Left Yellowstone at sunset, sacrificing any scenery to darkness along the 110 mile drive . The first thing you see as you get near city range, glowing a bit too bright in the distance, is the Mormon Temple. No dark sky preservation here. It was a bit of a shock to my system to be entering a more congested area (1.6 M pop) after the bliss of the natural parks, historic towns and small resort villages.
Given the late hour, I went for cheap sleep accommodations on the outskirts of town.In the morning, I ventured into the historic downtown district. Despite the population, it was a ghost town. I guess that’s what Sunday’s are like in Mormonville. Walked past many closed storefronts, until I found the Villa Coffeehouse. It the only place open for business around. Anyway, they made an excellent cup of Joe and were all smiles.
They tried to entertain my tourist questions, but weren’t able to tell me how far Hell’s Acre was from there (about 30 miles). Perhaps if I had asked more directly – am I going to hell? I sipped my delicious zebra mocha and browsed through a local magazine that highlighted the city as an outdoor activities mecca. None of the people I saw in the coffee shop looked as if they were living the lifestyle. Neither of the baristas were able to speak to any nearby highlights, except for the 6 mile path around the falls, the city’s namesake.
I took a short stroll on the picturesque path of their sparkling crown jewel. One of the highlights along the way was this cool bench and the fish inspired on in the top picture. They’re part of their “Art you can sit on” program.
And it’s back on the road again for me. Sun Valley or bust.