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The weather has been pretty crazy all over the world. Too much cold, snow, and ice in some areas, and too little snow, cold, and ice in other areas . . . like Idaho, which has experienced the warmest March in recorded history. City folk are venturing outside to enjoy this warm lull before full-blown spring blossoms and gardening and soccer suck up everyone’s time. Last Sunday I joined the throng for a stroll at Celebration State Park, which is a unique park in that it celebrates the ancient civilizations and geological forces that shaped our part of the world.

Established in 1989, Idaho's only archaeological park

Established in 1989, Idaho’s only archaeological park

Located on the north side of the Snake River, the park is dotted with huge basalt rock formations—many of which look like giant melon balls or Easter eggs, having been rolled and polished by the massive Bonneville flood that occurred at the end of the last ice age around 14,500 years ago.Basalt melon ball gravel

Basalt melon ball gravelDSC_0753Bonneville Lake once encompassed most of southern Idaho and part of northwestern Utah. As the lake breached its natural dam and began to recede, the water carved its way through the Snake River canyon. The Paleolithic people who followed the flood wrote their history on the smooth sides of the basalt in the form of petroglyphs that are said to be between 100 – 10,000 years old. The park is a great destination for school groups, family picnics, fishing, hiking, and trail riding— either by bikes, horses, or feet.DSC_0747 DSC_0730 DSC_0727 DSC_0726The trails that meander to and fro amongst the ancient graffiti were pretty busy, so I focused on the nearby the Guffey Bridge, which is the only Parker-Through-Truss Railroad Bridge in Idaho. The 450-ton steel bridge is 70 feet tall with a 500 foot span across the river. The bridge was built in 1897 during the gold and silver rush of the once bustling town of Silver City, about 70 miles southwest of Boise. After the gold rush, the bridge was used for agricultural purposes until 1947.

Guffey Bridge over the Snake River

Guffey Bridge over the Snake River

DSC_0735DSC_0738DSC_0741Basalt outcropping across the river that resembles the state of Idaho.

Basalt outcropping across the river that resembles the state of Idaho.

DSC_0765I left the crowd behind on the east side of the bridge and hiked a short way up a side canyon, enjoying the solitude and the raptors whistling overhead. Walking back along the river, I was surprised to come upon this poignant memorial to someone’s dad.DSC_0763All I found about Randy Hagler was that he was born in 1951 and died in 2000. I seem to remember something about a fisherman drowning in the Snake River, but I know Randy was just one of several unlucky souls.