Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Expressive Features

Late last year, and a few months after we moved to Idaho, LC and I had some business to do in Pocatello.
We left the house early and had full intentions of finding some public access areas at the American Falls Reservoir, before moving on to the town of Poky (which we happily avoid as often as possible, and which we get in and out of as quickly as we can when we can't avoid it).
Turning off the interstate, we drove a paved secondary road and then turned off, heading in the general direction of the reservoir.
Wandering aimlessly around gravel country roads that we did not know, we found ourselves deeply embedded in farm country.
Crops were already done by that time of year, the canals were dry, the huge fields were brown and dormant, and the irrigation equipment loomed large and silent at the edge of fields, prepared to wait out the upcoming long, barren winter.
I was stunned at the size of the fields.  Idaho has more serious farming than Wyoming could ever hope to have, and I didn't realize that until we moved here.
After much wandering we found the water.
The problem was that we found endless private farm land, and could not find anything that remotely looked like a public access area.
WTH?  How do people get DOWN to it?  
We could see water ( close and yet so far as they say although I don't know who "they" are) 
but couldn't get to it, and after wandering gravely roads and barren fields for a long time, eventually had to give up on the effort because - as they say - we had places to go and things to do.
Fast forward a few months and in late winter LC and I found ourselves driving Hwy 39 (the two lane highway between Blackfoot and Aberdeen) multiple times, as we headed to the home of  those who desperately wanted people to finish the job of clearing up their downed trees.
In need of wood and in short supply of money, we were happy to oblige.
And while driving Hwy 39 we found...........yes............signs pointing the way to multiple public access areas of lakes, rivers and the reservoir.
During that first trip to cut wood both LC and I resolved that we would explore these accesses when wood cutting was finally done.
On our last wood cutting day a few weeks later, instead of turning left and heading towards the two lane to make our way home, we instead turned right and headed towards the reservoir.
We were tired and hot and dirty and hungry, but every time we had been to the home we had seen the water off in the distance, and on this day we impulsively decided to make one quick stop before driving our booty to the house.
And this is what we found......................
As I stood at the top of a cliff looking out over this place I realized just how much I had missed scenes just like this.
The sky was perfect.  The water was perfect.  There was sand and outcroppings and seagulls and mountains and choppy waves lashing against the shore.
The trees were still bare.  Of course they were - it was still only March.  In Idaho.  At 5000 feet.
With the warmth we had had recently, it was easy to forget all of that.  But one day the trees would all be green again.
I had seen the reservoir on a map (and we had seen parts of it from a distance beyond endless brown fields) but I had not realized just how big this body of water was.
I made a comment to LC about it being as big as Woods Reservoir in Tennessee.
LC smiled - no - it's MUCH bigger than Woods.
He was right.  I hadn't realized.

American Falls Reservoir

Woods Reservoir

We had both been warm while messing around with heavy logs, but close to the water it was windy and cool.
I hated to leave this place but we both needed things.
Food.  Cleanliness.  To unload a heavily loaded truck.  
We visited a couple of other local fishing holes a few days later.
A blog for another day.
We found water and I was very glad to see it..................

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature..............Henry David Thoreau

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