Unfinished Business - Fall/Winter - 2017/8 travel blog

Minidoka National Monument

Minidoka National Monument

Minidoka ball field

tar papered dorm

Tesla was here

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls

Snake River

Snake River

Snake River

Snake River


The original plan was to spend the day at Craters of the Moon National Park, an 1,100 square mile lava field about 1-1/2 hour drive from here. Once you get there a seven mile loop road takes you past exotic rock formations and you can do some hiking. When we looked at the park's webcam this morning and saw .4 miles visibility, we decided that the park wasn't worth all that driving and looked for things to do nearby.

So we went to Minidoka National Historic site, one of ten spots where Japanese Americans were interred during World War II. They were brought to this dusty place before the housing was finished and were forced to build their own prison. Over 13,000 people lived here, trying to make the best of it. They built themselves a baseball field which is still easy to see and a 9-hole golf course. But most to the time they worked very hard to maintain themselves. When they got here they had no furniture and were expected to grow crops to sustain themselves. Even though many of them did not have agricultural backgrounds, they ended up raising a surplus. Soon local farmers who were short handed since so many locals had gone to war, were assisted by the confined Japanese. After the war the camps were closed and they were free to go wherever they wished. Few were able to return to their former lives since they had lost everything and had to start over. A total of 110,000 loyal Americans were imprisoned during the war because they looked different and had a different culture. A shameful period in our history.

In Twin Falls we admired the scenery. The town sits on the edge of the Snake River, which cuts through a canyon gouged out 30,000 years ago by the Bonneville Flood, which also created Salt Lake. The bottom of the canyon is very green. We could see an alluring golf course at the canyon bottom. Shoshone Falls on the edge of town are much more dramatic in the spring than they are now, but the park around them is lovely. Folks as old as we are remember Evel Knieval trying to jump the Snake River Canyon there with his steam powered rocket motorcycle. He didn't make it.

Once the Snake was dammed and irrigation canals were dug in the early 1900's, this area became known as the Magic Valley, one of the nation's most prolific crop producing regions. We kept seeing trucks filled with uniform looking rocks. Sadly, it took a while for the idea to dawn that these were the famous Idaho potatoes. Duh! Sugar beets are also a big cash crop

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