Now that my grandma moved to Idaho, I've had a few chances to visit this often overlooked state. They call it the gemstone state, and it certainly has a few hidden gems when it comes to places to visit.
With no real expectations, I set out to Idaho this spring with a spirit of discovery. I knew there had to be some fun sites to see so I chose a few that stood at as being both accessible and exciting.
The first big discovery, or perhaps rediscovery, would be Shoshone Falls at Twin Falls, Idaho. I had stopped here briefly on my last trip to visit my grandma during Christmas, but with the nice spring weather I was able to hike to the various viewing platforms and circle around the nearby lakes.
At first glance, it’s easy to feel the splendor and scale of the falls and river below. Cliffs hundreds of feet tall made me glad for a few sturdy guard rails to hold while I snapped your photos. The rough volcanic rock felt so foreign compared to the familiar granite or sandstone of Utah, and the vultures circling around the cliffs made it seem like sky and earth were linked.
I visited three more places while near Boise. The first was the botanical gardens by the old penitentiary. My favorite thing here was the labryinth of grass and stone pathways. It was simple, yet fun and relaxing to tread the paths to the center. The other plants and trees were nice, particularly the early blooming flowers, but I’m sure the gardens would be even more magnificent a bit later in the year (and on a warmer and less windy day).
Boise is also home to the Peregrine Fund’s World Birds of Prey Center. It’s not a particularly large place, but the bird show and knowledgable experts made it a lot of fun to see. Each admission fee goes to help support the breeding and reintroduction of many magnificent species of raptors back into the wild.
The final place I visited while there was the Deer Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge borders the large reservoir there, so there’s plenty of wildlife to see. The osprey was tucked into its nest and I startled a heron in the grasses, but luckily it stayed close enough for a few pictures later.
Idaho may seem like a sagebrush covered desert, but if you look a little further, you can see the wonderful birds, plants, and geology there like I did. Since it’s a place with much less publicity and fame than other places, it takes a spirit of discovery to find the hidden gems of the gemstone state.
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