Bruneau Dunes

Bruneau Dunes

As we fill in the blog with what there wasn’t time–or computer connection for–we’re back to August, traveling in Idaho.

We camped at Bruneau Dunes years ago, after our girls left for college and Kirk joined the army.  Just Skus and me.  There was camping beside the lake then, where there’s only picnicking allowed now, and the campground up the hill has been enlarged.    We were cozy in a 2-person tent.  Bullfrogs and spring peepers serenaded us, and wind blew through the willows and Russian olives (or whatever variety they are) beside the lake.   I’ve since associated Bruneau Dunes with Christmas and a lovely old carol.

The olive trees that rustle so softly in a breeze
The olive trees that rustle so softly in a breeze

Wind through the olive trees softly did blow,
round little Bethlehem, long, long ago.
Sheep on the hillside lay whiter than snow;
shepherds were watching them, long, long ago.
Then through the starry skies, angels bent low,
singing their song of joy, long, long ago.

I’m using the Dunes in a middle-grade story:

A slim girl with reddish-brown hair in one long braid down her back called from high on the sand dune, “Aunt Tabby, watch me slide!”  She waved both arms over her head. Aunt Tabby, a small figure far below in the valley, waved back. Allison slid down the dune, her heels kicking up sprays of sand. She jumped and slid again, waving her arms for balance, and rejoined Aunt Tabby with a huge leap, like a high jumper landing in a sand pit.

Allison finds a boy who has run ahead of his grandparents who  are afraid he’s lost,  and overcomes her own fear of snakes when the boy is afraid of what he thinks is a rattlesnake, but Allison knows it is a harmless bull snake.  One of these days I’ll finish the book…

Today we take photos so I can accurately describe where the grandparents have been walking, where the child turns off the path, and where Allison finds him.  Skus and I start on the level trail along the lake that we took long ago and discover the soft sand, in which every footstep slides into its own small pit, is exhausting for him and nearly impossible for me.  In the distance, young hikers reach the top of a dune.   We don’t remember whether we ever brought our Theresa, now a grandmother, to Bruneau Dunes, but she would have left long skid marks down the dunes as my fictitious Allison does.

The Dunes rise above the arid grasslands in southern Idaho.
Dunes rise above arid grasslands in southern Idaho.

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