October 18, 2022, St. Anthony, ID- The best thing about hiking on a sand dune is returning the sand to its spot on the ground, by emptying the shoes. There is no better feeling in the world, than “giving back” in this way.
Also right up there is seeing the lights in several children’s eyes shine, as they learn of things like rhymed couplets and iambic pentameter-taught by one who knows them best, their mother. Home Schooling makes sense for some children, and I witnessed such a group today. I needed to be with other kids, so it would not have been good for me. The three boys and their sister were able to dive into the mechanics of poetry, and read Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, with each person selecting a part, and Mom taking up the slack. Math, mythology, science and Physical Education rounded out their day, later on.
By then, I was off to St. Anthony Sand Dunes, another surprising aspect of the Snake River Plain. The dunes are twelve miles northwest of town, beyond the potato fields that are so synonymous with this swath of central and eastern Idaho. They were the result, it is said, of the shrinkage of several large lakes in the area, as the climate warmed, towards the end of the last Ice Age. The smaller lakes exposed fine sand, which stopped and began to pile up at the foot of the extinct volcanoes known as Juniper Buttes, as well as at older, longitudinal dunes from previous climate shifts. Today, the Dunes range in height from 10 ft. to 500 ft. Those off to the west tend to be higher, and are given names like Choke Cherry and Dead Horse Bowl. As one might expect, ATV users are given paths to follow, through the fine, white sand. The season for ATV use is essentially from April or May to November. The dunes are mostly closed from January to April or May-to allow for dune regeneration and to give the area’s wildlife a rest.
Here are some scenes of the foliage around Egin Lake and of the dunes themselves.
Once back in town, I stopped at Chrissy’s, a family restaurant a few blocks from Three Bear Inn. They are well into the Halloween spirit. If you look closely, a skeletal parrot and donkey are in the lower background.
I got back to Three Bears in time to keep the ducklings company, while the clan went off to a physical education session. It’s been a rejuvenating 1 1/2 days.