Montpelier, Idaho was intended to be nothing more than a waypoint, a place to stop and catch our breath (and do laundry) before heading on to Salt Lake City. But it turned out to be so much more. The area was an important point on the Oregon and California Trails. Originally known as Clover Creek and then Belmont, it was renamed Montpelier by Brigham Young after his birthplace of Montpelier, Vermont.
Even though the town has a population of just 2,600, it has an absolutely wonderful museum that interprets the pioneering experience crossing the country. It was presented as a dramatization that allowed us to share the experience of the trek.
Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge
From Montpelier, we explored the Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge and then wandered down the shores of Bear Lake which straddles the Idaho-Utah border. I love to drive through wildlife refuges, and here was one that was not even on our radar.
At first Linda wasn't thrilled as we had to travel a number of dirt farm roads to get there (I told her to buy the Jeep last winter), but it was really worth it. We had a wonderful time with the variety of birds we saw.
As we were going in we noticed a number of folks at the picnic tables scratching lottery cards. Inside, they were selling a lot of lottery cards. After we finished a very good lunch (in a room way in the back) we noticed a lot of the same people were still scratching lottery cards. It finally dawned on us that we were in Idaho and these folks had come across the border from Utah to buy lottery tickets. And by golly they were going to make the trip worthwhile!