Idaho’s City of Rocks
Some of the smooth-faced granite pinnacles and monoliths in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve are “60 stories tall and 2.5 billion years old,” said Pete Zimowsky in The Seattle Times. At this rock-climbing mecca in the southern part of the state, climbers have never had a problem with the lack of camping facilities: After scaling some of these “world-class rock formations,” all they needed was a tarp and a sleeping bag. But campers sometimes wake to howling wind, rain, sleet, or snow. So the new, RV-friendly Smoky Mountain Campground gives visitors a choice between primitive and more plush accommodations. “And guess what?” Some climbers don’t mind a shower at the end of an arduous day. City of Rocks is part of the 1,440-acre Castle Rocks State Park, a former ranch. Adjacent are early-20th-century ranch buildings and pastures. The area is also home to the state’s tallest piñon pines, and “the piñon pine forests are the largest in the state.”
Repairing the Continental Divide Trail
I’d gone to Wind River Range, Wyo., to help repair part of the Continental Divide Trail, said Tom Haines in The Boston Globe. This trail will eventually reach from Canada to Mexico, “traversing the high heart of the nation through five Rocky Mountain states.” Congress authorized its construction 30 years ago, placing it in the same category as the Appalachian Trail in the east and the Pacific Crest Trail further west. About 2,100 miles of the 3,100-mile trail are now usable, but it’s “still a work in progress.” Our small group was headed toward Gunsight Pass. Rising in the predawn, we hiked seven miles and, following a brief rest, got to work hauling and dumping rocks. The next few days we cleared fallen trees, filled a drainage with rocks, and built water bars to redirect rainwater. At night, we took solitary walks to fetch drinking water, and dug a hole for a makeshift toilet.