Idaho Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Riding the World’s Longest Gondola

Guinness Book Of World Records

The longest single-stage gondola in the world isn’t found in the Alps or Asia, and doesn’t belong to a famous resort like Vail or St. Moritz. Nope, this record goes to the Silver Mountain Ski Resort, in humble little Kellogg, Idaho.

Longest-Gondola

Silver Mountain’s gondola runs for 3.1 miles, climbing over 1000 meters (3400 feet) for nearly twenty minutes. There are longer gondolas in the world, but those either use “angle stations” or don’t carry people.

We’re constitutionally unable to resist anything that owns a world record (see our trips to the world’s biggest department store, and the world’s biggest beagle-shaped bed & breakfast), so there was no way we’d be skipping out on Silver Mountain’s gondola. Although it was well before ski season, the gondola runs on weekends throughout the summer and fall. At the top of the mountain, there are a couple hikes and mountain bike trails.

Our trip was just as fun and scenic as we figured it would be. Twenty minutes can pass by pretty fast when you’re soaring above a landscape as lovely as the Silver Valley’s.

Silver Mountain Resort – Website

-Book Your Idaho Hotels Here

Längste Seilbahn
Idaho-Gondola
Idaho Sun
Mountain Biking Idaho
Idaho Chair Lift
Chopping-Wood-In-Idaho
Silver Mountain Idaho

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
October 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm Comments (0)

Kellogg’s Crystal Gold Mine

Gold Pan Kit

The day after visiting the Sierra Silver Mines in nearby Wallace, we were invited to check out Kellogg’s Crystal Gold Mines. Two mines in two days might sound repetitive, but they offered sufficiently distinct experiences to make each worth the time.

Gold-In-Idaho-Mine

Where the most memorable aspect of Sierra Silver Mines had been its still-working equipment, that of the Crystal Gold Mine was its history. This was the first hard rock mine explored in the Silver Valley, dug out by a small group of prospectors years before the silver rush which brought about the first permanent settlers. The identity of the men responsible for the Crystal mine remains shrouded in mystery.

Our guide for the day, a former miner who joined the Navy when the industry slowed, showed us the veins of quartz which the gold-seekers followed into the underground. Gold is often mixed with quartz, and he pointed out some nuggets still embedded in the hard, white rock. No one knows how much gold this mine produced, but considering how much was left when the mine was rediscovered, it must have been a substantial amount.

The miners vanished suddenly, for reasons which are unascertainable. Their equipment, advanced and expensive for the day, was left behind, and the mine’s entrance was sealed up and carefully concealed. It seems safe to assume that they intended to return. The mine was so well-hidden that it remained undiscovered until 1991.

Our tour took about an hour. We learned about various minerals, including the beautiful and worthless Smithsonite, and got to experience the unsettling sensation of absolute blackness when our guide shut off the lights completely. We saw downward shafts now filled with water (and some fish), some of the rotted, original equipment, and an interesting exhibit which demonstrated the blast pattern on a wall packed with dynamite.

And after the tour, we got to try our hand at panning for gold in tubs kept in the yard. I was too clumsy and impatient, but Jürgen demonstrated an innate knack for it. So I wasn’t too surprised when, the next day, he swung into the parking lot of a hardware store and ran inside to buy his very own pan. For weeks, every time we drove by a river, his eyes lit up with gold fever, and we had to stop. Amazingly, he never hit it rich.

Crystal Gold Mine – Website

-Receive Our Articles Straight To Your Inbox

Gold-Ore-Cart
Idaho Tunnel
Mine Tour Kellogg
Old Gold Mine
Quarz Hunt
Idaho-Gold-Rush
Gold Mining Tools
Gold Hole
Mining In The Dark
Old Fashion Mining
Blue-Crystal-Mine
Clue Crystal
Real-Gold-Mine
Purple Mine Stuff
Mine Drip
Mine Alge
Gold Miners Of Idaho
Old Gold
Mine Light
Old Mining Hat
Panning For Gold

, , , , , , , ,
October 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm Comment (1)

Reliving the Big Blowup of 1910 on the Pulaski Trail

Smokey The Bear

Big Ed Pulaski was probably as famous as it’s possible for a firefighter to be. He invented the Pulaski: the hatchet/pick-axe tool which has become the fireman’s most important weapon. And as a young man, Big Ed’s accomplishments were even more notable; unless you’re unimpressed by something like saving 40 men during the biggest wildfire in North American history.

Pulaski

The “Big Blowup” of 1910 wiped out much of northern Idaho, with especially devastating effects in the Silver Valley. The fire burned over three million acres (about the size of Connecticut) and did so with terrifying fury. In August of 1910, Ed was supervising firefighting crews, when the winds suddenly shifted, placing him and his men in immediate, mortal danger.

