Quick anecdote: I actually named this blog before I ever watched a single episode of Parks and Rec. I have since seen the light and watched an average of one episode per day so I will do my best not to quote it in every single blogpost BUT this one actually relates to what I’m talking about!
We recently took a weeklong trip out to the Rocky’s to do Glacier, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. We flew into Boise because flights and rental cars were cheapest and we lucked out because one of my best friends happened to be living there for the summer doing a dig and we got to hang out with him for a night and he showed us some of Idaho’s hidden beauty! We expected Idaho to just be a landing place that we drove through on our way to the real reason we were there, but we were blown away by how amazing it was!
So long story short, I decided to throw all of our Idaho adventures and pictures into one blogpost. Because as the amazing Ben Wyatt once said: “Idaho is basically one giant park.”
We booked an AirBNB for our first night so we could get some rest and shower and prepare for our week in the wilderness. Our first day there ended up being quite the adventure though. Our flight had stops in Kansas City and Denver, and because the Idaho panhandle is in the Pacific timezone we stepped foot in all four time zones in the contiguous United States in one day. How many people can say that?
All this traveling West also meant that we were awake for 24 hours straight since we were running from the sun the entire day. Probably not the smartest way to start a jampacked trip, but it was an incredible day!
Our AirBNB was in Moscow, (pronounced Moss-Koe) Idaho, home of the University of Idaho. Luckily for us, our friend Brendan was living in Cottonwood, directly between Boise (pronounced Boy-See by the way!) and Moscow.
We stopped in the adorable vacation town of McCall for dinner on the way.
It was right on the water and a beautiful small town. And we got elk sausage pizza!
From there, we got on state highway 95, which honestly I’m still dreaming about! I’m not even being dramatic; it was one of (if not) THE most beautiful drives I’ve ever done in my life. I want to scope out the real estate in every tiny town we passed because I want to be there forever. I couldn’t even possibly capture it on camera but we did get a few good pics of the ride.
But these pictures don’t even capture the beauty of the mountain we climbed and came back down. It was incredible. We followed the Salmon River almost the entire time. I’m rambling but I cannot wait to go back!
After our drive we met up with Brendan at a supermarket in Cottonwood (one of the few places we actually had cell service) and then he led us down into the canyon.
The setting sun glowing off the mountains lit them up in an incredible gold color. It’s crazy to think that the sun was just then setting! We had been awake since 4am Boston time and it was now almost midnight in Boston.
We explored his dig site and I captured one of my favorite pictures of the entire trip.
The colors were unreal.
And the air was so dry! I’ve said this to everyone I’ve talked to since the trip but I’ll say it again here. My hair got greasier in 12 hours being back in Boston than the 5 days I went without washing it in the Rocky’s. The mountain air is just so dry and wonderful! I didn’t even care that it was 90+ degrees the entire time because it wasn’t humid at all.
Unfortunately this dry air can lead to a lot of wildfires. We were pumped because it made starting fires so easy for us while camping but it can also lead to a lot of problems. We saw it first that night in Idaho when we could see the burnings of a brush fire up over the canyon. It was absolutely stunning but still a little scary.
The sunset was incredible but most of that glowing is from the fire. Crazy!
Brendan suggested we take a dip in the river before we had to head on to our final destination and gave us the option of a swimming hole or jumping off some tall rocks. Want to guess which one I chose?
It was so much fun!
But also very cold!
But as I said, we had to make it to our AirBNB before it was too late so we said goodbye.
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing canyon life with us, Brendan! It was so great to see you and we cannot wait to come back!
It was another couple of hours to Moscow so we didn’t get there until after 11pm. But we had heard so many great things about Moscow that we had to check it out, regardless of how tired we were. So we went walking around and it was a great little college town. We got amazing pastrami bagel sandwiches at Moscow Bagel & Deli which is open until 3am even during the summer! We then HAD to go to the Corner Club to get really cheap “tubs” of beer. It brought us back to our days at the Sil in Allston.
At this point though we had been awake for 24 hours and it was time to sleep and prepare for the week!
The next morning we took our time and drove through the University of Idaho and up through the Palouse. If you don’t know what the Palouse are, they’re the green rolling hills of the Idaho panhandle and Eastern Washington.
They were crazy beautiful and we took the long way around to drive right through the heart of them.
Our last stop was in Coeur d’Alene on our way into Montana. It was a great little beach town on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, a huge lake that I-90 follows for awhile on the way into Montana.
We got some beer and good eats and reluctantly left the state we had fallen in love with immediately.
But don’t worry! We had to come back through before the Tetons. As amazing as the panhandle was, one of my favorite parts of Idaho was coming around a bend in the road and seeing the Tetons for the first time.
I will obviously have a separate post for Grand Teton National Park, but I have wanted to see that skyline for so long, and finally and unexpectedly seeing it for the first time was amazing. I freaked out and hit James on the arm many, many times.
It was also this part of Idaho that James finally got his potato.
Look at the size of that thing? Could Idaho get anymore perfect??
We got to enjoy Idaho one last time on our final drive from Yellowstone back to Boise Airport. It was the only time our entire trip that it rained. Idaho was just crying to see us leave. Same.
We had to make one last stop at Boise State to see the blue field.
Don’t worry, Idaho, we will back just as soon as we possibly can!