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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
No Photos 23rd May 2011 - Summer 2011
Day 37-Snake River Birds of Prey, Hot Springs and Wine

We’re in the western area of Mountain Time Zone so it stays light late….the sun doesn’t start to go down ‘til almost 9PM, seems really weird to be that light so late. Beautiful sunsets here in Idaho, too.
Went to the Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area-the largest concentration of nesting raptors in No. America and maybe the world. It’s a 50 mile drive on the Western Heritage Historic Byway that starts in what they call the desert but looks like prairie to us. We stopped at Dedication Point where you get an overlook of the Snake River and the Canyon from above. Very windy but what a view. Then drove down a windy, steep road to the Swan Falls dam and hydroelectric plant. There’s boat ramps, picnic areas and grassy areas. We then drove alongside the Snake River on a dirt road, getting out to ogle every now and then. There were lots of small birds hovering just above the river, we never figured out what they were after. A family of Canadian geese popped out of the reeds near the river a few times, we think they were teaching the four babies how to navigate the rapids, they kept going back on shore and then in the water again. Saw lots of holes in the ground, they say ground owls, prairies dogs (which we saw a few of), jackrabbits and marmots and badgers. Also heard of bunch of coyotes on the other side of the river. There’s a high population of coyotes in the canyon. We had lunch in the truck by the side of the river, so peaceful, didn’t want to leave. We lost all sense of size, it’s so big down there, and we were the only ones down there. Saw a flock of some sort of seagull and lots of ravens and hawks. There was a nest on top of a pole in the middle of the river and you could see a bird and some babies in it so I went to see it closer. The adult bird didn’t like that and started circling above me and screaming. I think it was a Swainson’s hawk (we had a brochure and that’s what it looked like) but I didn’t stick around too long to find out. As I was running away from it all I could think of was how sharp the talons would feel on my head.
Back up the mountain and as we pulled over to take a picture of a town in the valley two Golden Eagles (yes, Golden Eagles!) flew in front of us. Harry had the camera and tried to get a shot but they’re fast. And big. One of them had something in it’s grip and we saw a prairie dog running right after that so it could have been one of the family that got caught. The birds were awesome. We’re almost, sorta, kinda used to seeing Bald Eagles, but never a Golden Eagle, they’re a golden brown, AND HUGE!!!!
Caught our breath and decided we now needed to find a winery. So we found a road with 21 wineries on it in the Idaho Wine Trail. I think every state has a sand dune area and a wine trail. Lots of orchards and wineries together, apricots, pears, apples, cherries and peaches. And wine grapes. We stopped at Ste. Chapelle, a winery that the campground owner suggested. Up on a hill in the mountains, very pretty, as they all are.
On the way we also stopped at Givens Hot Springs, a recreation area that has an indoor pool that is fed by natural hot springs. Today it was 97 degrees. In 1879 the owners built a town around it that served the silver and gold miners from Silver City with soaking tubs so they could “take the cure” from arthritis and whatever else ailed them. Today it’s a modern pool.
Not too warm today, cloudy and a high of only 65, but we heard Boise had hail so I’m glad we didn’t go there today. We’re still here for two more nights, lots to do here, very surprised at how much we like Idaho and how scenic it is.

Next: Day 38-Boise, ID
Previous: Day 36-To Idaho

Diary Movies

Lunch on the river

Snake River Dedication Point

Standing on the edge

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