If adventure is calling your name, consider answering it in Idaho. Not only is the area beautiful, and full of some of the most amazing nature, fishing, camping, and outdoor activities you can imagine, but the people are unmatched in friendliness and hospitality.
When I landed in Boise, I actually had “culture shock” if that’s possible. Flying in from a city voted “America’s Unfriendliest”- yes, that’s a thing, and yes, that’s where we live- we landed in a place where people were so nice I wondered what they were up to. For almost a full day, I was “watching my back” as people asked how I was, then waited for the answer. Said excuse me if they bumped into me, moved out of the way if we were about to walk into each other, smiled, waved- you know, acted nicely? What was THAT all about?
Well, as soon as I got used to “that” kind of crazy behavior, I found myself smiling for no reason at all, talking to strangers about nothing in particular. My son asked me “what was wrong with me”. I had been infected by Idaho…
In Horseshoe Bend, on our way out to a rafting trip, I met a couple from San Francisco who had recently moved to the area. We were chatting about how laid back it was in Idaho, and I mentioned how silly I was to act like people were up to no good because they were being nice- and then their eyes got wide, they shook their heads knowingly, and said “YES! Then you feel like a jerk for not trusting people for acting politely!” and we laughed, because it was true. Us strange city people.
Not only were we mentally relaxed thanks to the good people of the state, but the beautiful surroundings didn’t hurt. The majestic views on pretty much all sides of HorseShoe Bend (about halfway between Boise and McCall) were startling- pristine, wide open, and worth the trek out. Being centrally located between two must-see tourist stops for the states didn’t hurt, either. As we pulled up to the Cascade Raft and Kayak center, where we would be taking our tour from, there were few other buildings around, but there was plenty to see and do.
We “geared up”- bathing suits and shorts on, water shoes (provided if you don’t have any), life vests, and paddles completed our outfits. We loaded up on buses and headed out onto the river, which was a three hour, two and three class rapid river adventure suitable for most ages. Not only was there plenty of fun rapids to navigate (with the help of your tour guide, one per boat) but there was also plenty of time for just floating, or jumping out of the raft and swimming if you would like to. (There are full day options available, as well as class four and five rapids for adults or more experienced rafters). My 7 year old son and I had an amazing time, and we plan to go again the next time that we are in the area.
You can bring a waterproof camera (which I recommend) and also purchase photos of your trip when you get back to the center. A professional photographer is on hand to capture the moments that you will want to cherish forever, and you will want to remember this trip.
Disclosure: I received press passes in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and honest.