.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

Don’t forget to stop at Twin Falls

Don’t forget to stop at Twin Falls

Most travelers seem in a big hurry to complete their drive on I-84, through the lava fields of the Snake River Plain.  Their destinations are often Boise to the north, Yellowstone National Park to the east or Salt Lake City to the south.  I’d encourage people to slow down and use Twin Falls as their base of operation if they want to explore places in south-central Idaho like Craters of the Moon National Monument or the Sun Valley area.

Twin Falls is a small, clean neat city — typical of so many in the heartland.  It provides very reasonably priced services to travelers (a large …

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

In Hemingway’s footsteps: Ketchum and Sun Valley

In Hemingway’s footsteps — Ketchum and Sun Valley

As we drive north from Twin Falls, through the lava fields, farms and sage, I take in the majestic mountains up ahead as they emerge from the clouds.  It’s easy to see why this area had a special place in ‘Papa’ Hemingway’s heart, and why he had chosen this as his final home…it would hard to find a better setting.

I’d first heard of the adjoining twin towns of Sun Valley & Ketchum when reading about one of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway was a complicated individual but an extremely talented writer.  A man who lived life to the fullest in almost every way — manly outdoor adventure, partying, drinking, and writing about these experiences in …

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Sometimes as I reflect on my travels, trends stand out that I might otherwise never have noticed.  For example, I’d not have thought myself unusually interested in volcanoes or lava, but in the past year I’ve visited three locations rich in recent volcanic history — Iceland, the Big Island of Hawaii and now the Snake River Plain in Southern Idaho.  So at some subconscious level I must be deeply fascinated by volcanism and lava flows.

Idaho is a state rich in natural beauty and is one of my favorite places to explore.  It’s a mountainous land (home of its big timber business) with several grand lakes and fertile plains (where all those big potatoes are grown).   This …

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

Wallace, Idaho: Center of the Universe!?!

Wallace, Idaho — Center of the Universe!!

I’ve driven past the picturesque town of Wallace (population 784), nestled in the Idaho Panhandle’s Silver Valley at around 2700′, many times and had always been drawn to the historic buildings and beautiful setting.  I remember telling my wife that someday we needed to exit and explore the town.  We finally booked a room at the historic Jameson Inn in Wallace and were anxious to visit and explore this small but historic town.

Wallace was born during a mining boom and mining still is important to the economy.  Silver was discovered near Wallace in 1884, bringing in hordes of prospectors and the expected secondary tide of merchants, saloon-keepers, bandits and brothels.  By the …

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The Bald Eagles of Lake Couer d’Alene

The Bald Eagles of Lake Couer d’Alene

I live in eastern Washington state, less than an hour’s drive from the Idaho Panhandle, an area I think is one of the prettiest in these United States.  There are three huge natural lakes nearby in the Panhandle — Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille and Lake Couer d’Alene.  All are great tourist destinations, especially in the summer when the weather is warm and dry, providing great recreational opportunities including boating, water-skiing, fishing and kayaking.

Every year between mid-November and mid-January there’s a migration of bald eagles to Lake Couer d’Alene from northern Idaho and the Canadian Rockies (numbering a record 250 eagles this …

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

A Colorful Fall Hike to Blossom Lake

A Colorful Fall Hike to Blossom Lake

Blossom Lakes are located on the Idaho/ Montana divide, just off the Thompson Pass highway (between Murray, Idaho and Thompson Falls, Montana).  There’s an Upper and Lower Blossom Lake and we’d heard this was a good place for a day hike (or short backpacking trip).  So on a nice fall day four of us — friends Greg and Oscar; wife Sylvia and your humble correspondent — left Spokane for a pleasant drive through the beautiful landscape of the Idaho panhandle.  The road leading to the trail head is paved, of good quality and not very busy, every corner yielding another beautiful vista.  There’s a large parking area at the trail head located …

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.All Trips / Idaho / North America / Pacific Northwest

Stevens Lake — A Hidden Gem in the Bitterroots

Stevens Lake — A Hidden Gem in the Bitterroots

I love the sight of a sub-alpine lake set in a beautiful mountain range about as much as anything!.  In this regard, Stevens Lake certainly does not disappoint.  Its a great destination for a day hike or a weekend backpacking trip.

When Northwesterners talk about “Stevens Lake” we’re actually talking about two adjoining lakes (Upper and Lower Stevens Lake).  These are located in the Idaho Panhandle just this side of the Montana border, not far from Lookout Pass, close to Mullan.  The trail head is close to I-90 and located around 4000′ above sea level.

The trail works itself through a fairly steep forested hill before opening onto a fairly flat and pretty meadow.   At the far south …

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