Tuesday, August 28, 2007

(20) Soda Springs, Idaho

Soda Springs
Blackhawk Reservoir
Ice Cave
Last Chance Canal

I’ve settled in for a couple of weeks so this will be the last Roving report until I move on to my next destination, which will be a doozy. So this would probably be a good time for you to take the time to write to me and fill me in on all the stuff that’s been going on in your life. You know as a full time camper, when I’m on the road, your messages to me are the only real contact I have with friends and family. Fortunately, I have some regular correspondence from friends, so I don’t feel all alone on the road. Even though I have a cell phone, getting an e-mail message from family and friends, I’m able to read it over a couple of times and really absorb even the simplest message. And I thank you for all of them. If you have any questions about full-timing, let me know and I’ll address it in my next roving report.

Well I only traveled about 65 miles from the last site in Downey Id to get to the Blackfoot Reservoir (also known as Dike Lake). It’s on BLM land and I cross over an earthen dike to get to the campground. The campground has about a dozen sites which are all new and for now, they are free! The park has started work on another camping loop and the sites are spaced far apart from each other. Much better than the city park is was just in, where all the sites were right on top of each other.
There isn’t a lot to do in this area, but the campsite has pretty amazing views, big sky, and the lake even though it is down quiet a bit, still looks great. It’s mostly dry farming out this way but the fields are all filled with rich green waves of grain. And they really do wave. I was sitting outside the other day and as the breeze picked up, I looked up over the rolling hills and all the grasses were rolling across the land like giant waves. What an inspiring scene. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it for a long time. Remember, I’m basically a city boy, so seeing stuff like this on such a grand scale is breath taking. And those big big skies overhead give you the feeling the world isn’t as crowded as it really is.

I’ve already toured many of the geological sites in the area and I’m really getting a sense of how our country and world were created over millions of years. Like going to the Ice cave the other day. It was right in the middle of a field outside the town of Grace (now wouldn’t you like to live in a town named Grace? Make you feel like you’d be blessed your whole life if you lived there).

Next to an old weathered sign was the entrance to the cave. Come to find out, it was created fairly recently, history wise, as a volcanic tube from all the volcanic activity in the area. Which even changed the flow of one of the rivers in the area. Small sparrows were flying in and out of the entrance and no they weren’t bats. I entered, thinking of course there will be enough light, but after walking a short distance in the cold dark cave, I went back to the truck for a small flashlight. Sure wish I had a bigger one with me. I went as far as I could without bumping into anything in the pitch black and decided my adventure here was pretty much finished. On my way out, I was able to see by the light of the entrance, the black volcanic rock that created this tube. They tell me it goes on for over a mile getting narrower and narrower as you go in. Amazing how barely a few feet into the cave the temperature drops from the mid 80’s outside, to about 50 degrees or colder in the cave.

The area just outside of Soda Springs is where the Oregon trail split, one going west to California and the other heading towards Oregon. Portions of the old trail are still visible.
I also saw the original and later versions of the Last chance canal. A manmade water way traveling over the deep gorge of the river below like a modern highways concrete beltway crossing over each other. The canal is used for mining and is now used to irrigate the rich lava soil farm fields in the area.
This is also mining country. Phosphate and bauxite. Monsanto and a number of other mining companies operate in the area.

Oh, I just signed up to be the camp host for this BLM campground for a couple more weeks. They even gave me couple T-shirts and baseball cap. I also get a site with full hookups so I’m all set. I’ll be spending the 4th of July and my Birthday here as well. Maybe I’ll get a potato cake with spud candles. Sounds like I’ll even get a check for $15 a day for being the camp host. Image, I’m a working stiff again. Actually the duties are very light, basically just keeping an eye on the place and reporting any unsavory activity in the area.

Wishing everyone a Happy and safe 4th of July.

Caution: It is illegal to have or use fireworks on BLM land. A fine of $150 and a $25 processing fee will be charged to anyone using or harboring fireworks on BLM land. Just doing my job man….

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