|Bend in the Henry's Fork of the Snake River at Harriman State Park, Idaho.|
I had a meeting up on campus until the early afternoon so that kind of negated a long trip so Yellowstone was out. We decided we could check out Harriman since it is only about 45 minutes away. We invited one of Garrett's friends to go with us, picked up some chicken and some snacks for a picnic and headed up to Harriman State Park.
The Harriman family were railroad barons during the industrial revolution. They had their hand in developing the Union Pacific Railroad that serviced the west. They also acquired quite a bit of land as a result, and created the Railroad Ranch as a vacation home. The ranch was a working ranch, but in reality it was a hobby ranch for the family.
W Averell Harriman was responsible for the creation of Sun Valley Resort in central Idaho, and he and his brother Roland donated the Railroad Ranch to the state of Idaho with the understanding that it would become a state park and a wildlife refuge. The Harriman's had already begun work restoring the elk herd to Island Park and also working to attract other wildlife to the area.
Today, the park has about 16,000 acres and twenty miles of trails. It boasts the largest flock of trumpeter swans in the world and is home to a large population of sandhill cranes. In addition, hundreds of other bird species call Harriman State Park home. Dozens of mammals also frequent the park. We forgot our insect repellent and learned that billions of mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers also inhabit the park. That is not enough to keep us away, rather we'll remember to bring the essentials next time.
We only walked along about ten percent of the trails yesterday, or rather two miles. We took the Ranch Loop and headed back along the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. Really we were trying to get a feel for the park and decide if we wanted to spend more time there in the future. We decided we do. We started the afternoon with a picnic and then took a short walk around the picnic area through an interpretive trail talking about the park and it's unique geology/ecology.
|Chimene and the boys at the picnic. Those aren't beer bottles, it's gourmet cream soda in brown bottles. It's better that way|
|What the interpretive trail looked like. There were about a half dozen of these kiosks along the trail.|
|Island in the bend of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River along the interpretive trail|
The trails were well marked along the way and there was a sign at each intersection with a map that showed where you were and where each fork in the trail went. If you pay attention it should be virtually impossible to get lost at Harriman State Park. We had decided earlier that we would do the Ranch Loop Trail because is was short and there was a good chance to see some wildlife along it.
We saw dozens of trumpeter swans in the distance and as the trail skirted the river we saw another nesting pair fairly close up. Shortly after that, the trail cut over to Silver Lake and we went along the east shore trail. We saw a family of swans along that part of the trail and I did spot and photograph a Parry's Mountain Gentian. There weren't a lot of wildflowers in bloom on this trip. I think if we had wanted to see the wildflowers here we would have needed to come in June or the first part of July. We'll note that for next year.
We also learned that if we want to do a lot of bird watching or photographing we need a bigger lens for our camera. It would be almost impossible to get close enough with the current lens to get any really good close pictures of the birds. It's also best to see the birds and other animals early or late in the day. There are a couple of yurts in the park that can be rented for $55.00 an evening and can sleep six. We want to do that so we can rise with the sun and see the wildlife and photograph them.
|Main thoroughfare of the historic ranch|
|One of the ranch buildings|
|More of the ranch buildings|
|Ironic that the Railroad Ranch would have fenceposts made of railroad ties|
|The boys on the trail|
|Nesting trumpeter swans along the Henry's Fork|
|I just liked this picture|
|Second best picture of the day|
|Best picture of the day|
|Swan family. This is why I need a bigger lens|
|Parry's Mountain Gentian|
|The Hot Chick on the trail|
|The old forest sentinel. Just what I called it|
|An ancient ox-bow lake on the way to becoming a marsh|
|What the trail looked like for much of the way. Shaded, serene, peaceful.|
|The trail along the river. The mosquitos were really bad right here.|
|Another view of the river|
|The Osborne Bridge|
|River weeds around a rock in the river near the bridge|
|Sunset over the Henry's Fork from the bridge|
|On the bridge|
|The boys and me on the Osborne Bridge|
|One of the concrete pylons in the river, supporting the bridge.|
|The moose at Swan Lake|
|More of the moose|
|Another picture of the moose. A big lens would have been really good here|
|Sunset over Swan Lake|