Monday, June 26, 2023 quote Scooby Doo

Snake River at Twin Falls, ID.

I had 3 chances to get a picture on the same stretch of road Sat. morning (I slept through the tunnel on the first go). Yep, we forgot the jack pads at Clark RV Park. Not that they are expensive, though they are, but more importantly they would be hard to replace with like ones. Pat remembered 70 miles down the road at the California Trail Interpretive Center. They let us park our RV there while we took the car on the 2 hour round trip back to Battle Mountain, NV to retrieve the 4 pads. Can't thank the owner of Clark's RV park enough for driving into Battle Mountain to put the pads in a safe spot.

We wouldn't have stopped at this interpretive center today, about 5 miles out of Elko, if not for our misfortune. It had great displays, information, and interactive displays for kids. They could dress up like the pioneers and load a miniature wagon. Decisions had to be made, not everything .would fit! Well worth the stop, but better yet if it hadn't involved an extra 2 hour drive! I would love to go back and spend more time. I would highly recommend it if you are traveling "in the middle of nowhere."

There were displays and beautiful murals depicting the journey on the California Trail in the 1840's-1860's. It ran from Missouri to California, specifically Sacramento. As well as the hardships of the Trail it also told of what they were headed for, mining. Displays were both inside and outside, and very detailed.

I think HD Summit was a bit higher at 6,280.

Hooking back up after a successful retrieval.

Referring to the Humbolt River

The California Trail went wbout 2,000 miles from the Missouri River to California. It follows the Humbolt River for 280 miles 

Back to "animal crossings." Along with under road crossings and roadside fences, animal-vehicle crashes are reduced by a large percentage.

No gambling, but we did spend Sat. night and ate dinner here. They had spots on site with water and electric for $24.

Perrine Memorial Bridge at Twin Falls, ID goes over a lava canyon and the Snake River. It is 486' above the Snake River making it the 8th tallest bridge in the U.S.

Historical marker at a rest area where we stopped for lunch. Lander Road was an alternate path on the Oregan Trail.

Lava Field 

Thank you to Cabela's in Ammon, ID (part of Idaho Falls) for letting us, plus 3 others, spend the night in their parking lot! 

Did some shopping at Cabela's and loaded up with groceries for us and our guests for our next stop... 
Where are the Piepers now? Idaho Falls, ID

Sunday, June 25, 2023

We love to explore--Napa,Part 2

In the first half of the 1900's what did people think of when they heard, "Napa?" Not wine, but the California State Hospital or, as it was known until 1924, the Napa Assylum for the Insane. On 138 acres (layer it grew to 2,000 acres) with 7 towers it was called the "castle." 

The California State Hospital today. The Castle structure was demolished after WWII.

Opened in 1875 to ease crowding at the Stockton Hospital it strived to provide a healthy environment for it's patients. Believing in work therapy, it was designed to be self-sufficient with patients doing a lot of the work. It went through a lot of changes through the years, including stetilization, electrotherapy, and integrating patients into the community.  It started with treating alcoholics, those suffering from diseases such as depression, and the homeless. Today  80% of it's patients are criminals, many claiming insanity as a defense.

In 1979 the hospital decided to sell off unused land. That is when the state leased a portion of that land to Skyline Wilderness Park. Remember the chicken coups? The assylum patients raised chickens, cows, grew gardens, planted orchards, and built lakes to provide water.

Below are some interesting pieces of history we found while hiking Skyline Wilderness Park. Videos made by Kate Senger in 2021 were very interesting and helpful: History Behind the Mysteries of Skyline Wilderness Park.

There is a path connecting the park to the hiking trails. On either side of that path and bordering some of the trails are signs indicating no trespassing on California state property.

In the early years a small number of patients were allowed to not only wander the grounds but to build small houses, or live in caves. 

A yummy looking water trough for horses. 

A small cave that was excavated in the 1800's in search of a spring, indicated by the wet spot outside of the cave. 

From 1875 - 1923 4,300+ indigent patients were buried on the grounds, somewhere. Add to that the bodies that were claimed and they had the highest death rate of any similar facility. From the 1920's - 1964, over 5,000 bodies were cremated and in 1968 the ashed were buried in a mass grave. Today the few that die there are transferred to their county of residence. 
This could be the original crematorium or it could be a cave where a patient lived. There is a chimney on top and a piece of metal hanging inside on the top. Not a lot of records, so lots of speculation.

Not sure what this is...

but there is a passage between the rocks. There are hand chisel marks.

Near the top of Lake Marie road is Lake Marie, one of 3 or 4 lakes built on the hospital property. Built around 1880 it provided water to the hospital for almost a century.

We walked up on Lake Marie Road but took a path down that required several water crossings. 

Pat noticed how cloudy the water was. 

A new fashion trend?
Not much on Camp Coons but it appears to be overgrown and defunct. It's fenced off.

In one corner of Camp Coombs was Heron Lake Challenge, a team building rope course by the Napa schools. The sign doesn't look too promising and it looks a bit overgrown. However, it looks like it was used at least until 2019, which was about Covid time.

A couple of fawns, maybe twins?

Shortly after starting down the River to Ridge Trail we came across what is thought to be a rock separater. There was a quarry above and the rocks were separated into 3 sizes and came out the chutes. Possibly used to build the roads or the blocks for the original hospital building.

Palm trees not native to the area indicating there may have been a house here, maybe prison administrators.

Overlooking the current prison layout.

Looking down towards the Napa River. This was our turn around spot. 

Our final search was for The Hermitage. Here a few patients had built homes and local Napa residents would come for picnics. We took an unmarked road and found a more modern Kiwanis park. According to a later video The Hermitage might have been located in the Camp Coombs area.

This wall and the fountain on the right were newer and probably built by the Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis park appeared abandoned which seems a shame. A shelter had a date of 1986.

Modern restrooms were locked

Old buildings abandoned and locked. No information found on this park anywhere.

A group had a flower garden here at one point.

At least Pat warned me about the missing board! Across the bridge was a picnic area, but also old stone footings and walls. 


An unused port-a-potty from years ago.

We came away with more questions than answers but we had fun trying to figure out what might have been. Oh, and there are quite a few paranormal happenings.👻
Where are the Piepers now? Jackpot, NV