Might I introduce you?
It is my great pleasure to (virtually) welcome you to Island Park, Idaho! I'm enjoying a beautiful sunny summer day from the second floor of the Island Park Library. Wide-open windows and two hard-working ceiling fans circulate the fresh mountain air. It's a great setting from which to give you a brief first glance of our summer home. Be aware: there are lots of links to click on in the article ahead!
Island Park (or, IP) is 33 miles long and only about 500 feet wide in many places. They claim the longest main street in the nation. (There aren't too many who can contest this claim; here's a fun article to help you decide.)
Population: 286 (as of 2010 census)
Elevation: 6,293 feet above sea level
Elevation of Sawtell Peak (the most famous mountain in the area): 9,886 feet above sea level
A volcanic history: The town is partially located in the Island Park Caldera and contains the smaller Henry's Fork Caldera. (Calderas are the cauldron-like depressions leftover when a large underground magma chamber erupts quickly. The top of the chamber collapses, leaving an above-ground bowl-shaped area.)
Clear water: There are at least 3 springs in the area which are headwaters for many of the streams around Island Park. The water is crystal clear and absolutely beautiful wherever we've visited.
In short, Island Park is a resort/recreation town located within half an hour of West Yellowstone, MT and Yellowstone National Park's west gate. From what we hear, it takes a lot of gumption and a giant snowblower or two to live here in the winter! Heavy snowfalls afford the snowmobilers, Nordic skiers, and snowshoers plenty of action. From about mid-May through late August, numerous warm-weather recreational opportunities abound: kayaking, rafting, trout fishing, hiking, and exploring the numerous Off-Highway Vehicle trails that comb the area.
(Here's looking at Sawtell Peak! We're camped just east of it.)
Teasers of our IP experience
We set up camp around the first of May. We spent April down in the valley, waiting for our current campsite to thaw out. Here's what it looked like the first time we came up the mountain:
Waaaaay back against the treeline, just right of center, is our site. It was so close, and yet so far! It's hard to tell from this picture, but the open area is under a good foot or two of snow. Good for snowmobiles (see the tracks?), not so good for 2wd Astro vans towing a Casita.
For contrast, here's a more current picture of the meadow (from a different perspective; it's the same road in each picture):
I enjoy this version MUCH more!
We have had snow twice since we moved up. In May, we had a beautiful 8-inch blanket:
I'll be sharing more pictures of this spectacular snowfall.
It didn't last long, melting in a couple days. We got another inch in June, along with about a week of damp coldness. Brr!
Except for that one cold spell, the weather here is simply spectacular. The occasional thunderstorm or rain shower passes over, lasting at most an hour or two. There is often a breeze, and humidity is low. Temperatures have been consistently in the 60s-70degsF for about a month now. The past two weeks have been warmer, often in the 80s. Nights stay in the 40s-50s. We've been able to sleep with a window open most nights!
The mundane and the extraordinary
I look forward to sharing what we've been blessed to experience with you! We've taken some interesting day trips; one to Yellowstone National Park and another to a nearby ghost town. We've had some amazing wildlife encounters, including right at our campsite. Here's a teaser of one visitor:
There are always the every day, life-on-the-road happenings which afford us amusment, amazement, and sometimes other emotions. *wink* We are more and more thankful for our opportunity to enjoy life together in this manner, and amazed at how we are continually blessed.
Till next time, stay free and stay cool!