Lizard or Lava?

by State Rep. Randy Armstrong

(R – District 28)

We were driving around recently and my wife said, “We should go on a trip somewhere, how about Hawaii?”

“Oh my gosh! I’d love to go to Hawaii. Let’s go home and see if my old Speedo still fits.”

The wife, “Put some batteries in your hearing aids. I said Owyhee not Hawaii. You are a newly elected representative to Idaho and have an obligation to acquaint yourself with the entire state. We’re not going to Maui, we’re going to Murphy.”

Did you even know that was a county seat?

There is an impressive landmark in Owyhee called Lizard Butte. It looks (with a severe squint) similar to Diamond Head. Take a picture when you are there and then when asked where you went on vacation mumble H-owyhee, then flash them your digital photo. They will enviously imagine you lying on the beach in Waikiki, looking longingly up at the verdant slopes of Diamond Head. Not ever thinking of you desperately seeking a hot chocolate in Murphy.

Besides Lizard Butte, we have some pretty amazing things to see in Idaho.

We have a canyon so deep and dark that the the Devil himself claims it as his own. A river so wild it doesn’t have a return address.

Ten foot long – 100 year-old fish, Sahara-like sand dunes, the most inaccessible wilderness in the lower 48, seagoing ships that tie-up at our docks, even land bordering on a mysterious foreign country (that’s probably a bit of a stretch).

We have picturesque waterfalls higher than Niagara Falls, towering forests, the largest diamond ever found in America, we have a cave with man-made artifacts that are 14,500 years old, the tallest dam in the Western Hemisphere. And that’s only just a sampling.

I was backpacking through the middle east a few years ago and met an excited native in the hinterlands of Turkey. He thrillingly told me of a famous hot spring. It is called Pamukkale and people from all over the world go there to soak their bones. It’s believed to have significant medicinal benefits.

It reminded me of a place near and dear to my heart: Lava Hot Springs. We need to start a rumor that Lava also has magical medical benefits (maybe it cures leprosy). Why you ask? Because the Lava Foundation is owned by the state of Idaho. Which means that as a resident of this fair state you are part owner. Even though you are part owner, they still charge you an entrance fee because it is all self-funded. They receive no funding from the state. Everything they build or maintain is from revenue they generate.

Back in 1902 Lava was part of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. The boundaries were realigned and the state decided that it was such a magical place they wanted to maintain ownership. They created a foundation and the rest is history. The foundation is responsible for 178 acres. It’s the only state owned pool in Idaho. Mark Lowe, an imminently competent man, has been successfully managing our foundation for 17 years, but sadly, he is retiring.

These enchanting waters flow out of the ground at 112 degrees and an astounding 2 ½ million gallons a day; 100,000 gallons an hour (that’s a lot of water). It heats the pools, the sidewalks, and the buildings. If you like warm soaks, but are a bit neurotic, like myself, and are squeamish about a hot tub where you feel like the goal is stew; Lava is your place. Every moment fresh, hot, sparkling clean water is washing over you. It’s always clean and always pure.

Did you know that you can rent the pools in the off hours for yourself? What a great block or family party as a perfect winter break. It is only $130 per hour (two hour minimum). Each family could throw in a few bucks and you have a world class facility all to yourself!

Idaho; an amazing state.

So whether you are visiting lizard or Lava, take some time to discover this astonishing place where we are blessed to live.

After all, that’s why we left Kansas.

Thanks for reading!

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