My Favorite Hikes in Idaho

Heyyyyyy youuuuu guyyyyyssssss (said like Sloth from the Goonies obviously).

Ah what a great movie, it’s actually my favorite of all time fun fact. If you haven’t seen it you must stop what you are doing and go watch it because honestly we can’t even be friends if you haven’t.

Okay today’s post is another Idaho adventure planning one for you guys because well it’s my blog and I’ll post whatever I want to… and because it’s basically the only place I’ve been outside of my bedroom since March.

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I’m one of those people who both loves and loathes hiking. I like the idea of it, I like when I’m done and can say woah I did that but the whole middle of actually doing it is quite hard for me. I love using AllTrails because I can get a better idea of all the levels of hikers using the different trails I research. Plus it’s great that nearly every time the map takes you right to the trail heads. I actually may like researching hikes on AllTrails more than I like the hiking… kidding, but not really.  I promise my reviews are always brutally honest so without further ado let me present some of my favorite hikes in the Boise/McCall area…

Cervidae Peak: Boise, Idaho

4.5 Miles Out/Back

“Alex asked “have you come up with your AllTrails review yet?

And I said “Yes, they say there are rattlesnakes on the trial. At first you’re scared but eventually you start hoping one comes along and puts you out of your misery.”

Just kidding. Kind of.”

Woof. This b#$%@. This is the hardest hike I’ve done in Boise and maybe one of the toughest I’ve done ever. You gain a little less than 2,000 feet of elevation and follow a ridge up and down a pretty narrow path overlooking Lucky Peak Reservoir and multiple other mountains in the distance. Every single step is more gorgeous than the last and no matter what direction you look there is a beautiful view that makes it hard to believe the trail head is less than 20 miles from downtown Boise. It is incredibly steep and much of it is loose gravel which makes for a tough hike up but what makes it truly one of the hardest I’ve done is going back down. I highly recommend trekking poles for balance and to maintain footing. There is literally NO shade so if you’re going in the summer go early and bring lots of water! I wouldn’t do this hike if it was more than 80 degrees out because you truly are exposed. It does get windy up there though so bring an extra layer! We did it on a week day so I don’t know how busy it gets on the weekends but the parking lot is not very big so keep that in mind.

It was the first hike in a long time where I finished it and literally couldn’t believe I got to the top, it was incredibly rewarding! I would highly recommend but I would probably go on a few hikes before you do this one to prepare haha

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Adelmann Mine Trail: Boise, Idaho

4.7 Miles Out/Back

“It was 90 degrees and everyone else was boating but we don’t have a boat so we had to go hiking (not my logic).

The crickets and beetles were bigger than my hands which swelled up so bad I couldn’t get my rings off for hours. 

Absolutely no shade so if fine Irish skin is involved, beware! 

Would only recommend if you are promised ice cream after.”

I started with the hard but now we move onto a more moderate option for hiking in the Boise area. This hike is in the same Lucky Peak Reservoir area about 20 miles from downtown but it’s trail head is very deceiving. It looks like a private driveway with a big gate and everything but that’s the parking lot. Maybe only 5 spaces so not many people on the trail at any given time which is nice. There isn’t much shade so I wouldn’t go on a 90 degree day like we did nor would I go past 10/11 am on a summer day but we are dumb. The first mile isn’t too steep but it definitely starts getting steep after that. This hike has 1,4000 feet of elevation gain so I’d put it on the harder side of moderate. I will admit I didn’t make it all the way to the mine because I was overheating but it did look really cool over that way and starts to be more of a tree-lined forest the closer you get. The views are pretty spectacular but not nearly as beautiful as Cervidae Peak if I’m being honest.

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Table Rock Trail: Boise, Idaho

3.7 Miles Out/Back

“I don’t really like this one.” 

Table Rock Trail is okay. I’m keeping it on the list because it’s the only one that’s truly not far from downtown Boise and I think it’s the most accessible for different levels of hikers that could be visiting. The reason I don’t love it is I think it’s super crowded, no shade but also not enough views to feel worth it. It takes a little over an hour to get to the top and is still a moderately steep trail but it isn’t terribly hard with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. If you want to hike in Boise to say you did, do this one. If you’ve got a car and time- do one of the first two I mentioned.

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Box Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

7.1 Miles Out/Back

“At one point I thought I was having a heart attack and then I found out I had only hiked a single mile.”

