Posted on July 3, 2016
On this date in 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state of the United States of America.
Idaho is in the West, so (like all Western states) it is larger than many of the eastern states. As a matter of fact, the area of Idaho is larger than all of New England put together!
Yet Idaho is also one of the least densely populated states.
I always think of potatoes when I think of Idaho, because that crop is grown pretty widely there. Indeed, some people call Idaho the “Potato State.” About one-fifth of the U.S. potato crop is grown in Idaho, including about half of all potatoes used by McDonalds for French fries!
|I loved finding peacock ore|
But another Idaho nickname is the “Gem State.” Almost every known gemstone has been found there!! (We're talking 72 different precious and semi-precious stones!)
And Idaho is one of only two places in the entire world where there is a quantity of star garnets (the other source of star garnets is India).
Even though star garnets are super rare, apparently they aren't terribly expensive. Tourists can pay $10 (adult; only $5 for kids) for a permit and borrowed equipment to wash and screen gravel, looking for these stones. You're allowed to take up to five pounds of garnets for that price!
|Three kinds of opals found in Idaho:|
Above, harlequin opal
Below, pinfire opal
Far below, the very rare star opal
Energy and jumps
- Arco, Idaho, became the first city lit by atomic energy in 1955.
- Idaho's statehouse in capital Boise is heated by geothermal energy; the underground hot springs provide the heat!
- Famous daredevil Evil Knievel tried – but failed to jump over the Snake River Canyon, in Idaho, in 1974. It was a mile-wide chasm, and Knievel was trying to make the enormous jump in a specially-built “rocket motorcycle.”
- A high-jump technique called the Fosbury Flop was invented by an athlete from Idaho. His name was Dick Fosbury (why are you not surprised?), and he not only won an Olympic gold medal, he revolutionized the high-jump event and is considered one of the most influential athletes in the entire history of track and field!
|Before Fosbury, this is how high jumpers jumped (above).|
But Fosbury was innovative -- and successful! --
with a back-first move (below).
Here are some other “gems” of Idaho:
Craters of the Moon National Monument – a “vast ocean” of hardened lava:
Sawtooth National Recreation Area:
The boat tour at Hell's Canyon:
...which is a great spot to spot bald eagles and other wildlife!
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