Pulaski was familiar with the terrain and remembered an abandoned mine in the vicinity. With trees falling down around them and panicked wildlife, including a bear, pushing by them on the trail, Big Ed led his men to the mine. All 45 made it safely inside, and laid on the ground while the fire roaring outside sucked the oxygen out of the air. Suffocating and in the grip of panic, some men wanted to escape the relative safety of the mine — but cool Ed Pulaski trained his pistol on them. “The first one who tries to leave, gets shot”.

Due to the scarce oxygen, all 45 men lost consciousness. When the fire passed, 40 woke back up. The loss of five men was tragic, but without Big Ed’s knowledge and level-headedness, the toll would have been much worse.

A two-mile interpretive trail just south of Wallace leads to the location of the old mine which saved the lives of 40 men. Along the way, placards recreate the hellish nightmare of the Big Blowup, showing the extent of the devastation and sharing quotes from Pulaski’s memoirs. At the trail’s end, you can see the mine. It’s closed off and rather small, but the weight of history makes it improbably dramatic.

Location of the Trailhead on our Map

-The For 91 Days Google Plus Page

Pulaski-Bridge
Forrest-Wallace-Idaho
Burned-Tree
Greens Idaho Forrest
Green Fall
Buffalo Blower
Pulaski-Mine
Skull Idaho
Pulaski-Axe
Idaho Fahsion
, , , , , , , ,
October 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm Comment (1)

A Walk About Historic Wallace

Great Hotels In Idaho

Without a doubt, Wallace is among the most unique towns that we’ve ever set foot in. The entire downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places. It had active bordellos until 1988. And leading theoretical physicists agree that Wallace is the exact center of the universe!

Wallace-Guide-Idaho-Travel

Fine, perhaps it wasn’t physicists who decided that Wallace was of such cosmic importance, so much as drunken locals who, after a rowdy night of drinking in the Smokehouse Saloon, laid down a plaque in the intersection of Bank and 6th Street which reads “Wallace: Center of the Universe”. Despite the questionable science, the nickname stuck. And extra-terrestrials seem to agree; we saw two spaceships during our walk around town.

Though “center of the universe” might be a stretch, Wallace is certainly the center of the Silver Valley mining area. Only 700 people live here today, but it was once one of the largest towns in the Pacific Northwest, and probably its most notorious. Wallace was a hard-drinking, brawling mining town famous for its bordellos, which remained open until 1988.

Originally, Wallace was constructed mostly of wood, leaving it defenseless against the horrific 1910 wildfire that ravaged northern Idaho. Thereafter, all buildings constructed in the town center used brick. The result is an exquisitely-preserved mining town from the turn of the century. The entire historic district has survived the years, and visiting is like stepping back in time.

The official walking tour of Wallace starts at the old Train Depot, then leads visitors around on a comprehensive tour of 43 historic buildings. Hotels, brothels, bars, banks… just about every single building in the old town has a story to share. Despite the town’s diminutive size, we were exhausted by the end of our tour. Somehow, though, we found the fortitude to grab a seat in the 1313 Club, and treat ourselves to a delicious dinner of burgers and home-brewed beer.

Location on our Idaho Map

-Our Published Travel Books On Amazon

Mining-Monument-Wallace
Mining-In-Idaho
Stardust-Motel-Wallace
Spaceship-Window
Stardust-Painting
Alien-Language
Inside A Spaceship
Red-Light-Idaho
Star Bulb
Moon-Pass-Idaho
Huckleberry-Ice-Cream
Red-Light-Oldtimer
Retro-Bus-USA
Old Rocket
Center-Of-The-Universe-Wallace-Idaho
Mining-Tour-Idaho-Wallace
Wallace-Idaho
Depot-Idaho-Wallace
Albis-Wallace
Elks-331
Elks-Wallache
Historic-Wallace
Silver Corner Wallace
Ryan-Hotel-Wallace
Sweet-Hotel-Wallace
Wallace Corner
Wallace-Library
Wallace Store Front
Wallace-Laundromat
/Wallace-Gentleman
Vintage-Games-Wallache
Golden-Nugget-Slot-Machine
Wallace-Pinball-Machine
Bowling-Arcade-Machine
Wallace-Headache
James-Dean-Idaho
Wallace-Spool
Sleepy-Wallace
OldTime-Wallace
Retro-Art-Idaho
Art-Deco-Wallace-Idaho
Mullin-Wallace
1313-Pub-Restaurant
1313-Wallace-Girls
Big-Headed-Idaho
Elco Idaho
Hot Ride Idaho
Nympho
/Stein-Bar
Wallace Bench

, , , , , , , , , , ,
October 12, 2012 at 1:05 am Comments (3)