Harriman State Park is a perfect spot to enjoy a beautiful summer day
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As I slipped out of the dormitory at Harriman State Park Thursday morning I was greeted by a chorus of sandhill cranes and Canada geese from the meadow north of the compound.
All birds were waking up as a choir of coyotes greeted the morning sun as it broke free from the east Island Park caldera ridge line. The 41 degree air caused the warmer Henrys Fork of the Snake River water to emit clouds of steam not unlike some of the modern smoking machines.
Two biker fly fishermen, intent on getting to their favored fishing hole, did not see or chose to ignore me in my bright orange shirt as I sat near a large lodge pole pine watching a family of chipmunks. But at least four hummingbirds chose not to ignore me as they periodically buzzed me. They probably thought I was one humongous flower, but my odor was not the fragrance that they were looking for.
The warblers, chipmunks and two Spotted sandpipers quickly disappeared as a bunch of girls without makeup and uncombed boys wrapped in blankets talked about it being “too cold for the morningside” as they gathered near the river. Leaving them to their activity, I walked the path along the river watching as an osprey captured a trout and flew off to its nest.
“I hope those two biker-fishermen have has as much luck,” I thought as I watched the successful fish eagle.
Flowers like the newly blossoming fireweed, the purple asters, several members of the sunflower family and a host of Sego lilies beautified the trail as I took a trail to Silver Lake. An early morning breeze rippled the water as I circled the beautiful lake. Deer, elk and a bear tracks indicated I was not the only animal enjoying the early peaceful stroll.
Three buck deer in velvet surprised me and knowing there was at least one small bear in the woods, I began talking to myself – loudly of course. Chipmunks were everywhere as were the young warblers flittering through the trees.
After two hours of enjoying nature, the chili that I had enjoyed at the “First Annual Fremont Community Chili Cookoff” from the night before had run out of fuel. I needed to get back to the other 16 family members before they called out a search party.
After a wonderful breakfast my job as “chief shuttler of float tubers” began.
Some floated the Box Canyon from the Island Park Reservoir Dam to Last Chance as many as three times while others biked and hiked the Harriman trails. Still others visited the riding stable where they paid for a horse ride along Silver and Golden Lakes and others spent some time relaxing with a book or played cards or board games.
Evenings, when not involved with organized park activities, were spent around the campfire listening and singing to a ukulele, eating s’mores, fighting mosquitos and dodging bats. Some thought there were too many bats, but I thought there were not enough as there were too many flying insects.
Harriman State Park has buildings to rent that are usually rented a year in advance, so you need to plan early if you want to stay there as a family or a group. The dormitory and the dining Hall fit our family well but one word of advice; the bunk beds all have a four-inch foam mattresses. I would suggest for those that need a better mattress than that, take an egg-carton pad or an extra thick quilt to sleep on.
As a family we enjoy the atmosphere and the experiences that we have in the wilds when we visit Harriman State Park. Rarely do I drive through Island Park without driving through the park to enjoy the beauty and the activities that it offers me. Another gem of Idaho.