Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho… The Wednesday Photo Essay

Peggy and I discovered Bruneau Dunes State Park after we had been up in Central Idaho admiring the Sawtooth Mountains.

Peggy and I discovered Bruneau Dunes State Park after we had been up in Central Idaho admiring the Sawtooth Mountains.

It’s Wednesday. That means I let my fingers do the walking down through my 20,000 pictures to come up with today’s photo essay. I closed my eyes, scrolled down through iPhoto, and randomly stopped.

I landed on Bruneau Dunes State Park in southwestern Idaho. It’s a gem. Driving south on Idaho 51 heading toward Elko, Nevada, Peggy and I found the park pretty much the same way I found it on iPhoto— randomly. This 4800 acre state park features sand dunes and a small lake that gives the area an oasis feel. It’s noted for having the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America— 470 feet above the surrounding desert. (Photos by Curtis and Peggy Mekemson.)

Peggy and I had been up in central Idaho admiring the Sawtooth Mountains and were on our way to Nevada when we found Breneau Dunes State Park.

Peggy and I had been up in central Idaho admiring the Sawtooth Mountains and were on our way to Nevada when we found Bruneau Dunes State Park.

The small lake backed up by the 470 high Dune gives the area an oasis feel.

The small lake backed up by the 470 high dune gives the area an oasis feel.

Moving around the lake provided different perspectives on the dune.

Moving around the lake provided different perspectives on the dune.

This view provided a reflection of the dune.

This view provided a reflection.

A view of the lake.

A view focused on the lake.

Having hiked around to the opposite side the lake, we were rewarded with a view of the dune.

Having hiked to the opposite side of the lake, we were rewarded with a closer view of the dune.

And lots of animal tracks.

And lots of animal tracks. Coyote possibly.

Bird tracks

Bird tracks

Your guess. I am thinking sidewinder rattlesnake.

Your guess. I am thinking sidewinder rattlesnake.

Later in the day, the dunes took on an almost purple tint as the sun went down.

Later in the day, the dunes took on an almost purple tint as the sun went down.

I liked the sage and other shrubs in this photo.

I liked the sage and other shrubs in this photo caught in the glow of the late afternoon sun.

The sun was almost down.

The sun was almost down.

Good night.

Good night.

34 comments on “Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho… The Wednesday Photo Essay

  1. I was surprised enough to learn about Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan. I’m astonished to discover they exist in Idaho, too. The photos are lovely.

    Did you ever have the chance to fly along the very edge of the African coastline where the Sahara meets the ocean? It was as remarkable as anything I’ve ever seen — all sand and water, writ large.

    • I never had the opportunity to fly along the African coastline meets the Mediterranean but I can imagine it is quite beautiful where the blue of the sea meets the gold of the sand. Peggy and I have visited Sleeping Bear Dunes and found them quite impressive. Somewhere I have photos. 🙂 The great Sand Dunes in Colorado (mentioned by Ginette above) also seem to be out of place. –Curt

  2. Did you try hiking the dunes? We visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado and hiked there–it’s a lot harder than it looks but so much fun running down. Great photos! -Ginette

    • Not this time, Ginette, but I have hiked on the dunes in Death Valley several times and you are right. Tough going up; interesting going down. 🙂 And they always make great subjects for photography. –Curt

  3. Your photos are wonderful! I’m so glad your finger landed on the dunes this time. The sand above the water is so pretty and I enjoyed watching the land change colour as the sun set. I am originally from Idaho and I have yet to explore that particular section, which is a great sin.

    • Thank you! My experience with Idaho, Crystal, is that it has a great deal of natural beauty, like the Sawtooth’s, for example. Did you ever make it to Craters of the Moon National Monument? It’s another very interesting area. Astronauts actually used it for training. –Curt

      • ha! I didn’t know that about the astronauts, but yes, I went to Craters of the Moon as a school field trip. That was several years ago… I may be due for a return. Growing up, I lived with my dad near McCall, and with my mom near Sandpoint…so I know more about the panhandle.

      • Peggy and I stayed at a timeshare near Blanchard, Idaho a few years ago and explored the area around it, including Sandpoint. The Peace River is quite beautiful. –Curt

  4. I commented! I know I commented. And I hit the button to receive notification of new comments. And I’m getting notification of all the new comments but my comment has disappeared. Weird WP 🙂 Perhaps I’m in your spam. Anyway I think I may have mentioned something about wonderful photos – the first and second last being my favourites. What a lucky find this sweet place was.
    Alison

    • Alison, mea culpa… I am doing something here, it has happened three times, where I start to reply and the comment disappears. It’s like I begin typing, but it is outside of the box. (Like I run my life. (grin)) Anyway, WP doesn’t like it. So my apologies. And thanks for coming back and commenting again. –Curt

  5. Great shots. Looking at the dunes made me think of an outback trip I took many years ago through some of the most isolated parts of Australia. Four wheel drive and lots of drinking water!

  6. Had no idea. I worked in Idaho a year ago, visiting my schools about 7 different times. Never went this way. My loss. What a find — sand dunes in Idaho! That state, noted Bert when I showed him your pictures, has it all — lakes, mountains, and dunes. It has to be one of our faves! Thanks for the post.

      • For the past three years, I’ve worked with Discovery Education, a branch of the Discovery network. I train teachers on how to use the nonfiction videos they’re known for as well as understand the data from benchmark assessments students take. The job has taken me so many places — and was the impetus for creating the blog. We’re grateful for what we’ve seen, thanks to Discovery — and others.

      • How interesting. There is nothing better than a job that allows you to pursue your passion. And good for Discovery for supporting the effort. Peggy is a retired elementary school principal and my daughter is a teacher. Anything that captures the imagination of young people, helps them learn, and expands their view of the world is valuable. –Curt

      • Many schools were identified as low-performing based upon end-of-year tests in TN. They were called High Priority schools, and a cadre called Exemplary Educators (all retired educators) was assigned to help them identify problems and solutions that would boost student performance overall. I did this work for 10 years, mostly in Chattanooga. So very rewarding, especially if you see progress.

      • Good work, Rusha. 19 languages were spoken at Peggy’s school, which had the lowest scores in her district when she took it over. It was near the top when she left and recognized as a California Distinguished School. –Curt

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