Saturday, October 30, 2010

Idaho—the last installment

I have saved the most scenic for the last and I plan to get all tour guide-y on you, so you are warned.

Quaking Aspen
Boy, do I love these trees. They so remind me of being at the cabin and in the mountains of Idaho.
Through the mountains you see huge groves of aspen. You can see one of these groves, that has lost it's leaves in this photo, across the lake. They are beautiful in every season. In the summer their quivering, silvery leaves seem to shimmer and in the fall they turn that amazing brilliant yellow. In winter they are ghostly and graceful like this grove that we saw driving along the river. 
Did you know that aspen groves grow from a single system of underground roots? All the trees in a grove, growing from that root system are genetically identical and the grove is referred to as a clone. Scientists consider a clone grove of aspens as a single living organism and there is a very large clone in Utah that may be the single largest living organism on earth. You can observe that clone groves, because all the trees are genetically identical, will lose their leaves all at once and not necessarily on the same time schedule as neighboring clones. Makes me wonder if the foreground tree in my photo is not a part of the clone. (Individual trees will also grow from seeds.) I miss the aspens. They don't grow much below 5000 feet, so we don't have them in the part of Oregon where I live, but they are the most common tree in North America.

South Fork of the Snake River
Just to give you a little context, here is a map of the area where the cabin is.

The cabin is on the west side of the Palisades Reservoir, in the vicinity of the lettering on the map that says "Bear Creek Rd.". Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are a bit east and north of the righthand side of the map. The Palisades Dam is on the South Fork of the Snake River, and we drove back to Pocatello by way of the Snake River Rd. where all of these photos were taken.

The yellow trees along the river are cottonwoods.

Looking east toward Wyoming.


Great fishing along this river. There were fishermen out in their boats the day we were there.

Here in Oregon many of my friends say they long for the ocean and find peace and calm along the beaches and dunes. Me, I find myself longing for the mountains and the aspen and the pine and each time I visit it is like having my battery charged. I guess it is part of who I am.

Ernest Hemingway was one of Idaho's most famous citizens. He died and is buried near Sun Valley. The epitaph on his memorial are his own words, written for a friend.
Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
Now he will be a part of them forever
 It was that kind of day.


  1. Wonderful pictures! There is an aspen colony near my home, and I love these trees and wanted to grow some near our flat; I cut some sprouts and tried to plant them, but it did not work. Now I know why! They were feeling cut off from their sisters!

  2. In another lifetime, I went to ID every fall. We were doing watercolor workshops in Bonners Ferry way up in the neck of the state. The hotel overlooked the Kootenai river. Every morning I could hardly wait to open the drapes to see the mist over the river and the mountains beyond. My favorite view of the aspens was when they seemed as yellow ribbons stretching across distance mountains.

    Thanks for the memories!

  3. These are remarkable pictures of a magical place.Thank you for posting them. I am really glad I didn't post my crappy pictures of exhausted cotton fields of where I got lost yesterday.

  4. stunning...

  5. I want to go and see all this for myself now. Thank you for the tour!

  6. Hi Terry, i have followed your blog for the last year. I also love to make art quilts, but my profession was
    as a natural science illustrator. I just had to say thanks
    for the wonderful pictures of Idaho. I used to have
    land outside of Driggs, and spent a lot of time in the
    Swan Valley area. I miss it. I live north of Tucson, Ariz.
    Thank you so much for your blog, Christina

  7. Wonderful photos. One of the reasons I love living in the north is for all the Fall foliage. The Aspen is also one of my favorite tree as well.

  8. Thank you for the beautiful pictures, so moody with all the clouds and fall foliage. One of my best memories from childhood is camping and fishing close to the Snake River, somewhere around Ketchum. I can smell the trout frying over the campfire!!

  9. Of course, I love these scenes. It is home. Some of my favorite memories are of 4-H Camp in Alpine on the east side of Palisades. Yes, I am like you, I am rejuvenated with the mountains especially those in Idaho.

  10. Pictures like these make me want to visit this part of the country I've never seen. I'm thinking of coming to your bird workshop in January (as a birthday present to myself!) Let me know if you hear of any other participants who might want to share a room.

  11. What beautiful picures and a delightful sounding week. we are headed to Ontario in a week or so - likely you passed through it on the way. It's the sort of place best passed through on the way to somewhere else. LOL!

    My folks live in Ontario. I love the drive over - the high desert is stunning if one is open to the appreciation of it's starkness.

  12. Anonymous1:46 PM

    Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing! Linda at rgranch

  13. Beautiful. You are almost in Wyoming there, right?

  14. That is stunning. Would love to see in person!

  15. Lovely photos - thanks for the info on the aspen groves being clones. Nature is more wonderful than we know!