Once again starting with the hardest one I’ve done in the McCall area of Idaho but man was Box Lake beautiful. At 2,247 feet of elevation gain this beast is not an easy hike by any means. It’s actually listed as “hard” on AllTrails which you know means they aren’t lying. I swear some people are out here reviewing hikes like “17 miles, 90 degrees of steepness and no shade- easy 20 minute hike that I do every morning while carrying my 3 children and cooking a lasagna.” But I digress…

Box Lake is a tough first couple of miles of steep and then it flattens out a bit into this gorgeous meadow that makes you want to Julie Andrews on through it. Tons of wild flowers and beautiful mountain peaks to view along the way but once you see Box Lake itself the whole hike is worth it. We went last July and there wasn’t any snow but I do know they got a shit ton of snow this season so I’ve read the meadow is a big snowfield currently. Bring lots of water and a few snacks, we wish we would have brought a picnic lunch to have at the top so next time that’s definitely our plan. Trekking poles wouldn’t hurt but I didn’t personally use them so I don’t think you’d need them. The road up to the trail head is quite bendy and filled with pot holes, my little Civic would have been murdered so just keep that in mind when you go. I absolutely recommend this hike, it’s hard but it is beyond worth it when you get to the top.

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Louie Lake Trail: McCall, Idaho

2.6 Miles Out/Back

“Louie, Louie, oh no, you take me where you gotta go, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, baby”

Ah Louie Lake, such a fun little hike. This one is definitely used for lots of different activities like fishing and camping because you can drive up part of it to cut some of the hike off of if you’re carrying a bunch of stuff but we started at the first trail head each time we’ve done it. It’s not a very difficult hike at 813 feet of elevation gain though there are some parts more steep than others. It’s a wide trail in most places so it’s good for a larger group with mixed levels of ability. Once you get up to the lake it’s the most gorgeous clear blue water you’ve ever seen. We’ve done the hike in the dead of summer and in October when the snow started to fall and both were absolutely beautiful. If you want to do a shorter hike and are visiting the McCall area I would give this a 10/10 every single time. It’s one of my favorites of anywhere I’ve been!

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I plan on updating this post as I complete more hikes in Idaho but I truly hope you add a few of these should your travels take you to the Boise/McCall area.

Hiking has been such a difficult, rewarding, and most importantly fun hobby for me to get into over the last few years. Especially now when we all could use a little getting out of the house safely it’s been amazing for me to be able to hop on the trails and forget about how hard these last few months have been.

I’m also in the market for new hiking boots because I don’t love mine, not enough ankle support for these gams of mine so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments!

Happy Trails, Friends!

Love, Kari

 

5 Things to Do in: Boise, Idaho

Okay so let me preface this post by acknowledging how weird it is to post a “travel” type blog post in the midst of a pandemic. I understand that unless you are living around Boise, Idaho you are probably not rushing to get there anytime soon HOWEVER I cannot tell you how many people have asked for Idaho related posts and how dear to my heart it is. SO if you do live in Idaho maybe I give you an idea of something to do and if you don’t maybe this is inspiration for your future non-COVID related travels.

I spend a lot of time in Idaho because my fella’s parents live there. For the longest time while A and I have been long distance it was a mid-station for us (though from South Carolina to Northern California I’m not sure how much “mid” there was). To be honest it was basically it was a place to stay, explore and fall in love with in every season.

There is so much I love about Boise and Idaho in general that I’m going to need to break this shit up so take this as a first post but most definitely not the last centered around this hidden Gem (of a) State.

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With incredible hiking, golfing, and floating down the river on a hot summer day to snow tubing in the winter. Throw in it’s amazing restuartants, tons of shopping, and just generally interacting with the super nice Idahumans, my Boise suggestions list is a mile long but let’s just start with these 5 things.

1. Explore the Oregon Trial

While the Oregon Trail computer game (circa 1999 for me) was beyond brutal this walk is actually amazing. It’s a 2.8 mile trail set along the ridge to the east of the Boise Airport and provides amazing views of the foothills. It includes multiple overlooks and is very flat for anyone trying to get a little exercise while also learning about the history of the Oregon Trail and how it fits into Boise history. Visit the Oregon Trail Reserve here.

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2. Eat Boozy Ice Cream at The STIL.

Wait you have to card me? For ice cream? Where do I sign up? If you feel me on this let me lead you right to The STIL! With fun flavors like Licking the Spoon which lays heavy on brownie batter to Idaho Wilderness with lavender and berries (Idaho is known for it’s huckleberry flavored things) this place has a little bit of everything and let me just tell you, everything is delicious! We bought the Ed & Carl Take Reno which is a boozy honey bourbon option for the 21+ crew and it was amazing! Rich, creamy and yet not too strong that a non-bourbon lover like myself is still very happy with it. They also have ice cream flights with beer/wine pairings which I did not know when we went so I must return immediately to experience. The STIL has two open locations (one quite conveniently located not too far from the Oregon Trail Reserve mentioned above) and one downtown which both make for an excellent stop on your Boise adventure.

