Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Staycation update

It is hard to believe my staycation is almost over.  Where has the time gone.

On July 13th we arrived in a little place called McCall, Idaho.  We visited a place called Hell's Gate Park.  I wasn't sure I was ready for another park, but it is always amazing how each park has something unique about it. This park has basalt columns that looked (to me) like the pipes of a church organ. Although while continuing through the park some of the 'pipes' were vertical, kind of piled up on each other, others were in intricate fan shapes.  Of course we could also visit the Lewis & Clark Discovery Center or the Jack O'Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center and a gift shop, too.  There are areas of ancient Petroglyphs in the park as well, although some have been vandalized with 'modern day' people painting over them...what a shame.

Later, near the shores of Payette Lake we had a magnificent meal at the Mill Restaurant.  A quaint place with a rustic setting, it is noted for its excellent beef dinners and even some local wines.  If we went away hungry it sure wasn't their fault.  After a such a relaxing meal, tummies full, we returned to our McCall motel, tired but eagerly awaiting what excursions would unfold during our last two days of this adventure.

July 14 dawned and we were on the road again, headed for Hagerman Valley and a tour of the Thousand Springs State Park that flow from the River of No Return. This park was created in 1980 by the United States Congress though it's name was changed in 1984 to The Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area in honor of the U.S. Senator Frank Church. It is the second largest protected wilderness in the contiguous United States, after Death Valley, and is nicknamed 'The Frank,' with this wilderness reserve protecting several mountain ranges, extensive wildlife, and the popular whitewater rafting river: the Salmon River.

Finally, ending the next to last day of this trek in the winter resort town of Ogden, Utah.  Getting tired, folks, getting tired, but not as tired as the folks getting on and off our air-conditioned motor coach.  At least, I've been able to sleep in my own bed.

July 15.  Our final day was spent in Salt Lake City...and the only place from this whole trek, I've actually been.  Of course the highlight of the day was to visit the Mormon Square, a magnificent sight indeed, followed by a visit to a place called Cart Memorial Park...the one place I could not locate on the Net.

However, I was able to locate a place called Memorial Grove Park, and I think this is where we actually went.  It's a lovely garden honoring fallen heroes of war.  It has a Vermont marble Pagoda, a Meditation Chapel of Georgian Marble and the Memorial House that was originally (in 1890) a stable and storage shed.
The house was upgraded in 1926 and became a Legion Home used for veteran of wars activities.  Over the years the place was upgraded several times and finally opened to the public in 1994.  In 1999 a tornado tore through the park, and although hundreds of trees were uprooted and damaged, none of the buildings were destroyed. Volunteers helped greatly to restore this park to the pristine condition it is today.

Our last night was spent in St. George, Utah where we stayed at the Abbey Inn, we had dinner and then breakfast before boarding our motor-coach for the final ride home, today, July 16.


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