Henry's Lake, Island Park, Idaho...
Jun 18, 2010
|As I mentioned in an earlier post Mom, Joyce and I took a short trip to Idaho. We lost a dear friend a couple of month's ago and the family had a small memorial gathering at the family summer home on Henry's Lake. Jack resided most of the year in St George, Utah but spent the summer at his lake house for the past 20 years. Larry & I were fortunate enough to visit him here in September, 2006 and had a wonderful time! He took Larry fishing on his boat and both of us sight-seeing during our week's visit. It was our first visit to Henry's Lake, the Mesa Falls and Big Springs. We never forgot how beautiful it is in this area and had many fond memories.
Jack's place has a wonderful balcony/porch and the backyard runs right down to the shore of the lake. We arrived in the late afternoon and enjoyed a beautiful sunset as we enjoyed our dinner while visiting family and friends.
For those of you not familiar with Henry's Lake, it is located in Island Park, Idaho, just 20 miles or so outside the west entrance of Yellowstone. The lake is a small, shallow natural alpine lake, approximately 8 square miles in area, 4 miles long and 2 miles wide. It is located at 6472 feet above sea level and is on the southwest side of the Henry's Lake Mountains approximately 2 miles south of the continental divide along the Montana state line, just west of Targhee Pass.
In addition, the lake provides the headwaters of the Henry's Fork, a tributary of the Snake River. Acclaimed by fly fishing enthusiasts as the best trout fishing stream in the United States, it begins at Big Springs, winds through Harriman State Park, all the way down to Ashton, where it joins the Snake River. We stopped for a brief visit at Big Springs on our way home Monday morning. Big Springs is an interesting place due in part to the Johnny Sack Cabin.
In 1929, Johnny Sack leased a small tract of land from the United States Forest Service and began building his log cabin at Big Springs. Little did Johnny know when he first acquired the choice building site, his home would become a landmark one day discussed in the United States Congress.
Due to its unique location and picturesque setting, Johnny’s cabin and nearby water-wheel have long been one of the most photographed sites in Island Park. From his cabin overlooking Big Springs, the headwaters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, Johnny welcomed visitors from throughout the world who stopped by to look at his charming cabin and nearby water-wheel. Much like today, visitors were welcomed in and shown about the unique structure. The cabin is open to the public from mid-June through mid-September. Unfortunately, it was not open this morning but we still enjoyed our visit.
When we visited in 2006 we were amazed to learn that Big Springs produces over 120 million gallons of water each day and is one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world. The springs create the headwaters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River which travels across Fremont County creating spectacular scenery at Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. With a constant temperature of 52 degrees, the springs is home to rainbow trout, muskrats, ducks, moose and other critters.
And finally, on Saturday afternoon we visited Mesa Falls. Upper Mesa Falls, aka Big Falls, is an absolutely awesome waterfall dropping about 114 ft. with a width of 200 feet. In the past this site belonged to a power company, but it was purchased recently by Targhee National Forest and developed into a scenic attraction with a walking path leading to several viewpoints. It is wonderful! The power of the water falling here is amazing. It reminds me of a small Niagara Falls and is one of my favorites. A must see if you visit this area!
Even though it was a short trip/long drive it was nice to spend time with Mom and sister Joyce. We don't often get to have 'girl time'. My wonderful hubby stayed home to care for dad while we were gone which was comforting for mom. She knew he was in good hands. And of course, by now you know we arrived home safe and sound!