Maybe I won’t have to go to “New England in the Fall”after all.
For most of my life my dream has been to take a trip to New England in the fall to view the leaves. Back in my younger days when I lived in Idaho that dream trip was to have been a road trip beginning in Soda Springs, in September traveling across the northern tier of the United States to New England, but that was never possible because I was in the farming business, and that was harvest time.
While I’m certain that everything I have heard about the preeminence of New England’s fall colors is true; I’m not so certain—because of a little one day trip I took right there in my own back yard a few years ago—that I need to go to New England. We have some pretty nice color right here in the West.
Beginning in Pocatello, my jaunt took me on a 300-mile trip through Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and points south into Utah. Lava Hot springs is nestled in a miniature glen between two mountain slopes alongside the Portneuf River, and as I passed through this little village, and as is the case every year, the color was exquisite on the north slope at the south side of the glen. One bush in particular that I always refer to as the “burning bush” stands out because of its dazzling brilliance. I found equal brilliance on the east side of Fish Creek summit just east of Lava Hot Springs as I glided past the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows, on my way to Grace, Idaho, and down through Gem Valley where I witnessed more color; finally arriving in Logan, Utah, where I stopped for lunch.
After lunch, I took U.S. 89 through Logan Canyon where my senses were treated to still more of nature’s artwork. It was here as I wended my way through the canyon on the “S” curved road at about 40 mph that I was again exposed to large portions of green and gold mixed in with orange and red on an even larger scale than on Fishcreek Summit.
When I started my trek into the canyon, and for about five or six miles, I could see no cars coming behind me. It’s a winding road with only two lanes, and the passing lanes are few and far between. The curves are not sharp, but a comfortable speed for this road is about 40 mph, and that’s the speed I held to. I remember thinking to myself: “Boy, this is great; hardly any traffic today. I can mozy along at my leisure and enjoy the scenery.” Then I saw a car bearing down on me from the rear at a speed much faster than what I was traveling. Soon there was another, and still another, until there must have been a dozen or more behind me all anxious to push me down the road at a higher rate of speed.
As I mentioned earlier, 40 mph was a comfortable and safe speed to drive this road of gentle S curves, and a comfortable speed for enjoying the exquisite scenery. There was no way that anyone could safely pass under those circumstances, and was I determined that my followers were not going to force me to speed up. I held strong to my 40mph. The shoulder was too narrow for me to move over to let anyone pass, and there were double yellow lines the entire way. So I just sat back and enjoyed my situation power for the next few miles until we reached the next passing lane, at which time my frustrated followers whizzed past me—engines roaring(I think a couple of them might have even given me the finger as they roared by). Oh. . .well, the scenery was too exquisite to let their little childish pranks bother me. Besides, the speed limit was 40mph, and I was doing 40mph. But I digress.
I continued my journey stopping along the way whenever the situation allowed, to snap a few pictures(most of which were packed away in my move to Arizona and I haven’t taken the time to dig out, but I did find a couple with some other stuff that I’ll share with you here). This leg of my trip ended on a high plateau overlooking Bear Lake where the brilliant turquoise hue of the lake’s water down below shimmered in the breeze reminiscent of a huge stained glass window. From there I motored on down to the little village of Ovid. I’m now back in the state of Idaho. I turned onto State hi-way 36 and traveled over the hill into Mink Creek, ending up in Riverdale rejoining State hi-way 34, and heading for home.
I must tell you that although I had seen much beautiful color previous, this leg was a highlight of my trip. There was one spot on the side of the mountain that I found indescribable. Maybe it was the time of day, and the position of the sun that created this scene, I don’t know. Conditions were not conducive to stopping along the hi-way at this point; so much to my disappointment, I wasn’t able to capture this radiance on film. I suppose if I were a die-hard purest photographer—which I’m definitely not—I would have figured a way to get a picture. So I’ll just have to be content with capturing and holding that moment in my mind’s eye. Here again, I just let my “poor man’s Rolls Royce” float casually down the road at a leisurely pace while I took in the scenery; all of which, during the entire day, was a series of masterful strokes from God’s paintbrush.
I’m now entering my 80th year, so I suppose I’ll never make that New England trip of my dreams, but I’ll never forget that one day trip right in my own back yard. We have beautiful Fall colors right here in the West. So why travel 3000 miles to see what we can see in 300 miles. I’ve never been there, but I’m told the Fall colors around McCall, Idaho are spectacular.The drive through Logan Canyon is also a beautiful drive during the summer. It has a beauty all it’s own even then.
Now after that small journey, I’d like to take you on another journey; one that goes back a little further in time, to tell you about my new novel, LouIsa—Iron Dove Of The Frontier. It’s release date on www.amazon.com is set for December 15th. Rather than take up any more of your time here, I’ll send you up to the “Books” page on this website where you can click on, and read about, LouIsa, and even read some excerpts from the book. She is an interesting character. I think you’ll like her. Happy reading.