Southern Idaho in Photos
It was a spur of the moment, decade-old friendship, reunion at what I determined to be the state midpoint between California and Oregon. After an ice rescue in the Sawtooth Mountains, accidental submersion in the Boise Greenbelt, four traffic stops and three speeding tickets later, I turned to my friend and asked ‘So, what do we think of Idaho?’
He paused for a moment before answering. ‘It definitely has its own thing, I’m not quite sure what that is yet.’ While the traffic fines probably soured him on the state, I understood.
Idaho is full of contradictions. Wealthy winterers in Sun Valley rub shoulders with cattle ranchers, steel string guitarists, and cowboys. And the developed centers are filled with idiosyncrasies. The state capital boasts alternatingly vague and so self-evident as to be insulting neon signs like “free smells” or Library!” that rest in, if not aesthetic then, tolerant harmony with the hundred-year old saloon lines of a beloved pioneer past. The Greenbelt, one of Boise’s most beloved parks, is quite literally a high plain desert river lined with trees.
So much of the natural beauty is unsuspecting. Each of its neighbors, from Oregon to Montana to Wyoming, boast at least one designated national park within their borders. By comparison, Idaho is seemingly uninteresting. Yet the state holds some of the most beautiful and diverse wilderness from temperate rainforests at the northern border of the panhandle to sandy deserts in the south.
Even in my own contained visit, I witnessed impressive landscapes that alternated between vast prairies, hot spring canyons, waterfalls, snow capped mountain ridges, and ancient lava flows. Without my own pre-planning, I would have never realized a vast birds of prey conservation site or a natural waterfall-split city larger than Niagara Falls was hiding just off a two-lane highway turnout.
One thing that is without caveat: Idaho is is beautiful and supremely underrated.