still visible in the soil. We ended up staying just a few miles outside of this little town, so were able to come back and explore its sights on a day trip. Again, we lucked out with an awesome campground! We found a BLM campground at the Blackfoot Reservoir and I’m not exaggerating when I say “found”. It’s off a highway that is out in the country with just hay bales and a few silos. Then you take a left on road that goes off into nothing-land and then after a mile or so you make another right into more nothing-land, and at this point I see absolutely NO water and have no faith we’re really headed to a reservoir when after another mile or so we make another slight turn and are facing a small pond and then a HUGE reservoir among beautiful rolling hills. As we pulled in I saw what I thought were really big cows at the water’s edge (which wasn’t a stretch since there were a lot of cows in the area) – but we later learned they were MOOSE! And for the next few days while we were there we were able to watch them with binoculars out in the water eating plants (there were a few males and a mom with 2 babies). This was pretty exciting for me as I’ve never seen a live moose in my life and to have them just a bit away from our campsite was both exciting and a little scary. The campground was just behind a small little plot of houses and was fairly empty – so we had a lot of peace and quiet. I know we’re only about 2 weeks in – but I fell in love with this area!! Soda Springs / Blackfoot Reservoir is definitely my favorite stop so far!
On our day trip we found that little Soda Springs (population 3100) had a lot to offer! No surprise – they actually have springs dotted around the town with natural soda water bubbling up into pools for the taking. We went to two of these with multiple Nalgene bottles in tow hoping to stock up. Unfortunately, it’s not the soda water taste we’re used to — it had an acid and metal taste. It was fun to have a few swigs but we were certainly not going to take any home. The other stops on our self-guided tour included: 1.) Formation Springs – crystal clear pools hidden up a dirt road that originated with rainfall from 13,000 years ago. There was also a small cave that Bryan and I were able crawl into – it was super creepy but SO fun! 2.) Slag dumping at the Monsanto Phosphorous Plant – Soda Springs is home to one of the largest phosphorus reserves in the United States. Five times an hour / 24 hours a day, they dump molten slag down huge dump piles. You can see this from down below and it looks like lava flowing down – it’s insane! We watched a few of these. Kind of gross and disturbing, but also so fascinating! 3.) A geyser in the middle of town that shoots off every hour. 4.) There were also a lot of little sights among the town that took us to a few community parks. These had super fun old school playground equipment! We played on 2 different merry-go-rounds, swings, see-saws, huge tires, and got to practice on a mini-excavator. This little sleepy town occupied us for an entire day and we still didn’t see everything! It was awesome.
We stayed here for only 3 days/2 nights as we are trying to get to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and ultimately Glacier. On Monday before we left – we headed back into town to both get much needed haircuts. We found a great little salon (Linz Style Station) and were super happy with our new hair-dos.