Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mud Lake ID

A couple of days ago I found a log headboard on a local online classifieds site.
I have often seen these kinds of headboards, have always liked them, have never been able to afford them, and when I unexpectedly came across this one for $25 I jumped all over it.
LC, Kory and I made a quick stop to do errands this morning in Blackfoot, and then drove to a tiny community whose name I have already forgotten that was located just beyond Idaho Falls.
Straight up farm country, with terrain filled with gravel roads, endless BLM land, and endless open fields that were already in the beginning stages of growth even this early in April.
A whole lot of sage and irrigation equipment and silos and tractors and mobile homes backed up to growing crops.
After quickly ending our business and loading our headboard (that also unexpectedly came with log side rails and was nicer and heavier than I had expected) we picked up the two lane Hwy 33 and headed towards a place that I have wanted to see ever since we arrived in Idaho.
Mud Lake:
Not long after we arrived in Idaho I sat in the living room in one of the old chairs that had been left behind by the previous home owners (before we became the proud owners of furniture that normal people our age usually already own - things like couches and love seats), and Googled the area that we had just moved to.
I spent an hour or more scrolling in all directions around our area - looking for hills, buttes, mountains, water, back roads, rivers, anything else that caught my attention as I tried to more fully understand the area that we had just moved to.
Mud Lake was one of those places.
It had water.  A big lake.  A smaller lake.  A river. A bird habitat. 
Many months later (after having driven the long way to get the headboard) we drove the long way home, just so that we could make a stop at this elusive Mud Lake place.
Even this early in the year, Mud Lake was beautiful.
More beautiful than I had ever expected.  Certainly more expansive than I had ever expected.
The lake was huge, there were trails veering off in many directions, there were inlets that I am certain must be full of water by spring time but at this time of year were still bone dry.
Even on a cool and cloudy day - with bands of rain all around us that threatened but never happened - and with endless leafless trees, I was very very pleased that we had taken the long way home................

Bypassing a few parking areas as we both tried to get the lay of the land, LC eventually pulled into a large picnic area close to what would usually be the water, but was now just a dusty dry river bed.
My dog lunged for the truck door, eager to be set free from the vehicle-bondage she had been quietly enduring for the past few hours.
I was eager to set her free.
We were in the truck instead of the Tahoe because we needed the space in back for the head board.  Which is fine, but Kory has learned over the past few weeks that she doesn't HAVE to sit quietly on the middle seat.  
She has learned that if she stands on my lap she can stick her head out of the window.
Which means that I spend a whole lot of time in the truck pinned to the back of the seat by a 56 pound dog.
And I'm always very thankful when she tires of that game, scoots back to the middle seat, curls up in a ball and goes to sleep.
We had driven past the lake, pulled in by the dry river bed, and as soon as I climbed out of the truck looked over at a still smouldering camp fire.
Picnic tables, restrooms, a small walk way that extended out into what would eventually be the river, views of the lake through the leaf-less trees, and on the opposite side of the road was the ever present endless acres of farm land................
The lake a few hundreds yards to our left.................
Enormous cotton wood trees along the shore of the river.
Cotton wood is a hard wood, and burns for a long time in a wood stove.
Pine is a softer wood that burns much faster.
Back east (at least in the south east) NOBODY burns pine if they have a choice, because pine burns so dirty and so quickly.
Here people PREFER pine, and don't like to burn cotton wood because they think it smells funny.
Much of the wood we cut recently is cotton wood and we're pleased to have it.
THESE cotton wood trees will be beautiful in another couple of months.............
So.............I don't often take pictures of animal droppings, but these were so big that they caught me off guard.
Elk, we think................
After loading back into the truck we headed slowly back the way we had come, now in search of a place to pull off so that we could walk down to the lake...............
We had Kory on leash and as we stood in this elevated place looking down over the lake, and I had a good look at it for the first time, I realized just how big of a body of water it was.
We lived in the desert.  We had been happy to find little Springfield Lake not long ago, and were even happier to find public accesses to the very huge American Falls.
All this time I had thought that Mud Lake might (might) just be some nice little lake where LC could do a little fishing.
I had not expected THIS at all.
And so I was pleased....................
LC and Kory headed down the hill and began to walk in the sand, while I continued to stand beside the truck looking out over the unexpected place.
Lifting my camera I snapped a bunch of point-and-shoot pictures, before heading down to meet my man and my dog................
Looking down from the truck, LC and I had wondered if the land surface was nothing but shoe-sucking, leg-sucking, quick sand.
The kind that finds you sinking up to your thighs before you even realize it is happening.
The kind we ran into a couple of times while walking beaches in Juneau, Alaska.
But this place was nothing like that place.
A week ago we were walking in snow.
A week later we were walking here.
A sandy beach.  Shells buried in the sand.  A huge lake.  Waves.  A tide.
A tide?  Here in land locked Idaho??
And yet as we walked along the beach LC and I watched as the tide was definitely and unceasingly moving further and further inland....................
No surprisingly since she is from Florida, Kory loves the water.............
As we were walking in the sand I looked down and saw this print.
There were many prints and at first I thought they were Kory's.
LC pointed out Kory's print.  She has big feet but these prints were sharper and bigger.
Had to be a wolf.
In addition to this being a bird habit, it is also a very popular hunting and fishing destination................
Not long after I met LC, he and I went kayaking together out on Wood Reservoir, not far from the house.
We were still in the middle of that getting-to-know-each-other I-think-I-really-like-this-person stage, and we had pulled into one of the many inlets that were hidden throughout the extensive shoreline.
The water was shallow enough that I could see the bottom, and at one point I impulsively reached my arm down into the water trying to grab one of the multiple tiny shells that lay on the lake floor.
Eventually one of us grabbed an empty plastic soda bottle, and for the next 30 minutes we both fished out as many tiny shells as we could, before we decided that we had had enough and that it was time to move on.
I still have those shells.
Even after all the crazy-making of the last few years.
I have those shells that we pulled out of the lake not long after LC and I met each other in Tennessee.
I have the shells that I collected on numerous beach walks while living in Alaska.
And now I have a whole collection of these from a lake in Idaho................
There was still much to see in Mud Lake.
We knew that we had barely touched the surface of what was at this place, but it was time to head home.
It had been a long day and we still had 60 miles to go.
Instead of walking back along the beach, LC, Kory and I climbed up the high embankment and walked the road back to the truck, so that I could take pictures of both the mountains, the water and the farm land.
Mud Lake is an AWESOME place.
We'll camp here soon, even if we have to sleep in the back of the Tahoe.
Which (the way things are going in the cheap camper-search department) may be what we have to do.
For me to kayak, and he to fish, and us to explore all of this area, it would be worth it.
I loved this place...................
They blend so well with the terrain that they are difficult to see.
Click on the picture and it will enlarge.
And you will the large flock of heron walking together in the field...........
A few pictures snapped on the move and on the way home.
I only took a few pictures.
It's hard to take pictures when there's a large dog standing on your lap with her head stuck out the window...........
The lake and mountains have become my landscape, my real world.................Georges Simenon
The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world.

The lake and the mountains have become my landscape, my real world.


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