Sunday, April 24, 2011

Idaho Falls -Travel Day Two

Saturday morning we awoke to a snowy winter wonderland.  I had hoped to go and shoot the sunrise at the Sunrise Viewpoint... but a blanket of snow sort of hid the sunrise from us.

So we just beetled it down the road.  As soon as we got to lower elevations the snow turned to rain... and within an hour we were out of the rain.  It was a pretty good travel day.

We had to make a stop in Idaho Falls to try to pick up a pillow for Lorne and Gail's friend... so I suggested we spend an hour getting a little exercise.  Let's find a good place to take a walk or a hike.

We found the local Chamber of Commerce Information Centre, but it closed at 3:00 on Saturday.  But right next to it was a park beside the Snake River, so we parked the car and started to look around.  Lots of people were enjoying the park with their family...

I approached a lady walking her dog and told her the Information Centre was closed... could she recommend the best place in Idaho Falls to go for a walk or hike?  She told us that this was it.  There is a loop path around the river here that takes about 45 minutes.  She said this the best thing that ever happened to Idaho Falls.

I didn't fully understand what she was talking about, but as we hiked around the loop there were some great opportunities to take pictures of the falls, birds and people, as well as learn more about the how Idaho Falls uses this river to get all the power it needs for the entire city.

People had been feeding these birds so much that they were hardly interested in the bread that was being thrown into the river for them.

There were lots of Canadian Geese here... ducks and gulls.

But the highlight of the afternoon was to catch this family with five babies!  I followed these geese and shot over 40 photos of them.  They were so cute and tiny.

There were even a couple of cormorants enjoying some sunshine by the river.

There were several benches along the path where one could rest and enjoy the scenery.

Several benches were very creative... like this large fishing hook, complete with swivel!

Or this granite bench with a message, "to live for to love."  There were so many different ones I could do a blog post just on the different benches along this loop walk.  And not one with advertising for a local realtor or restaurant.

There was even the Ten Commandments set up here with the message below stating,

"This display is not meant to endorse any particular system of religious beliefs or intrude into matters of religious worship.  As a historical precedent, the Ten Commandments represents one of man's earliest efforts to live by the rule of law.  Many of these ancient pronouncements survive in our jurisprudence today."

I was impressed at how tactfully this was done.

Credit was given to Thomas V. Campbell, mayor of Idaho Falls from 1978 to 1993 for his part in guiding the city to set up this greenbelt, concurrent with the Hydro Electric Project.  He was honoured to be one of 12 mayors in the USA to speak at the University of Virginia on "Beautifying Americas Cities.  I think it speaks volumes that he was mayor for 15 years!

Many cities could take a lesson from this small city of 56,813 people (2010 census) that has become self-sufficent in it's electricity consumption.  By spending only $48 million between 1978-82 they are generating their own power.

In fact, this city has operated a municipal electric generation system since 1900... Idaho Falls Power.  check it out!

I did a little checking into how a Bulb Turbine is different from the other turbines used in most hydro electric damns.  The Bulb Turbine can be installed horizontally instead of vertically... allowing it to operate in situations where there is a low head.  The three bulb turbines used by Idaho Falls are 19 feet of head.

What an impressive economic solution this city has taken... starting over 100 years ago, they now are in control of their power source and have a cash flow for the city.

Could it be that the Mormon influence in this community is part of the reason for the forward thinking towards financial independence?


  1. A very interesting blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Who would have thought that you could learn so much about Idaho Falls in such a short time...oh yes, how did the cormorant taste?

    Great photos, Sherwin. Amazing to see the ten commandments posted there but I think that is Bible Belt country.

    We are wending our way home too. You would not believe the Sheraton Hotel is actually attached to the airport so you don't have to go outdoors to get to your gate.

    See you so soon!!! XOXO