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

 

Checking In & Hiking Saint Mary’s Glacier

Well we’re a little over a week into October folks and you know what that means? It means all of the fall content and travel posts I have been planning to post have come to a screaming halt because my computer crashed and I got a stomach flu/food poisoning… jury is still out but moral of the story don’t eat airplane food. Perhaps this isn’t what happens to everyone in October but here I am working through it.

Anyway I’m currently sitting in Newark delayed (like everyone who has ever passed through Newark) and the magic voice just came over the speaker saying final boarding for Burlington, VT however in a rare occasion when connecting through EWR (aka my nightmare) that is not my final destination. In fact I’m about to tackle on of my first big “30 before I turn 30” items and I really can’t wait to share that with you but first- this post- just so you know I’m still alive and I haven’t forgotten about you (I’ve just had to steal my boyfriend’s computer because most likely mine will never live again).

Enough with the excuses though, right?

I had this week off so my human came to visit so we could do all of the Colorado fall things and today I thought I’d highlight one of my favorite parts of our week together with a quick little review of hiking St. Mary’s Glacier.

Located near Idaho Springs this hike is only an hour to the trailhead from downtown Denver so in terms of getting that mountain feel without having to go too far this one is perfect. We went on a Sunday morning around 10am because we wanted to make sure the sun was at least out despite a 47 degree temperature.  Being a Sunday we were expecting some heavy foot traffic but it was surprisingly easy to find a spot in one of the two parking lots at the base ($5 cash only to park). A local with skis strapped to his backpack informed us that this “Glacier” is actually a semi-permanent snowfield and not a glacier at all which I thought was interesting.

The hike was short, a little less than a mile to the top but all rocks all the way up! While it is a short one it still starts at 10,000 feet of elevation so the huffing and puffing starts embarrassingly early- or was that just me? It’s very wide and well-maintained despite being rocky. I’d say confidently almost anyone can complete this and it is so worth the views! I liked that once you got to the top you could just keep climbing on all sorts of side trails to get up higher for better views and closer to the action of the snow-field. It was definitely busy and HOLY WINDY but I can imagine how much fun you could have spending a day picnicking up at the top on a warm summer day. Anyway here’s a few photos of the hike, enjoy!

I would absolutely do this hike again and I really can’t wait for my people to come visit so I can bring them up to it! Colorado is just about to hit peak foliage and yet it’s simultaneously about to drop down to 21 degree temps and half a foot of snow expected in the high country because fall in Colorado people. If you really want to round out your day trip around Idaho Springs are post hike I’d recommend a soak in the Indian Hot Springs and my favorite thing- finishing a giant honey soaked pizza at Beau Jo’s (if you know, you know!!)

Anyway, lots more posts coming soon- I’ve got everything from shit passengers say on the airplane to more travel tips and essential items. I can’t wait to share my travel guide for Belgium and of course tell you allllllll about the bucket list item I’m waiting to board a plane for.

Have a freaking splendid rest of your weeks kids.

Kari

Layover Life : 5 Things You Need to do in Memphis, Tennessee

Ahh Friday, what a glorious day you are and one that I actually have off so major plus!

This week I got sent to the airport to sit standby and was quickly informed I’d be working to Memphis for a 30 hour layover.  I have actually been to Memphis when I was younger and did both Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum (both absolute musts if you’re in the area) but I wasn’t sure what I’d want to do for one day and one day only. I texted my sister who lives in Nashville what one should do in Memphis and she said “nothing! Ha. Peabody Hotel, Arcade for Brunch & Graceland.”

Having already done 2 out of the 3 of those things I set off to make a new plan and here’s what I came up with to fill my last minute layover in Memphis!

1. Take a Tour of Sun Studio.

Sun Studio is where greats like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley all recorded some of their early work in. In fact Elvis & Johnny both recorded their very first songs in the single room that still stands virtually untouched today. The tour is $14 and lasts about an hour. It’s guided by incredibly passionate music fans- our guide Jason sang along with every song he shared and you couldn’t help but at least tap your foot in solidarity. The moment I left I found myself down a rabbit hole researching all of the amazing songs that had been recorded in that room and of course creating a very dorky playlist to go along with it. I loved the tour! Bonus: when you purchase a ticket you also receive use of a free shuttle service that brings you to Beale Street and also to Graceland which is a great value!

2. Stuff your face at Central BBQ.

Memphis BBQ where can you really go wrong? Honestly, you can’t. Let me tell you though, when you want to go really right, you go to Central BBQ. This place is so good it has 4 locations in the greater Memphis area so no matter where you are you can enjoy it! The brisket was so tender and I loved the hot BBQ sauce that came along with it. Everyone who worked there was really nice and made me feel like I was home- well except Jeopardy! wasn’t on and though my mom’s mac & cheese is my forever favorite it’s quite different! Oh and she sure as hell never made us brisket. This place is special folks, you’ve got to try it.

3. Live Music & Big Ass Beers on Beale Street.

Of course what is a trip to Memphis without testing out the open container law on Beale Street? I’m just kidding but I did stop for a “Big Ass Beer” at King’s Palace and listened to some live music in their courtyard which was a great way to spend an afternoon despite the fact that it was 100 degrees and I felt like I was dying a little inside sitting out there (my New England/Irish blood has a serious aversion to humidity haha) To be honest, I actually don’t know that I’d care to spend any time on Beale at night- call me a loser but I don’t even like Bourbon Street after 5 PM so for me an hour during the day was perfect.

4. Watch the Peabody Ducks Waddle through the hotel lobby.

If you don’t already know about the historic duck march through the lobby of the Peabody hotel, click here immediately to find out. Now you can continue this post… I decided to check out the 5pm session when the ducks are marched from the fountain back to their penthouse suite on the roof. I arrived around 3:30 because I was in desperate need of some air-conditioning and I’m actually glad I did. I got a seat at the bar and met a nice older couple who put the duck walk ever so simply “they roll the red carpet out, the Duck Master makes a 5 minute entertaining speech, the ducks walk to an elevator and we clap like morons.” They made sure I had as good a spot as possible though because even as morons, it was still unbelievably special! There were probably 150-200 people on multiple floors of the hotel lobby looking down at these birds waddling away on a Tuesday afternoon. You’ve just got to check this out friends!

5. Take in the sunset on the rooftop at Hu. Hotel.

This was my favorite part of the day, easily! The rooftop bar at Hu. Hotel is small but mighty in it’s spectacular views of the Mississippi River and cozy rooftop seating. The bar menu had some great options for beer & wine but their cocktail list looked inspired! Still pretty full from the BBQ lunch I ordered an appetizer with a glass of rose (#basic) and sat for an hour enjoying the views. The hummus was delicious! I don’t know how busy it would be on a weekend as I was going up on a Tuesday (ayy) but I can’t recommend it enough! I loved it so much that I’d love to see what the rest of the hotel and it’s rooms were like on my next visit.

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From the moment crew scheduling called me to basically last night when I got back from working my trip “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn was stuck in my head. If you follow me on my Instagram you’d know that I went a little hard on using the song lyrics to dictate my day but hey, I had a prayer in Memphis! So the next time you find yourself in Memphis even just for a day like me, you should absolutely add these stops to your to do list! I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh but if the shuttle driver puts her hand out to grab your luggage, do not shake it. The alarming look on her face will shake both of you to your core. I’m so awkward

I hope you have a great weekend filled with rooftop bars, great views and all of the BBQ- or cleaning, like me. I mean, we can’t always be walking in Memphis!

Kari