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Deer outside our door


This year we are revisiting one of our favorite locations, the Beyond Hope campground in Hope, ID. This is on the northeast shore of Lake Pend Oreille, south of Sandpoint. We really enjoy the environment of this area, especially the grass covered campground, where you are visited daily by deer and occasionally even some wild turkeys. Previous visits can be seen here.

This area is primarily a lakeside resort area with lots of boating and lake fishing. It also has a few very good places for eating out, including the lodge at the campground, which boasts a four star menu. The Wily Widgeon at the Hope Hotel also has excellent meals, especially breakfasts.

We are tennis players and we found a place that we could play within a five minute drive of the campground. It is the Pend Oreille Shores resort where they have an athletic club that you can join on a weekly basis, or just pay a daily fee. It also has a workout room which is an added bonus for us.

Tennis court Workout room

Left: Anne on the tennis court next to the lake shore.
Right: Ted in the workout room, keeping up his workout schedule.

City of Rocks


We stopped here just because we had never been here before and it was on our way to Island Park.

We found that we hadn't missed much, except for a National Reserve know as the City of Rocks. This is reached by driving south on Hwy 27 and taking the loop back to Burley. The Visitor Center is in Almo and a little south of that is the entrance to the reserve. By the way, a National Reserve is jointly operated by the NPS and the state where it is located.

The City of Rocks is a large rock garden with many unique rock shapes. It got its name from an area where the rocks look like a dismantled city. It is a popular place for technical rock climbing and hiking.

City of Rocks



The Craters of the Moon is an extended area of volcanic lava flows, cinder cones and spatter cones. It is a National Monument north of Declo, actually close to Arco. A very desolate place, where vegetation is sparse.

There is no single volcano that caused these lava flows. They were produced as flows from long fissures across the Snake River Plain, known as the "Great Rift". These flows began about 15,000 years ago and occur about every 2000 years. The last one was about 2000 years ago, so we are due for a repeat any time now.

It is a fascinating place to visit, with many trails that take you to special examples of the various forms of lava and what their flows produce. There is a small campground next to the Visitor Center, but unless you intend to go into the back country, you can see it in a day. It is well worth a visit.

Lava flows

Hill of fine cinders cinder cone

Left: Hill of fine cinders, the result of a cinder cone.
Right: Looking down into a large cinder cone.

Virgina City


While camping in the Island Park area we have made several day trips including one to Virginia City and Ennis.

Virginia City is an old silver mining town that has been preserved as a tourist attraction, as is shown in the pictures. It is interesting to see the old town pretty much as it was. Many of the old buildings have been saved and provide an insight into how it was when the town was prosperous. Some of the architectural attributes of the building need some explaining, such as the spouts extending over the boardwalk, as can be seen in the picture. One of the buildings seems to have been the home of the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co.

Ennis is also and old town with many buildings saved, but it is a functioning city. The old buildings are being used to house modern businesses. The old drug store and fountain puts out one of the best malts that we have had in a long time!

Stage coach building Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co.

Left: Stage coach building with spouts over the boardwalk.
Right: Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co.

Old Faithful


Where we are camped in Island Park is only a 15 minute drive to the west gate of Yellowstone NP. We were in Cody last summer, near the east gate and were able to see the park's east side then. This summer we toured the west side of the Park, where most of the thermal features are located.

Old Faithful (right) seems to be the main thing that most visitors come to see. There is an entire village there, along with many acres of parking and all the people that go along with it. They post the predicted times of the eruptions and you can tell when one is about to happen when you see all the people heading towards the geyser's location.

To us, the most interesting sights are the various pools and geysers located elsewhere, as you can see from the pictures.

Cow elk and calfs Large hot spot

Left: A group of cow elks and their calfs.
Right: A large hot spot of pools and geysers.

White Dome Geyser Opalescent Pool

Left: White Dome Geyser
Right: Opalescent Pool

Emerald Pool Sunset Pool

Left: Emerald Pool
Right: Sunset Pool

Madison flowing out of Quake Lake


Quake Lake is located in the southeast corner of Montana, along Hwy 287. The Madison River flows through it as it exits Hebgen Lake.

Quake Lake was formed in August 1959 as the result of a large earthquake, hence its name. Before the earthquake the Madison flowed undisturbed down the canyon. The earthquake caused a large amount of mountain to slide down into the canyon thus blocking the flow of the river and causing Quake Lake to form behind this natural dam. Of course Mother Nature did her thing, and as the water filled the lake and overflowed the dam, it cut a new channel and went merrily along its way, leaving the new lake behind, as shown to the left. Today, 48 years later, it is still obvious what happened as is shown in the pictures.

Quake Lake

Quake Lake today. You can see the many trees that were killed when it formed. The outlet is to the right.

Land slide area that came down to form a dam for the Madison River.

This shows the part of the mountain that was involved in the landslide that resulted from the earthquake.

Earthquake caused this new geyser in Yellowstone


This geyser in the Fountain Paint Pot area in Yellowstone NP was caused by the same earthquake that created Quake Lake.

It is also interesting to note that the hot spot that caused much of the lava flows in the Craters of the Moon area (The Great Rift) is now under the thermal area in Yellowstone.

Trumpeter swans and 5 chicks


The Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is located about a half hours drive, over dirt roads, from our RV park. It is a beautiful drive and worth the effort.

The Refuge is best know for its population of Trumpeter Swans, which were almost wiped out in the early 1900s, with around 100 surviving in 1935. Now there are about 2000 migrating birds, with about 25 that winter in this area.

Upper Mesa Falls


These falls are on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. The upper fall is 114 feet high.

1.3 million years ago there was a large volcanic eruption and its compressed ash formed the rock known as the Mesa Falls Tuff. The Henry's Fork has been carving the canyon for about 500,000 years. This Tuff forms the ledge that the falls flow over.

To reach these falls take Hwy 47 east from its junction with Hwy 20 south of Last Chance



We don't often writeup a place to eat, but this is such a great place that we just had to mention it. We only visited it for breakfast on weekdays after playing tennis. We were always greeted by a very nice lady named Linda. She always had a smile to offer us along with the best breakfast fair that we had found in a long time. If you go there you must have the Crispy French Toast, it is awsome. No matter what you order, you will leave full and content.

The Shotgun Bar & Grill is located about seven miles west on the Yale-Kilgore Creek Rd from its junction with Hwy 20 near Elk Creek Station.

Shotgun Bar & Grill Inside with Linda

Left: The best breakfast in the whole area
Right: Inside with Linda, a wonderful person who always greeted us with a smile.

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