Albion, Idaho, and the ‘City of Rocks’

This past weekend David and I, and my brother Eric, visited the ‘City of Rocks National Reserve’ in south central Idaho. We can hardly travel now without Eric, besides, he is familiar with about every rock and cranny of Idaho and suggested the trip in the first place. Our only condition was wherever we went it had to be ‘south’ – we are so winter-weary. The City of Rocks is about 120 miles southwest of us, near the Utah border.

We left Idaho Falls Friday, April 11 about 4 PM. Destination: Albion, Idaho, a town of about 260 people near the east entrance to the park. We reserved a room at the Albion Bed and Breakfast –

We are south of Burley now, traveling on 500 South toward Albion. Check out the sky! “Lenticular clouds.’ David explains.

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Lenticular clouds ( I Googled it) are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form in the troposphere, normally in perpendicular alignment to the wind direction. (And, yes, we’ve had lots of wind direction.) Due to their shape, they have been offered as an explanation for some Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings. Uh, you mean like the UFO sighting above that town we’re approaching?…

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I can’t resist posting one more photo – of the waxing moon rising between the lenticular clouds:

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We arrive at the Albion Bed and Breakfast just before dark. It is owned and run by a very interesting fellow named Chad, who restored/converted the Albion State Normal School, established in 1893, into a very comfortable place to stay. The school was established as a teacher’s training school but closed it’s doors in 1951. It was in quite a state of disrepair when Chad bought the property about a decade ago. He gave us a tour, describing all the improvements he had made to open it up as a bed and breakfast. Chad served us up a killer homemade breakfast on Saturday morning – here is a link to the B&B – for detailed reviews and photos (including a photo of Chad and his family).

By Saturday late morning we entered the City of Rocks. Here we are embarking on our first hike, the Stripe Rock Loop, near the east (Almo) entrance of the park,.

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We pass a grove of quaking aspen, stunning even in dormancy

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The ‘Inner city’ of the City of Rocks is sprawled out before us in the distance

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with the Albion mountains as a backdrop.

Monsters and critters seem to inhabit the granite spires. I am pretty sure that’s an owl gazing at me

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– the critter on the left of that outcropping.

Now we are looking down the back of someone’s throat – at a giant uvula

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supported by reams of muscle and connective tissue.

Go for the ‘Beef Jello/Banana’ or …

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the North Fork Circle Creek trail? We chose the latter.

There are over 22 miles of hiking in the City of Rocks. Here is a link to a map of the trails.

Granite spires and rock structures range in height from 30-600 feet. There are several enormous textured rock structures that are tailor made for rock climbing. Here is one:

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If you look carefully, you will see two climbers scaling the face of this rock. Here I have zoomed in on the same rock –

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The climbers have several companions at the base manning the ropes.

Eric poses for a photo

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Is that critter in the rock right behind Eric mimicking his pose? Hmmmm?????
(What do YOU think?)

Then we see this Giant riding a Harley with his helmeted side-kick seated behind him.

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David captured a photo of me –

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I had just shed my fleece – the clouds were clearing and the day opened up into marvelous warmth and sunshine.

We passed by “Bucket Land”

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What’s on your bucket list? A close encounter with Aliens?

Next we pass ‘Mad Grandpa Furby with Gentle Turtle,’ surrounded by their offspring

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Protected from eastern invaders by their friend, Giant Snake.

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We’re headed by car now to the ‘Inner City’ of the City of Rocks. Along the way we can hear the howls of

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a southwestern coyote.

We stop at campsite 32, walk a few hundred feet, peer through the widow arch

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and check out the adjacent canyon.

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We drive to the parking lot at “Parking Lot Rock” and hit the Creekside Towers Trail into the ‘Inner City.’

Right off the bat we meet this rhesus monkey – you see his head in profile

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peering to the west.

Then we meet this sad-eyed elephant

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perched all by himself.

And a snake

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sunning himself –

A thinker …

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(David, struck by a bolt of inspiration…),

A proud couple standing erect (shall I say?) amongst some very large boulders

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Female?… and indisputably… MALE

“No, David and Eric, don’t even consider it – you don’t have crash pads.”

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I derive such comfort from these “You Are Here’ Maps:

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Except I doubt the map would be of much use to this person right now…

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traversing the face of this huge granite rock.

We stood and watched her plant, cling, and claw her way toward the top

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connected to a line tethered from the top –

While hungry predators circled above

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Actually, A whole ‘clean-up’ crew was hovering, too wily and swift to capture in a photo.

Gotta put a wrap on this!

We’re headed back toward the car now – ascending the Stairway’s Trail. We open up to this panoramic view:

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And then darned if we don’t run into Mount Rushmore

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A Monument of characters inhabiting the City of Rocks.

Back at the parking lot stands a rock as big as Noah’s Ark – “Parking Lot Rock.” Except the sun is shining so brightly behind it I can’t take a decent photo of it.

I do take photos of the bulletin boards in the parking lot.

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Not too decent either. But Eric and I find the message board interesting. We tried reading them all.

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Then Eric pointed this one out:

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Thank goodness for social media. I bet he’ll be so happy to hear the news from Pegg when she finds him on Facebook. Well, all I can say is, aside from being stiff and broken all over from all that hiking we did today, being the old fart that I am does have its advantages.

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4 Responses to “Albion, Idaho, and the ‘City of Rocks’”

  1. Rene Miller Says:

    I enjoyed another wonderful virtual trip via your photos and witty comments.

  2. iowachick Says:

    Really enjoyed this. I am glad you,,,,all of you are having fun.

  3. iowachick Says:

    B

    Sent from my iPhone

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