Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adventures in Bruneau Dunes State Park

We are lucky enough to live just a few short miles from a very nice state park: Bruneau Dunes. And, like the title suggests, there are some lovely sand dunes in this park, two rather larges ones by a lake. They make for pretty pictures. We've found ourselves there a few times since we've been here since it's about a 15 minute drive from base.
The first night we got there rather late, we went on a whim and got there as the sun was heading down over the dunes. We just spent a little while walking around and taking some pictures.

We had an awesome encounter with a great horned owl, that seemed to be rather mad than we were in its space! It probably didn't help that I was crawling in the sand towards where the owl was making sounds...

The second time we went, we purposely headed out just before sunset so we could set up the telescope and get a good look at Venus in the southwestern sky. 
Bruneau is a great place for stargazing, there are very few (dim) lights in the campgrounds which are far enough away from the dunes that it gets very dark right after sundown. The silence is something, too! It's so quiet you can feel the silence pressing in on your ears, amazing considering you are only 15 miles from town!
We kipped out on the sand and waited for the stars...and they delivered.

There was a fire in the agricultural valley near Bruneau, that's what's lighting up this shot. See the Big Dipper?  And the streak of light is what we think was the International Space Station. It was moving so fast, and was much lower than a standard satellite. Which lead us to think it was the ISS. 

On another day we found ourselves back in the Bruneau a more remote section looking for a trail that was supposed to lead to Indian Hot Springs. The guide we were using was giving horrible directions and failed to mention the road back there might require technical 4x4. 
Because within minutes we found a giant sand pit covering the road. About 12-14" of fine, powdery sand and no way around it. Andrew barreled through in our Subaru while I took pictures. (Horrible pictures because it was on manual focus from star pictures)
It was bad, the car could very easily gotten stuck and we are very lucky. About 20 miles from anywhere, in a desert with no service.  Adventure, right?

 We were indeed dusty. The trail didn't even pan out, because down the road it turned into a techincal rock climb and we had to turn around and drive through the dreaded sand pit again.
It is quite beautiful out there.
We went along the road to Bruneau Canyon, and saw this sign.  Ok, then. : )

Bruneau is awesome, and we've only seen a small portion of it. We look forward to hiking some more trails, and hopefully avoiding anymore dangerous roads.
Oh, and a cow.

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