Yes, I am. I am over the moon for Idaho. Idaho was coined the ‘Gem State’ for good reason. It is loaded with thousands of incredible treasures, including some of my favorite people and memories. I am just a sucker for it.
Most of Idaho (especially southern Idaho) is dry and arid. One could find plenty of sage brush and farm fields to last a lifetime. Idaho even hosts America’s favorite comfort food; semi trucks and train carts exporting the famous Idaho ‘spud’ from door to door daily. It’s pretty awesome and we were tickled to finally arrive. We snuck in on the eastern side near Victor, and after mountain biking our brains out, we headed straight for Rupert – my hometown and where most of my family lives today. I love Rupert. It is not at all quaint, but it is home. It is cozy and familiar. Whenever we visit, we are always greeted with big hugs and to-die-for breakfast burritos. In fact, food is usually the main topic of discussion. ‘Are you hungry?’ ‘What should we have for dinner?’ ‘Let’s have this or let’s bake that.’ ‘Should we grill?’ It’s ongoing and it’s wonderful.
Our stay in Rupert was nice. My brothers came over every evening for campfire stories and of course, all you can eat dinners. We snuck in block walks, the London Olympics, animal watching at the Minidoka County Fair, niece time, a game of bocci, and an afternoon of chores. We stocked up on fresh groceries (and leftovers) and enjoyed a mega bus-cleaning party. I must say, Vincent is looking rather dapper.
The latter part of the week had us traveling toward the Hailey/Ketchum/Sun Valley area. Ethan has applied for an Avalanche Forecasting position in Ketchum and because he has never been, I felt it my duty to give him a tour. We strolled through each town, walking shoulder to shoulder discussing the possibilities and what-ifs of moving, jobs, and living in Idaho. Of course, this conversation doesn’t happen without sampling some of the climbing in the area, too. Winding down Deer Creek Road we found some of the best camping of the trip. Crystal clear streams, plenty of tree coverage, cool breezes, and a picnic table (all for free). The climbing wasn’t nearly as good as the camp site, but after a two week hiatus, climbing on chossy limestone was just what we needed.
Beers with Blase, the Lead Forecaster of the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center, made for another awesome night in Blaine County. Frosty beverages came sweeping across the table at Powerhouse, Hailey’s funkiest and delicious bike and bar shop. Our meeting lasted well over two hours and after bidding adieu to Blase, we topped the night off with a large basket of Idaho fries, a goat cheese oat burger, a grass-fed beef burger loaded with sautéed veggies, and a mega high five. And if that didn’t make your mouth water, fresh Idaho brews will.
That very evening, we got word that Cedar Creek, a high-alpine climbing crag tucked in the shadows of Mt. Borah (Idaho’s tallest peak), has some amazing routes and could quite possibly be Idaho’s best kept climbing secret. Our fingers itching with excitement, we couldn’t resist. We just had to check it out.
The hike in was stunning and on par with that of Tuolumne Meadows. The newly developed cattle trail and cairns led us through open sage fields, zig-zagging us between fragrant juniper trees and pine. Nearby, a creek of icy mountain water flowed loudly over rock boulders and between grassy patches. Mother Nature was definitely saying ‘hello’.
An hour or so later, we were kindly greeted by the best limestone we’ve ever climbed on. Cedar Creek only has 30 routes, but each with unique movement and beauty all their own. We spent two days at this fine crag, ticking off route after route. I was able to flash my first 11a and E onsighted multiple 11s with a pain-free finger! The rock heroes, legends and climbing gods were definitely looking out for us, and like us, I bet they liked Idaho, too.
Our IDadventures didn’t end there. A pit-stop at Craters was a must… and a new tat for Vincent, too.
A frosty beverage, accompanied by dinner and family time was the perfect way to wind down after three very stimulating days. I love it here.
I am just a sucker for it.