A Few Days in Idaho


Last week a first happened for me, a change, but a good change I think. I got let go from my job.

Besides money, and the next phase of my career, one of the first things my mind went to was travel. Now I have a little time, where can I go? My mother is temporarily working as a nurse just outside of Boise, Idaho. I looked up the distance from my home in Portland, and the 6 hour drive to visit her seemed like a sound idea. 

All along I-84, the drive from Portland to Boise takes you through a changing landscape of North and Northeastern Oregon. The first part goes through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, as trees turn into wind turbines on sage cover hills.

When I-84 starts to break south, away from the Columbia River, the landscape goes flat. After Pendleton Oregon, you get into the hills again. The bareness turns to trees again, and you see snowcapped mountains in your view. The Wallowas to the North and the Whitman National Forest to the South. After a few more high dessert hills, covered with yellow Balsamroot flowers, you dip into Idaho and Boise is just under an hour from the border. 

I heard that their are a handful of hot springs not far from Boise, so I did a little research and found a few. We ended up deciding to go to one of the closer ones. Only an hours drive from Boise. The hot spring we decided to check out is called Skinny Dipper. Despite the name, everyone was in suits. There were two main tubes, the top one's temperature can be controlled by a facet. Our visit on this April day was clear and a little sunny, with wild flowers galore on the trail and around the springs. 

Directions to Skinny Dipper Hot Springs. 

• From Boise take Hwy 55 N. 

• Take a right on Hwy 17 (Caldman-Banks Hwy)

• At mile marker 4, you will see a pull off to the right along the river, park there. 

• Across from the parking lot there will be a trail head. The hike is about a half mile with steep switch backs. 

Our day in Boise started off at probably the best bakery in town, JanJou. It's a french bakery with fantastic croissants and espresso based drinks. All their desserts also looked delicious. After a little snack and fuel, we headed to the Boise Botanical Garden. It sits at the edge of the city center along a hill. In Boise the highlight was probably Bleubird (pictured below). We went for lunch, and had a delicious sandwich and salad. Their homemade sodas (I got pomegranate sage) were also quite good. 

It was great to see my mom, and check out some new places. Now I am back in Portland, sprucing up my resume and waiting for this rain to end.