Happy Independence Day everyone! I don’t know if we can stay up for the fireworks here in Idaho Falls tonight at 10:00 PM but we did stop by the Fourth of July Creek while crossing the Lemhi Mountain Range! When we left Missoula this morning we decided to take the more scenic route down old Highway 93 instead of the quicker route down IH-35.
In going this way we followed a winding 2 lane road through the Bitterroot and Lemhi Mountain Ranges. We went high enough into the Bitterroot Mountains to reach the snow at a bit over 7,000 feet. The Lemhi Range route kept us mainly in the valley following the route of the Salmon River. Highlights included passing both the Lotta Sweat Ranch and the No Sweat Ranch. We also crossed the Continental Divide and the 45th Parallel (said to be halfway between the Equator and the North Pole). The only wild animal we saw was a Pronghorn antelope. We saw very many pretty horses though. This is real cowboy country.
When traveling down 93 along the Lost River Mountain Range we were delayed by a cattle drive of at least 500 cattle being herded down the side of the road (and some in the road!).
We passed through Arco,the first community in the world ever to be lit by electricity generated by nuclear power. This occurred on July 17, 1955, powered by a reactor at the nearby “National Reactor Testing Station” (NRTS), which is now the Idaho National Laboratory (located in the nearby desert). NRTS made further history on January 3, 1961, when the SL-1 reactor melted down, causing three deaths. It was the world’s first (and the U.S.’ only) fatal reactor accident. In town, the most striking physical feature is Number Hill, a rocky hill with numbers painted all over it. Butte County High School has a tradition of each class since 1920 painting its graduation year on the face of hill.
The mountains and rock formations were very nice. We are now transitioning from totally snow-capped mountains to more arid Southwestern style formations. Tomorrow Utah!