Adrienne Smith, the Constant Traveler: Island Idylling in Idaho Print


By Adrienne Smith

Jul. 18, 2018:  Your Constant Traveler has been, let's face it, inconsistent over the last year and a half. This has been due to family needs, which have clipped her wings and taken the air out of her sails.

But she's back now with, perhaps, less exotic tales of adventure.

Awkwardly switching voice, I took a recent trip to Jackson, Wyoming, that necessitated a stopover in Idaho Falls, ID.

Of course, I could have stayed in a Ye Olde Holiday Inn, but I was looking for insane adventure. Felicitously, a lodging called Destinations Inn offered me more than I could possibly dream of.

Featured on the hotel's site were offerings of fantasy suites. The Egypt room featured sandstone columns, hieroglyphic-covered walls, and an "antechamber of an Egyptian king pyramid." Or I could opt for the "wild, pristine and relatively untouched" Alaska suite. If I so wished, I could go with the Rome room, complete with Trevi Fountain bathtub, guaranteed to make me "feel like Caesar himself."

Choices, choices: a Venetian hideaway including a gondola bathtub, an Arabian sheik's tent, Athens, including a Parthenon view from the bathtub.

New York, Paris, London, and others were slightly less enticing, perhaps due to my familiarity with the real things.

So what did I pick? The Hawaii room, with a perilous rope bridge up to the sleeping area, murals painted with the swelling Pacific, and an enormous lava rock spa bath, from which, once having entered, I could just barely extricate myself.

Hawaiian chants emanated from the radio, an actual fountain babbled eventually annoyingly just below me, the latter stimulating unwanted responses from my aging, ever-reactive anatomy. This was, most certainly, the afore-desired insane adventure, even without the massive projection TV screen, which dropped from the ceiling to show me every pore on screen actors' faces.

But this was not to be the end of my ersatz Hawaiian experience, for I discovered that a mere 60 miles away lay the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, an honest-to-god possibly extinct volcanic region.

Galloping off to the Craters the next morning, I came upon a scene not unlike parts of Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and, true to its name, a moonscape. The landscape teemed with lava cones, one of which I was able to climb. Lava with their ropelike trails from slow and gentle flows to rough, explosive deposits were in view as were the hauntingly delicate and beautiful flowers that eventually take root in the seeming wreckage. Had I brought a flashlight with me, I would have been able to explore several caves, known as lava tubes in Hawaii.

So moonlike is the monument that Apollo astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle learned about volcanology here in 1969 before they departed for the moon.

So who says you have to fly 10 long hours to see Hawaii when it is virtually at your back door in Idaho!

Pictured here:  The rope bridge leading up to the sleeping area in the Hawaii room at Destinations Inn.  

Photo by Adrienne Smith