Day 6: Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Johannes helping the pioneer woman grind her corn.

We found out from the guide in the visitor center that if we had come a week later, we could have seen a reenactment of the Three Island Crossing, where volunteers pretend to be early pioneers crossing the river. They try to be as authentic as possible, wearing period costumes, crossing the river on horseback, and even towing along real covered wagons. These volunteers must attend 4 practices before they get to participate and still, every year, a wagon tips over in the river. Can you imagine what it must've been like to be a pioneer crossing with everything you own in those wagons? And they never got practice runs before the real crossing.

On a whim, we decided to stop by a museum off the I84 in Idaho to learn more about the Oregon Trail. The museum was located at Three Island Crossing, where the early pioneers had to decide whether or not to cross the Snake River. The crossing was very dangerous, but if they were successful and reached the northern bank, the route north of the river was much easier than the southern route.
Johannes excited that we got a great room for $44 in Boise, ID.
This gate guard gave us a free pass to the Idaho state parks because we were on our honeymoon!
On our map, we noticed that we went right by the Hagerman Fossil Beds, so we decided to stop there, too.
Christina taking a time-out to connect with her environment.
These fossil beds are famous for the great number and variety of bones from the Hagerman Horse, precursor to our modern-day zebra. Other fossils of small mammals were also found here in abundance. These animal remains were buried in sedimentary rock in the region, 3 to 4 million years ago, layer upon layer. 15,000 years ago, a big flood swept through the Idaho Plains and exposed a cross section of these layers, revealing the fossils that make the Hagerman Fossil Beds famous today.
The Hagerman Fossil Beds are located along the Snake River, the river that the Oregon Trail traversed. This road was so well-traveled that you can still see wagon ruts left by pioneers on the trail. (See the white path through the middle of the picture.)
After the unplanned stops at the Oregon Trail and Hagerman, we visited Craters of the Moon, one of our planned national park stops.
At the North Crater Flow Trail. Craters of the Moon showcases fissure vents, volcanic cones, and lava flows of the Great Rift Zone, an area that began erupting 15,000 years ago and only stopped 2,000 years ago. This was the second stop where we learned more about the volcanic activity in the northern U.S. What is special about this area is that the volcanic activity didn't originate from one volcano, like at Mount St.
Helen's. Instead there are a series of formations that released lava because this region sits on a fault in the earth's crust where magma pushes up to the surface.
Pohoehoe lava comes from extremely hot flows which harden in pleats like hot fudge poured from a pan.
Johannes walking up Inferno Cone
Top of Inferno Cone
Arco, Idaho - right outside of Craters of the Moon
Next Page
Crossed into Wyoming late into the night