A Trip to Ritter Island

We've lived in the Magic Valley for eight whole years this summer.  (I suppose that makes us boring and stable, but I welcome those two adjectives to describe my life with open arms.)  While living here, we've discovered some pretty amazing places to play that are worth visiting over and over again.  And we do!  However, as I put together a list of ideas of day adventures to do with the kids this summer, I suddenly had this desire to discover something new.  It felt like we'd been there and done it all, but I knew that couldn't possibly be true.  Turns out, all I had to do was broaden my radius a bit.  Enter Thousand Springs State Park.  There are multiple attractions to explore within the park, just about an hour's drive from our home.  Sweet!  So on Monday, the hottest day yet this summer, we checked off one of our summer day trip items: Ritter Island.

Ritter Island is literally an island that sits right smack in the middle of the Snake River.  It was once a self sustaining farm with dairy cows, fruit trees, and all sorts of other agriculture.  We wandered around the property and through the near one hundred year old barn.  We heard some owls but never did see them.

There is also a natural underground spring that bursts from the canyon walls in that area.  The crystal clear water is used to create electricity before running into the river.  Our volunteer guide told us that the water runs at about 52 degrees all year long and is so clean we could drink it!  (I wouldn't drink it downstream of Conrad though.  He pooped in his swimming suit.  I dumped the turd out in the bathroom but had no other choice but to put his trunks back on!  No worries, they were clean by the time we left.  wink-wink)

So after touring the island, we set up a picnic on the grass and ventured into the cold water.  The river there is shallow and very slow moving and just plain gorgeous.  The boys weren't too enthusiastic about the water at first, but soon realized they could float underneath the bridge and then they were all in!  A set of grandparents offered to let us borrow their tubes for the afternoon.  We took turns taking short lazy trips down the river and made some pretty amazing memories together!  I can't wait to go back.  (I already bought tubes!)

And just to keep it real, I have to mention the ginormous splinter Jed got stuck in the bottom of his foot!  Poor kid.  He went to cross the old bridge with a tube and must have dragged his foot a bit.  I have never seen a splinter so big or seen one lodge itself so deep.  (Lesson learned: always wear shoes on the bridge!)  Fortunately, I asked around and someone had an entire nail care packet in her car that included tweezers.  Jed screamed dramatically, but I successfully removed it!  We were then able to spend a couple more hours playing in the water.  Never a dull moment with three boys.

So a big fist pump for generous and friendly people who helped make our first trip to Ritter Island so much fun.  I love Idaho and its many pretty gems, but the good people here are what make it so great.  

^^A view straight out of a movie, right?^^
^^There were several old homes on the property.^^
^^Little navigator with his map.^^
^^"Nobody's home!"^^
^^Inside the old milking parlor.^^
^^Levi figuring out how to open the old gates.  The mechanism was kind of cool!^^
^^These two.  "Mooom, hurry up!"^^
^^The old stone home that is apparently for rent!^^
^^Look at that gorgeous water!^^
^^Feeling tentative about their first dip.^^
^^Playing in the mud.  My view made me laugh.^^
^^And look!  There's me with my baby boy!  Jed grabbed my camera while taking a snack break and snapped a few for me.  I need to teach him how to use the back button focus, but these just happened to be in focus enough to keep.  Makes me happy.^^
^^Paddling and snorkeling.  Love this crazy kid and his ideas.^^

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