With Spring in session and a surely memorable Summer on the horizon, the Advanced Primate team wants everyone to take full advantage of being able to explore again. The country is slowly recovering, allowing national parks and outdoor recreation areas to open back up. We hope you all are as excited as we are for what’s in store for this blog series, as this blog marks the beginning of our Historic Hiking Series. To kick us off, let's start where Advanced Primate kicked off, Western Idaho!
If you have been in downtown Boise, you have likely seen the iconic Adelmann Building. It is one of the gems of Idaho that displays the history of Boise just through its contrast against the seemingly always-rising, modern buildings in downtown. Just like the Adelmann building, the Adelmann Mine was owned by the prominent businessman of his time, Richard Adelmann. It was operated by the Adelmann Group in the Black Hornet section of mines near Boise, however not much is to be found when you go looking for information. According to some sources, this specific mine was actually not all that profitable because it was not able to produce very much. The only real way to see what draws people to this mine is to go on the 4.7 mile hike yourself!
In 1901, the Swan Falls Dam was constructed as the first hydroelectric generation site on the Snake River. Made to provide power to the nearby mines in Silver City, Idaho, the dam quickly proved its worth as there were no coal or oil reserves to draw from. The original powerhouse and generators have since been retired and turned into a museum, but there are absolutely gorgeous hiking trails surrounding it and the new powerplant. The general area around the dam is essentially a hub for outdoor adventure — there is a boat dock nearby for the fisherman and the kayakers who are looking for some class 2 rapids, and the trailhead to the Swan Falls Dam Southeast Trail actually begins at the boat dock! It is a 4.1 mile hike and has views for miles. On your hike along the river, you can expect to see views of the canyon walls that only those who have done the hike can see, bountiful native plants and trees, and local wildlife. People have reported seeing coyote tracks, eagles, vultures, falcons, and other impressive birds of prey. Being located right by the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, you are bound to see some stunning wildlife!
B-23 Dragon Bomber Crash Site
If you ever find yourself in the McCall area, you should check out the B-23 Dragon Bomber Crash Site at Loon Lake. How many opportunities do you have to check out a crash site for a plane, let alone a WWII era bomber? The story goes that 8 men were flying this plane on a training mission from an air base in Nevada to an airbase in Tacoma, Washington, but got caught in a storm. The pilot wanted to divert the plane to land in Boise, but as luck would have it the short radio and weather conditions made that unfeasible. The men had to make a tough decision: either test their luck with jumping out of the plane or find somewhere to land. Thankfully for the men, the pilot spotted the frozen Loon Lake and decided to wing it (we love a good plane pun) and set the plane down on the ice. The pilot successfully put the bird down on the frozen lake, but as you can guess, there’s no smooth sailing when landing a plane weighing several tons on a frozen lake. After landing on the ice, they slid the plane into some trees and ripped the wings clean off, but thankfully all 8 men aboard survived the crash (so the puns are fine to say). While being in a plane crash is crazy enough in itself, what really makes you wonder about what that experience must have been like is almost not even the crash itself — it’s what the men had to endure afterwards. These men weren’t rescued for nearly two weeks and at one point three of the men decided to set off from the rest of the group and seek help. The five who stayed near the crash site were only rescued after a recreational bush pilot noticed the wreckage, the other three actually found their way to the Lake Fork Ranger Station. That was of course only after they hiked through around 40 miles of deep snow to get there. Read more about the crash here! Now we saved this location for last, because not only is it the most interesting of the three, it is also the longest hike. Coming in at around a 13 mile round trip, this one is much longer than the other two and it’s not a hike that you can just stroll through. If you want to face this hike and see the wreckage, you need to go in prepared! You are definitely going to need to carry water (as you should with every hike) and some snacks as this hike is will take nearly 4 hours on average. You will also need to carry your phone, car keys, your dog's collapsible water dish — really whatever you need to be prepared for a long hike. Grab yourself a hiking backpack to store all of that stuff in, and you’re ready to go!