Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Mountain Home, Idaho

We left South Dakota on Wednesday, August 31; we got everything we needed to get done. We had two major things to get done in our 2 weeks, the first was to get Ernie's eyes fixed YAG Capsulotomy on both eyes and set up our domicile. We would definitely recommend Black Hills Regional Eye Institute if you are in Rapid City and need laser surgery.

Our drive to Mountain Home, Idaho was uneventful, and we stayed in a couple of different RV parks in Wyoming. We arrived in Mountain Home about 2:30 pm and our first activity was to go to Boise to see the hot air balloons glow at night at the Spirit of Boise event. We all got some yummy food at the food trucks and hung out until the balloons were ready to glow.

Saturday was a day for many adventures. First, Shoshone Ice Caves in Shoshone Idaho. The cave is considered a lava tube and is 1,700 feet long. We went in the cave about 100 feet below the surface. The temperature in the cave is an average between 22- and 28-degrees year-round. We all had jackets to put on but none of us did, the temperature outside the cave was over 100 so the cave felt fantastic.

Our next stop was Black Magic Canyon, the rock formations are really interesting!

Our last stop was Idaho's Mammoth Cave. There was no guide to take us in, they give you a lantern and you head down by yourself. It is a pretty cool cave. This cave keeps a consistent 41 degrees. The cave has a special growth on the walls that give it the appearance of pure silver. Mineral deposits with many silver, gold, orange and deep reds add beauty to the vast cavern.

An example of the colors on the walls.

Kind of a creepy face looking down at us from the ceiling of the cave.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Ellsworth AFB - South Dakota; Wind Cave National Park

We visited Wind Cave National Park and were lucky enough to get tickets for the Entrance Cave tour. The Wind Cave is one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. It is named for barometric winds at its entrance. The passages are home to boxwork which is a unique formation that is rarely found in any other caves. On our way down to 210 feet, there were narrow pathways and many times we had to duck our heads. 

The cave was discovered by in 1881 when brothers Jesse and Tom Bingham were drawn to a small hole in the ground by a loud whistling noise. In time, scientists would determine that the wind blowing in and out of the cave is caused by a difference of air pressure between the inside and the outside of the cave.

The Wind Cave gained national attention in part due to an adventurous 16-year-old teenager named Alvin McDonald. The Alvin family moved from Iowa to South Dakota in 1890, and while his parents worked, Alvin would frequently skip school and venture out to explore the area when he found the opening of the cave. 

Alvin began exploring the cave carrying a candle and tying a ball of string to help him find his way back to the entrance. He spent hours exploring and kept a journal. He named the passageways and drew the first map of the cave. He also gave tours of the cave to the locals and charged a fee. Unfortunately, he died of typhoid fever at the age of 20.

The cave is known for its delicate boxwork, popcorn and frostwork cave formations. which a quite different from the massive stalagmites of caves in the East. 

The wind cave became a National Park in 1903 and is the 7th oldest National Park.

The pictures are pretty dark but...



Ellsworth AFB - South Dakota; Custer State Park

Custer State Park was AMAZING!! Absolutely beautiful drive. If you have never seen this beautiful park it is a must see! 

On the scenic drive around Custer State Park there are 6 different tunnels. 

We saw some antelope and some wild donkeys/burros.

The scenery was absolutely gorgeous even though it was cloudy. The pictures definitely don't do this place justice!!


Next time we are here we are going to kayaking in Sylvan Lake. I think Sylvan lake reminds me a lot of Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ. From what I could see there are trails on each of the lake, we walked a little bit of it but it started raining harder so we decided to head back to the car.

Mountain Home, Idaho