For Mother’s Day, my family took me up to Palisades Reservoir, about an hour east of where we live. I love the Palisades area and it is a hands-down favorite of the family. It’s so close that getting to a camping spot after work is not an ordeal and yet it is far enough away that you are in the mountains and are able to disconnect and just relax.

We just did a quick day trip this time. We may be able to get up and camp by Memorial Day or soon after, but for now it was fun to revisit favorite places and picnic on the side of the road. I had another reason for loving the outing. The route we took to Palisades and some of the places we went are detailed in my book. As we drove along, I told the kids and my husband what was happening in the book at this spot or that place. We got to talking about other situations I set up in the book and whether they are realistic. It was a lot of fun and I was so happy to be able to share my writing with them and get their ideas and comments.

Palisades Reservoir is one of the larger reservoirs on the Snake River, but I’m going to have to get out my book research to tell you exactly which one! I’ll pull a section out of Silent Thunder and post it on the Book Shelf. The Snake River forms from run off in the Yellowstone and Teton mountain ranges. The river and snowmelt naturally formed Jackson Lake at Jackson, Wyo., but pioneers early on added a dam to store more water for eastern Idaho farmers to use on their crops. After some years, Palisades Dam and Reservoir were created. The highway that links Idaho Falls to Alpine, Wyo., to Jackson, Wyo., runs along the lakeside of Palisades and it is narrow and twisty. It is the lowland way to get between the two states, although you still have to go through the Hoback Junction, a confluence of the Hoback River and the Snake River. The only other way is over Pine Creek Pass and then over the Teton Pass or through the farm fields of Newdale and Driggs and then over the Teton Pass with its tight curves and 10 percent grade.

There is still a lot of snow on the peaks and the reservoir is drawn down in anticipation of the coming run-off. Life works in such cycles here, you can almost feel the Earth turning into the next season, the next cycle, the next event. We tend to have a 7-year cycle of drought to wet to drought, so while every spring water is let out of the reservoir to make room for the coming snow run-off, it might not be the same amount of water that’s emptied each year. We marveled this weekend at the work of the water managers in Eastern Idaho and throughout the state. They have a hard job to do, and for the most part they do it very well. Sometimes it seems like no matter what you do, Mother Nature is going to trip you up with unpredictability. Fortunately for us, everything went as planned and we all had fun.

I’m going to share some of my pictures from last weekend. I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend!

Enjoy the read, TC Robinson

Palisades Reservoir looking west to Calamity and the dam.
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