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The Hunt for Wildflowers - A Sunday Drive

June is wildflower season! The mountains and hills come alive with color as the snow melts, rain falls, and temperatures warm. Our drive to the hills led us to the Cave Falls and Ashton-Flagg Ranch roads where we were met by lush green fields just barely popping with wildflowers of multiple varieties. Within the next week or two, the wildflower bloom should be at its peak!

Pictures from the valley, including around Arco, already show mass blooms of lupines. The valleys generally bloom several weeks before the mountains. The mountain meadows are stunning, but are filled to the brim with mosquitos right now. We were swarmed by clouds of mosquitos as soon as we left the car. This made enjoying the experience a bit more difficult. However, while we visited Cave Falls, there were few bugs right along the ice cold river. They generally congregated in the forest, along the trail, and in the meadows. Don't forget bug spray!

Fall River is still incredibly full, flowing with vigor over the multiple falls along its path through the mountains and within the valley below. The water sits just above freezing as it is still sourced by snowmelt from the alpine regions. The clear water turned to foam and white water as it rushed over the crest of the falls right before our eyes! The trail, at the end of Cave Falls Rd, takes you down to the foot of the falls where you can stand in a shallow cove and behold the entire length of the waterfall in its full glory just a few yards in front of you. To see Cave Falls, you must enter the south-western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. At this entrance, there is no guard station, or crowds of people. Only a fee station, a small parking lot, a ranger station down the road, and dozens of trails stemming from 2 or 3 trailheads. The road does not continue into the park. Instead, it ends at a small cul-de-sac in the woods just above Cave Falls. I much prefer this quiet corner of Yellowstone.

Speaking of roads, we drove many yesterday! Mostly farm and country roads that were both paved and dirt. We explored areas around highway 32, and traversed small canyon roads marked only by a few numbers on small green signs. These roads often lead to private property, but on occasion, I find some of my favorite overlooks or quiet and memorable locations are found by taking random roads. As was the case yesterday. I often take the scenic route back to town, following a general direction that will eventually lead me home as long as the roads don't end at some random cliff or in a farm field (as they often surprisingly do while in the hill country of east Idaho).

All in all, yesterday's Sunday drive was a beautiful and memorable trip! I love showing friends places they have never seen; places that mean the world to me. It is so fun to see the look of pure joy and fascination on their faces as we crest the top of hill and receive a 360 degree view of the mountains, or round a corner to find lush fields blooming with color, or a vast river flowing over basalt cliffs. I look forward to many more adventures this season, and I can't wait to share them here with you!

Enjoy our photos from this drive!

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Catherine Sweet
Catherine Sweet
21 ביוני 2023

Love, love, love these photos - of Summer in Idaho - so pretty!!

The waterfall and flowers were especially a favorite - as we saw and commented about the pretty photos with both children in class today!

Thanks for the tremendous visuals, included this day, 21st of June, the first day of Summer 🌞

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