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3. Bike The Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is 25 miles long and covers SO MUCH OF THE CITY! It starts a little beyond the Oregon Trail Reserve, winding right through downtown and Boise State University’s campus (including the famous blue field) and all the way over to Garden City. This trail includes what’s called the “Ribbon of Jewels” which are parks named for various incredible women and their impact on the community. On a hot summer day you will find so many people wading in the water, floating the river and otherwise just enjoying the casual toe dip. Should you start over by the Oregon Trail Reserve you can take the trail for about 8-10 miles and bike right in front of the Capital building and into the vibrant downtown of Boise.

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4. Brewery Hop

Downtown Boise is filled with shops, restaurants and my some of the most beautiful murals by local artists. It’s also a little brewery haven and if you’ve just biked all this way you are probably ready for a cold brew or two. Disclaimer: there will never be a time where I don’t admit to the fact that I am a beer snob so let me be the first to say that Boise, Idaho CAN HANG. It’s actually hard to put this in one little paragraph because I have so many suggestions for breweries so I’m making this just a downtown specific post about 3 breweries. What a problem to have, narrowing it down to just 3 fun breweries within a mile and a half to spend a day at… I’m truly not sorry for us.

Boise Brewing is a community owned brewery which is pretty cool to learn about and how the brewery came to be so check that out on their website. If you go you have to taste their Jillijuice & Broad Street Blonde! Jillijuice is so delicious on draft, I get it pretty much anytime I see it.

Payette Brewing has probably my favorite tap room on this list, the space is big with both outdoor and indoor seating. They have an awesome partnership with local food trucks and of course the beers are amazing. Their Rustler IPA has the perfect amount of citrus that makes it perfect for a hot day!

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Cloud 9 Brewery is a bit further than the other two and located in a strip mall but don’t let that fool you, these beers are legit. I love the Double IPA which is so crisp and hoppy but maybe a bit too easy to drink. The Lemon Ginger Wheat is a fun summer drink to enjoy on their patio. Cloud 9 also has an awesome food menu if you need to fuel up after all this brewery hopping.

5. Shop at Mixed Greens

Did you even go to Boise if you didn’t bring back a souvenir?

I found this adorable little boutique on my first visit to Boise about 3 years ago and I go back every. single. time. I’m in town. It’s an awesome blend of local Idaho creatives and constantly rotating inventory that is in my opinion one of the best collections of curated pieces out there. From prints to jewelry, postcards to candles, home goods and lotions this boutique has a little bit of everything. Whenever I travel I look for these kinds of shops and honestly they are rarely as wonderful as Mixed Greens, it’s just the best.

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Shop This Card Here

 

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Shop this ‘Ho Mug Here
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Shop This Adorable Boise Print Here.

 

So there you have it, the first 5 things you absolutely must do in Boise, Idaho. If you still aren’t convinced that it must be part of your future travels wait til I post my restaurant and hiking guides.

Have you been to Boise?

Love, Kari

Friday Favorites (2)

Hello beautiful people, let’s get into some of my favorite things over this past week shall we?

First of all I just wanted to say the biggest congratulations to my wicked handsome, smart and thoughtful boyfriend for graduating at the top of his lineman program yesterday. I couldn’t be more proud of all of his hard work if I tried and I can’t wait to find out where this next chapter takes us!

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Now let’s talk “beauty”. As a completely obsessive Trader Joe’s shopper (there will be many a blog posts about this in the future- I literally have more tips and recs for TJ’s than probably anything else in my life) I love looking at their health & beauty section.

I once flew with a senior mama who told me the best thing I can do for myself is find some tea tree oil and a good hand cream. Tea tree oil to dab on your heels when you get to the hotel room because we have to wear heels and walk all over airports day in and day out.  The hand cream because airplanes are so dry, we wash our hands so often and the soap is the least moisturizing thing ever.

Senior Mama = “experienced” flight attendant, often has been flying “since before you were born” and potentially once shared a jumpseat with Jesus. They have a lot of opinions and rarely wear the uniform correctly however most are amazing and should be protected at all costs.

Insert Trader Joe’s Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream here. THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! It feels like you’re wearing L’Occtane but for a fraction of the price, I think it’s $4.99 in stores? There is no strong smell to it which I also like because I can’t handle my hands smelling like a baked good or something out of the produce section. I don’t have to re-apply every five seconds like with some hand creams but it also doesn’t leave my hands feeling greasy. This shit is legit, I swear. I probably own 5 tubes of it to keep in different bags, lunch box, my car etc. I even used to give it away to new flight attendants because I just knew they’d love it as much as I do (it’s TSA friendly).

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Another TJ’s beauty section find was this Nourish Antioxidant Facial Serum. I bought it three weeks ago when I got to Boise and realized I left my Vitamin C serum in Denver but didn’t want to go out and spend the hella bucks on a new one. At $9.99 I was very willing to take the loss on this and almost kind of assumed it would be a bust but I am so happy to report I was very wrong. I love how gentle and velvety it feels on my skin and so far I haven’t found it to be greasy or heavy at all. I put it on after I’ve cleansed and toned in the morning and right before I use my beloved GlowScreen tinted sunscreen. I have read reviews that it really helped with people with dark spots. So yeah if you’re in the market to try out a serum but don’t have the budget for some of the higher end products I’d suggest trying this as a start!

