Monday, September 28, 2015

Tumbling Waters

Post by Henry

We've spent some time recently around two (2) scenic rivers in Wyoming and Idaho - the Snake River and its major tributary, Henry's Fork.

Henry's Fork

No!  Not that one!
THIS Henry's Fork:

Headwaters of Henry's Fork

Clear Water of Henry's Fork

The headwaters of Henry's Fork is a beautiful spot called Big Spring in Idaho.  Here you can see the spring gushing out the side of a mountain as well as gurgling from below the crystal clear water.  The spring produces over 120 million gallons a day and is one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world.

Headwaters of Henry's Fork
Big Spring

Located at the spring is the Johnny Sack cabin.

Johnny Sack Cabin

This cabin AND its furnishings were built using mostly hand tools by the German immigrant.  It took three years to build, starting in 1929, and he lived there until his death in 1957.  The cabin is now part of the National Register of Historic Places and is open to visitors during the summer up until Labor Day.  We actually missed the time frame the cabin is open by just a few days, so we were unable to see the inside.  Our friends, Ken and Trisha, visited it a couple of weeks earlier and told us of the amazing craftsmanship that was put into the cabins' furniture and interior.

A short way downriver is a canoe and kayak launch.  We spent a day paddling the first four miles of Henry's Fork.  It was a warm, early autumn day for the enjoyable, lazy float through the scenic Idaho landscape.

Paddling on Henry's Fork

Further down, the river transforms from a tranquil river to thunderous Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. These are two quite impressive falls.  At the upper falls is a former lodge converted to a Visitor Center.

Mesa Falls Visitor Center

From there a paved trail leads you to an up close and personal view of the falls.

Upper Mesa Falls

The lower falls viewing area is a couple of miles down the road.  Here, the falls are seen from more of a distance than the upper falls, but is just as spectacular.

Lower Mesa Falls

As I mentioned, Henry's Fork is a tributary of the Snake River and is 127 miles long.  The Snake River is pretty major at over 1,000 miles long.  It starts near the Tetons in Wyoming, winding it's way into Idaho where it merges with Henry's Fork outside of Rexburg.  The Snake continues to southern Idaho, where it turns Northwest.  It forms the Idaho/Oregon border and then on into Washington, where it becomes the largest tributary of the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific.

Map of Snake River

We experienced the Snake River early in its journey where it compliments the awesome beauty of the Tetons. One of the most scenic views of the Tetons is along the flood plain of the Snake River at Schwabacher's Landing.

Tetons Reflecting in Snake River 

On a return trip from the Tetons to our campsite in Ririe, Idaho we followed the river most of the way, providing us with more outstanding views.

Snake River

The Snake River travels right through the city of Idaho Falls.  We visited the Snake river Greenbelt, which is a park in downtown, highlighted by a six mile walking trail, some artistic benches, and a very interesting set of waterfalls.

Idaho Falls

One of the Unusual Benches
Idaho Falls

That's probably all we'll experience of the Snake River on this trip, as soon it starts heading Northwest and we'll be going South.  I can see a future trip, though following the river on its journey to Washington and exploring it's beauty along the way.


  1. Wow, you guys—what an absolutely gorgeous area! This is definitely going on our list. The kayaking looks fantastic, and those falls are amazing. We want to travel with you. :-)

  2. We have been very fortunate to have stayed in the Yellowstone area for a month. There is so much to see and do! Hopefully we can meet up before too long!