Friday, October 9, 2015

A full day of fossils, the Oregon Trail and sand dunes!

We spent the day at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Three Island Crossing State Park and Bruneau Dunes State Park. When we paid the entrance fee at Three Island Crossing SP, she told us that we could use that fee at any state park for the rest of the day, so we stopped at Bruneau Dunes SP since it was on our way to the campground we were staying at overnight.

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument also has information on the Oregon Trail, other than fossils, and that was the basic reason I wanted to stop there. It is most famous for the Hagerman Horse, which is also the state fossil. Paleontologists from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, made the first scientific excavations there in 1929. They excavated 120 horse skulls and 20 complete skeletons of the Hagerman Horse. They have this and other fossils on display at the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center is in the town of Hagerman, but the overlooks begin 7 miles from town. We unhooked the jeep at the Visitor’s Center and took the self-guided tour. This takes you to wetlands, Thousand Springs, Owsley Bridge, Snake River overlook, and the Oregon Trail overlook. I can’t imagine the people on the Oregon Trail coming up the steep hills and seeing the Snake River below, wondering where they can cross. The Visitor’s Center has a video to watch and they give you a brochure and a self-guided tour map. Also at the Visitor’s Center is a small room with information about the Minidoka Japanese Relocation Center. They evidently are rebuilding the center, and this Visitor’s Center has pictures and information about it. This happened after Pearl Harbor. I don’t remember reading about that in history class.


The poor ducks were by the dam and kept getting swept backwards. Finally a bunch just took off and flew instead.


From there we went to Three Island Crossing State Park at Glenn’s Ferry as they have an Oregon Trail Educational Center. They have displays about the Trail, about Glenn’s Ferry (the town) and about the Native Americans that were there.  There is also a campground at the state park, but its more than we wanted to pay. (We were going to be paying a lot less where we were going.)


On to Bruneau Dunes State Park. We’ve been to sand dunes before but since our admission fee is waived and its on our way, we decided to stop. It’s a very small park, with a small area of sand, a Visitor’s Center, two campgrounds and an observatory that they charge for seeing the stars. The observatory was closed during the day. The dunes are a little different color due to the high concentration of iron in the sand. They say it is the tallest single sand dune structure in North America. We weren’t really impressed, but like I said, it wasn't the first time we’ve seen sand dunes.


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