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And now for the Target beauty section because well it’s probably the only other place I’ve been besides the Trader Joe’s in 3 months. I honestly can’t remember where I found out about this Winky Lux Uni-Brow brow pencil but I am so glad I did. I have really jacked up eyebrows from years of over-plucking and taking a field hockey ball to the eye my junior year (screw you, St. Johnsbury). One section of my eyebrow literally just never grew back in which means I have to draw it in quite a bit. Finding a pencil that looks natural but doesn’t run when I sweat or it rains has been a real mission so I’m wildly impressed with this Winky Lux one because it just doesn’t move! I actively part my hair to cover the shitty eyebrow (and didn’t do a great job of filling them in before I took this photo but still you can see it’s a good “natural” color).

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Seriously the quality of this brow pencil is the best I’ve used by far plus I love when brow pencils have the spooley tip to brush on the opposite end. If you have really light eyebrows this pencil may not be for you as it is a “universal shade” but I think otherwise it’s a pretty well matched color for most people. I believe it’s $16 so it’s not exactly cheap but compared to the likes of Anastasia and Urban Decay being closer to the $30 mark I think it’s a steal. I will say if $16 is still too high for your budget the NYX Micro-Brow pencil is my favorite in the less than $10 range. You can find Winky Lux at Ulta and in a limited line now at Target.

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I finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I’m not completely fine with talking about it yet. I wish I could re-read it again for the first time and get to experience it all over again. I loved this book so much! Eleanor’s story, her (unbeknownst to her) witty outlook on life, her trauma and the heartwarming way she begins to deal with it, ah I just loved it so. Please read it, just do yourselves a favor and read it.

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OH and if you want to be friends on GoodReads you just let me know because that site is so fun for experienced and newbie (like myself) book nerds alike.

“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid is the story of a black woman being wrongly accused of kidnapping a child while babysitting and has been on my list to read ever since my teacher sister told me about it. This week I ordered it from Semicolon Bookstore, a Black Owned Bookstore in Chicago that I found from this list of Black Owned Bookstores that do online orders I shared from Monday’s post.

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This week in podcasts I caught up on a few episodes of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard which if you are a pop-culture lover like I you should absolutely give a listen. I had no idea how funny Rob Lowe was and Allison Brie what a freaking sweetheart she is! I just saw today that he did an episode with Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to Be an Anti-Racist which I immediately downloaded. I’ve been hoping to read How to Be an Anti-Racist but it’s been out of stock in a lot of places so I look forward to listening and learning from that episode.

Moving on to things my favorite thing I baked this week were these 2-ingredient bagels that have been allllllll the rage lately. Bagels are my favorite food, ever so the thought of being able to easily make a few was just plain heaven to me. I followed this “recipe” in quotations because honestly you barely need a recipe it’s that simple! They came out great! The texture on the inside is a little more biscuity than a true bagel but I attribute that to the yogurt being the only other ingredient.

Now to the important part, I switched up the Trader Joe’s Everything But The Seasoning for Teeny Tiny Spice Company’s Montreal Seasoning which is my absolute favorite Montreal Seasoning! My favorite bagel shop in Vermont, Myer’s Bagels does a Montreal Spice bagel that was essentially my breakfast every day for 2 years when I worked in an office building. I have been desperate to “recreate” them and let me just say if you like a more savory bagel you will not be disappointed! Honestly, I’ll probably talk about these bagels again- I’ll shout it from rooftops until everyone knows how delicious a Montreal Spice bagel from Myers Bagels is. Sponsor me! Send me bagels!

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Shout out to the man in Boise Co-Op for telling me about Fort George Brewing out of Astoria, Oregon because Fields of Green may just be my favorite juicy, hazy and hoppy IPA I’ve tried in months! I’m talking THE BEST! I would plan a trip to Astoria, Oregon specifically just to go to Fort George Brewing. Naturally it’s sold only in the PNW and in limited batches because of course I couldn’t just have access to it always alas if you find yourself around these parts and are a fellow hop-head I highly recommend it! I used to try to hide the fact that I was a Vermont beer snob but I don’t even try anymore, it’s so much better than the rest of the country and then I find a Fields of Green and I gain some hope. To my roommate Jessica, if you’re reading this- I’ll be bringing some back to Denver for you to try.

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Okay folks, I think that is all for today’s Friday Favorites. I would just like it to be known I’ve been listening to angsty 90’s music while writing this entire blog post and it’s been amazing.

Now I’m off to plan a road trip back to Denver, any suggestions?

Love, Kari