Today, we continued our quest to visit as many National Park Sites as possible. Ideally, we would visit all of them (currently a little over 400), but a few of them are just way too remote and difficult/expensive to get to. But, we enjoy visiting any that are reasonable! We got three more of them today, bringing our total to 98 sites visited together.
We started with a surprise two-for-one. We headed to Hagerman Fossil Beds National Historic Site, about an hour and a half southeast of Boise. When we arrived at the visitor center, we found that it was also the visitor center for Minidoka National Historic Site, a Japanese Internment Camp.
The fossil beds consisted mainly of Hagerman Horse fossils, one of the oldest horses. Today, the site is really just a big open area. And this time of year, it was covered in snow.
We didn’t realize that the Minidoka site was as close as it was (about a 30-45 minute drive). The visitor center had a basic display of the history of the internment camps and the life of those who were forced into them. The site itself had a guard tower (a replica, I’m sure), and the foundations of a couple buildings right at the entrance. Again, everything was covered in snow, so it was pretty much impossible to follow the trail, but it was still worth the trip.
The third stop for the day was the Golden Spike National Monument, just north of Salt Lake City. It was the site of the last spike that joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, completing the transcontinental railroad. They had a replica of the Jupiter, a steam locomotive, that did a quick run up and down the local tracks, just for show. It was interesting to read about the work and everything involved in building the railroad. And everyone likes trains, right?
After that, we drove to the south end of Salt Lake City for our hotel for the night. We encountered some light snow, but nothing troublesome.
Tomorrow, we plan to visit National Park sites 99 and 100!