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One thing’s for sure: there’s a lot more to Idaho than just potatoes. The state’s land mass stretches from Canada to the Nevada border, and within those boundaries exists virtually every type of terrain; the north part consists of rolling green hills, tree-covered mountains, and clear, unspoiled lakes. The central section holds rock and mountain climbing opportunities, with vast ranges of jagged peaks to be conquered, while the southern part of the state offers unobstructed views of open vistas and developed farmland. If you’re looking for a down-to-earth place to escape to, Idaho may be just what you’re looking for.
Our origin point of Boise is a metropolitan city that manages to retain an unassuming charm. We can browse through the antique shops or enjoy her parks, catch a play at the local community theater, or tour through the art galleries and museums. Several highly-rated golf courses are available in and around Boise, and there are ample opportunities to go rock climbing in the nearby mountains, or go shooting down any of the whitewater rivers in a kayak. One good way to see Idaho is from the air, in a hot air balloon. It’s a view enjoyed only by those with wings.
Heading north on Highway 55, we enjoy a journey through Idaho’s scenic country. This leg of the trip runs a little less than a hundred miles, and we can pull over to stretch our legs in the town of McCall. Originally a logging town, McCall is now the featured destination for skiers and snowboarders from all around. There are plenty of places to pull over and hook up our RV, which makes McCall a cool place to spend a couple of days.
If we plan our trip in late January or early February, we can enjoy the 10-day Winter Carnival, which draws artists and winter sports fans with its trademark wacky showmanship exhibitions. The spring and summer are fine seasons to enjoy water activities on nearby Payette Lake; boating and water-skiing are among the most popular pursuits, but the local wilderness also beckons to those who enjoy a good workout in the form of a day hike. Local stables provide us with the chance to go horseback riding, if that’s our taste. Just bring a few apples to keep our equestrian friends happy.
The Payette River is a must-stop spot for those with a taste for whitewater rafting. The rivers in the area have been rated class-3 and -4, which are for the experienced adrenaline seeker. For those who seek calmer waters, there are several areas on each river that offer a tamer whitewater experience. Be sure to inquire of the local guides which areas are which before setting out.
Leaving McCall via Highway 55 north, we soon merge with the northbound Highway 95, which takes us 160 miles into our final stop of Lewiston. The city rests at the union of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers, and was named after famous explorer Lewis, of Lewis & Clark fame. As such, there are several places in town devoted to the expeditions of these gentlemen, one such being the Lewis-Clark Center for Arts and History and another being the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. We can also enjoy more whitewater adventuring down the Snake River, or take a short drive to nearby Clarkston, where we can experience Hell’s Canyon. At 7,900 feet, it’s the world’s deepest gorge and the Hell’s Canyon Dam is a massive feat of engineering that rests on the Idaho-Oregon border. The panoramic view from the dam is one not to be forgotten, and shouldn’t be missed.
For those of us who enjoy the rugged outdoors, Idaho is a perfect destination. Many of us return year after year, but in a different season, just to enjoy the many varied experiences this undiscovered vacation paradise has to offer. Once you’ve visited, you may be tempted to do the same!