Thursday, July 21, 2016

Whoa baby! Here comes the heat! Here are 14 tips on how to stay cool close to home

Redfish Lake always will cool you off. Hard to get a campsite sometimes, tho ... 
Lucky Peak will be busy ... 
Salmon River beach scene! Can't beat it! 
Climb a mountain peak in the rooftop of Idaho! Wendy at the top
of Beaver Dam Peak in the Payette National Forest  
Go rafting on the Payette River! 
Hi all,

Well, we knew the triple-digits were coming, it was just a matter of when. And here they come!

Next week, I'll be on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River to stay cool. But for the rest of you, here are 14 recommendations on how to stay cool:
  • Start super early if you'd like to go hiking, biking or trail-running in the Boise Foothills. That means get out before 7 a.m. 
  • Go to Bogus Basin and start your hiking, trail-running or biking trip up there. It should be 15 degrees cooler. Hike or ride the Around the Mountain Trail, Eastside or Sweet Connie. Don't forget that Bogus is running the Deer Point Chairlift on weekends, and they also have food and beverage services and live music.  
  • Float the Boise River - Put on plenty of sunscreen, wear a big goofy hat, and float the Boise River with your friends and family. See info. at Ada County Parks & Waterways. Take your time, hang out by the water and stay cool. 
  • Find a hidey-hole along the Boise River, set up your lawn chair, take a swim and hang out in the shade. 
  • Go swimming, tubing or water-skiing at Lucky Peak, Arrowrock or Anderson Ranch
  • Go swimming or SUP'ing at a local park or pond. See Boise Parks & Recreation for ideas close to home. 
  • Hire a guide or rent a boat and go float the Payette River. The Main Payette River from Banks to Beehive Bend is best for those breaking into the sport. If you'd like to crank up the adrenaline meter and float the South Fork, put a bunch of friends together and hire a guided service. Bear ValleyCascade Raft and Kayak, and Idaho Whitewater Unlimited all provide quality guided trips on the Payette River.
  • Go swimming or SUP'ing at a local park or pond. See Boise Parks & Recreation for ideas close to home. 
  • Go camping, fishing, swimming, water-skiing or SUP'ing at Lake Cascade State Park in Cascade or Donnelly.
  • Go swimming, tubing, surfing or water-skiing on Payette Lake. Find a place to stay overnight in McCall or go camping in the Payette National Forest. 
  • Go camping, fishing, swimming or SUP'ing at Redfish Lake or Stanley Lake in the Sawtooths. Go to recreation.gov to make reservations.   
  • Drive to Riggins and hang out on a big beach on the Salmon River. Go swimming, camping and fishing. Get there early. There will be competition for the primo camping spots.  
  • Plan a personal trip on the Salmon River or book a trip with an outfitter, if you don't have your own gear. Here's a few notes from my trip last year on the Salmon. It's a trip-of-a-lifetime to vacation for a week on the Salmon River, but since we live in Idaho, we can do it every year! 
  • Backpack or day hike into a high mountain lake and stay cool in the alpine forest environment. See my blog about five of my favorite kid-friendly hikes near Stanley and McCall for ideas. 
There you have it! Have fun!
- SS 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two paddling adventures suitable for Idaho bucket list - 1000 Springs & Shoshone Falls

Photos courtesy VisitIdaho 
Taking off from Centennial Park toward Shoshone Falls 
Hi all,

I've been exploring the Southern Idaho region more than usual this year, working on Southern Idaho Tourism for Carew & Co., a really great Boise ad agency. I've been posting items on social media, blogging and shooting photos and video for content posted on VisitSouthIdaho.com.

Along the way, I've been touting two paddling trips in the region that are really world-class adventures because of the scenery and surroundings:

1. Paddling from Centennial Park in Twin Falls to the base of Shoshone Falls, a 4-mile trip one way.
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2. Doing a loop around Ritter Island below the rushing water of Thousand Springs, pouring from the Snake River cliffs above. 2-mile loop

Now that we're in mid-summer, it's prime time for paddling adventures! In terms of crafts, these trips are best suited for Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP), sit-on-top hard-shell kayaks, canoes or inflatable kayaks. In fact, these trips are perfect for them!

You can take your own gear down there, or rent stuff in Hagerman at Hagerman Valley Sports & Merc (for Thousand Springs tour), or at Centennial Park in Twin Falls for the trip to Shoshone Falls. Idaho Guide Service provides guided tours to Shoshone Falls with lunch. The cool thing about renting watercraft from AWOL Adventure Sports at Centennial Park is it's very handy. You just show up, rent your gear and go! Prices are very reasonable - $20 to $45, depending on craft.

They'll tell you how to portage Pillar Falls (two miles toward the falls) and what to expect on your journey to Shoshone Falls. Most of the time, you'll encounter a west wind on the way back. Just remember that for travel time. Bring plenty of food and drink to enjoy the day.

The big highlight of the trip is to hang out below Shoshone Falls and take in the roaring water from river level, hearing the sound of nature pounding on the water and mist rising into the sun's rays, sometimes forming rainbows.

Here's an informative blog post about the paddling trip to Shoshone Falls, titled "Hiking on Water to Shoshone Falls" by Justin Fricke, published by VisitIdaho. And here's a May post that I penned about Paddling the Snake.

For the Ritter Island Tour, travel to Thousand Springs State Park, east of Hagerman, on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway. There are detailed maps on the state park web site. You can tour the Minnie Miller dairy barn while you're there, and hike around the island, if you wish (2 mile trail). Launch your boat on the Thousand Springs channel near the entrance to the park, and then paddle out to the Snake River, go downstream to the bottom toe of the island, and paddle back around the Thousand Springs channel. Do as many loops as you want!

Paddling in channel below Thousand Springs 
While you're in the neighborhood, I recommend the Twin Falls Sandwich Company in downtown Twin Falls for lunch, Elevation 486 for a top-shelf dinner with a stupendous view of the Snake River canyon, and the Snake River Grill in Hagerman for a delicious fish dinner or your choosing.

For lodging, you can find an RV campground in the area or book at hotel room.

Have a great time!
- SS

Friday, July 1, 2016

While I'm on vacation, some outdoorsy ideas for July adventures

Hi all,

I'll be on vacation during the week of the 4th of July, and so I looked back in my archives for some ideas to share for the coming week ...

Have fun!
- SS