Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bear Lake Day 4

Grandpa Daniels bought everyone a shirt for the second year.
This was our big adventure day for the Bear Lake Trip. We planned on going to Montpelier and Soda Springs and checking out the sites along the way.  Our first stop was at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. This is a fairly new museum in Montpelier, and we were pretty excited. They took us inside and we started a reenactment of the Oregon Trail. Our guide took us to buy a wagon and supplies first. We learned a lot from this trip, like that women could stake a claim of 160 acres as well as men. After we got supplies, we climbed into a wagon and were bounced and jostled along the trail as we heard snippets from Pioneer journals. We stopped at camp and several actresses took us through other stories from the trail including one about Mrs. Adams who cold-cocked a bear with her frying pan and then killed it. When her husband returned with a sage grouse, she had already skinned and cooked part of the bear for supper! We really enjoyed this museum, and we’d go back in a heartbeat.

The boys really liked this museum.
The wagon ride was on a hydraulic lift and jostled us pretty good.
The camp along the trail was pretty authentic.
There were a few other small museums in the same complex, too. The History of Montpelier Museum was located downstairs, and the curator took us on a special tour. She was really good with the kids and told lots of stories. She even let them run the cash register and showed us the three cent nickel. Upstairs they were displaying quilts and artwork. We really liked looking at all the fancy quilts that told the story of this area.

The boys got to type their names.
Seth is ready for school.
Everybody wanted to run the cash register.
Grandma played the ancient piano.
Down the road in Montpelier we stopped at the last surviving bank robbed by Butch Cassidy. There wasn’t much to see there, just the original floor, one old door, and a lot of tourist souvenirs, but Dax was fascinated with the idea of a real life robber! We had a lunch at a dumpy little place called Dan’s Drive-In before leaving town.
We lucked into the refurbished Montpelier Tabernacle, which is usually locked.
Mark looks like he could have made a pretty good outlaw in this picture, but he's way too honest in reality!! ;)
Cute family picture.
That's Old Ephraim's statue.

Our next stop was Soda Springs. We wanted to see the man-made geyser that is located there. A long time ago, they were digging to make a natural spa and hit water. It bubbled up at only around 75 degrees, not nearly warm enough, but they capped it, added a timer, and it goes off as a man-made geyser every hour. We arrived just in time and watched it spurt about 75 feet into the air. After the geyser we wanted to go check out a small cave. Formation Cave is located just outside Soda Springs and is quite a bit deeper than we expected. Almost all the kids wanted to go down, so we gathered up all the light we had and headed in. There are three natural tunnels in the cave, and we started with the one that goes straight ahead, but it dead ends after only about 50 feet. There is a tiny natural window about 4 inches by a foot, though, that is pretty cool as it lets in natural light. Next, we went to the right. This tunnel extended quite a bit farther, and required squatting for adults. The tunnel to the left was even longer. It had some really low head-clunkers, but we mostly survived and made it to the end. Two tiny natural windows helped us through this cave as well. The highlight, though, was a dark foreboding passage leading down. It was too small for an adult to much more than belly-crawl through, but all the kids wanted to check it out.  They crawled in all together and found a tiny room they could stand up in, but they came out of the Kid Only Room terribly dirty and happy!
Soda Spring Geyser.
You can play right out in it.
It was a pretty day.
This is the short walk to the cave.
The lighting was good enough for a picture of everyone but Stephanie.
The kids washed up after the caving expedition.
After the cave we made a trip out to see some wagon ruts that are along the original Oregon Trail. They were pretty underwhelming, as you couldn’t see the ruts, but just sort of a low swale where the wagons had passed. So we headed back to Soda Springs. We wanted to play in the geyser as it spouted off this time. Unfortunately, for some reason, it missed its four o’clock eruption. We were disappointed, but we headed over to the park and played tag on the playground. Even Grandpa took a turn being It.

Wow. Wagon tracks...
We played near the geyser, but it didn't go off.
Dad checked the temperature.
We had a ton of fun at the park.
Eligah was a hit with the kids.

For dinner, Grandpa treated us to pizza in Soda Springs, and then we said goodbye to Stephanie’s family and Brittany and Eligah as they headed home and we headed back to Bear Lake. We had a quick birthday treat in the park to honor Mark's birthday before we split up. When we arrived, it was the Ockey’s turn for stories. Seth told How Seth Got His Name; Dax told Dad Sees a Skunk (which was ironic since we saw 2 skunks on this trip); Mark told I Stole First Base; Mom told Melanie’s Big Bike Crash; and Dad told Held Up in the Deli and A Bat Takes Over the Ockey Home. We didn’t record the stories this year, but we had a lot of fun practicing and telling them.

Happy Birthday, Mark!
We were full of birthday treats, so we kept it small.
We saw the prettiest (and most horrifying) animal in the forest.
Dad was really frightened at this point!

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