idaho state sign challenge

State Sign Challenge: Idaho

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State Sign of Idaho

After spending two weeks in Arizona, I never found the state sign.  I think the only one might be at the four corners.  Upon entering Idaho, however, I stumbled across it’s state sign after passing through Jackpot, Nevada.  Annie and I dressed up as ketchup and French fries, because of the Idaho potato, the state vegetable.  I probably should have worn my red parka to make my costume better.

Idaho state sign challenge

Regardless, I’m not sure I would have thought of the potato except when I was visiting Tonga in the South Pacific, I asked the tour guide if he had ever been to the USA.

When he answered, “Yes.”

I naturally questioned, “Where?” while fully expecting him to say New York, Las Vegas, Disney World, or somewhere in California.

He replied, “Idaho.  I wanted to see the largest potato in the world!”

I was so taken a back, I didn’t even know what to say.

Anyway, I would love to see your photos at state signs (taken safely of course).  Join the challenge!

Visiting Idaho

I spent three weeks in Idaho, visited three general areas, and drove 2,519 miles.  Only about 1,681 were in Idaho.  The other portion was in Colorado and Utah as I made a few pit stops in Rifle, Moab, and Wendover on my way.

In Idaho, I spent approximately a week in the Boise and Idaho City area, a week in the Sun Valley area, and a week in McCall. I didn’t take the route I had hoped to take.  The weather interfered with going North through Stanley, and my broken router forced me to the Sun Valley area sooner than “planned” as I had to pick it up at a relative’s home.

Campsites in Idaho

Ideally, I would have liked to have only three different campsites, one per week, but I ended up with seven, including a Harvest Hosts stay, for a variety of reasons.  My favorite one was tucked in a grove of aspens in Sun Valley, and it is the only dispersed site in which a random hiker didn’t park. 

sun valley campsite in idaho

Idahoans are very friendly, and seem to have a motto, we are all in it together, so perhaps that’s why I always had someone joining my site to go off on a hike.  Admittedly, a few were near “trails”, but not marked trailheads, more like random paths and back forest roads. 

In certain instances, it was difficult to find a single dispersed site as opposed to a group area which doesn’t work well with Annie, who is always on high alert except when the moose gave VANgo a love tap at 2:30am.  That was a surprise.

Hikes in Idaho

I probably should have kept better track of my hiking mileage, but I generally took four hikes a week and logged 20+ miles, not counting random walks with Annie, strolls through towns, and other exploration opportunities.

Of the trails I hiked,  River Canyon East Trailhead, Homestead, Charcoal Gulch, Adelmann Mine, Oregon Gulch, Taylor Canyon, East Fork of the North Fork of the Wood River, Murdock Creek, Goose Creek Falls, Hazard Creek, Bear Basin Grand Traverse Loop, Boulder Lake, and the Peninsula Trail, I liked Hazard Creek the best.  It featured two waterfalls, a view, and many varieties of wildflowers.

view from hazard falls

Towns I Visited in Idaho

It is difficult to compare the cities and towns.  Boise, Idaho City, Ketchum, and McCall all offered something different.  I probably spent the most time exploring McCall as my friends met me there. 

McCall proved the most difficult to reach as they close the road from 12-2 on weekdays for blasting while they are widening it.  I could have avoided the closure and the creepy fellow that wanted to walk his dog everywhere Annie and I went. I literally walked way out into the field so she could run around, and he walked his dog within 10 yards of me. 

on the way to mccall idaho
hung out in this field for an hour

Since she isn’t always friendly, I walked her all the way back to VANgo.  The next thing I know he’s feet away from my van.  I finally told him to go away, and he seemed offended. 

I’d go back to all of them, and I’d add on Stanley, Riggins, Nez Perce and Hells Canyon for my next visit along with some additional spots in Northern Idaho.

Wildlife Spottings in Idaho

While I only spotted some rabbits and marmots on my hikes, the deer bred like rabbits in McCall.  I saw at least five a day.  I also spotted two moose.  The one in my campsite seemed pretty enamorred with itself in the reflection of my insulated window covers as it nudged VANgo’s window.

Seeing as it was 2:30 in the morning, I didn’t get a photo, but I lucked out with capturing one in Payette Lake by the Thinking Point.  I was too early to see the climbers scaling the granite cliff, but not too early to see the moose!

moose in mccall, idaho

Meals in Idaho

I probably couldn’t list a favorite meal, but it was fun to go in search of Idaho specialties like the state fruit: huckleberries.  The huckleberry licorice was really good!

huckleberry licorice, popcorn, and taffy

Trials and Tribulations in Idaho

I had hoped not to face too many trials and tribulations at the beginning of my road trip, but it seemed something always popped up.  The two biggest challenges were Annie slitting foot and my wifi router breaking.  While it altered my course a bit, we still visited some great places.

Unique Sightings

Musings from the Road

  • How can I always be missing a sock in a tiny van?
  • What is growing in the fields? They aren’t potatoes.
  • Why does Annie try to get under the covers only after I wash the sheets?
  • Did you ever notice google maps says turn in a quarter mile and it is 4/10 of a mile?
  • Why do Idahoans park in your campsites?
  • Do you want an efficient waiter or a friendly waiter? This was the debate between friends.
  • Why does it rain immediately after cleaning VANgo?
  • Idahoans are so friendly!
  • The state needs to market itself better. Maybe it doesn’t on purpose to keep it a hidden gem!

Other Fun Facts About Idaho

  • Idaho’s Nickname: The gem state.  Idaho has 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones.
  • Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers, more than any other state.
  • Idaho has the most wilderness area in the lower 48 states.  Only Alaska has more.
  • Sun Valley was the first ski resort in the USA
  • Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in the USA, 7,900 feet deep.
  • Twin Falls is the sight of Evil Knievel’s failed jump.
  • Idaho law forbids a citizen to give another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than 50 pounds. 

I guess I won’t be giving out big boxes of Huckleberry licorice.  ETB 

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Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

15 thoughts on “State Sign Challenge: Idaho

  1. I’m really enjoying your blog posts and your travels.
    As a native Nebraskan however, I would point out that Nebraska has more miles of river with approximately 79,056 miles of river.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate you reading and commenting. I’ll have to look into that as I found that statistic on two other sites for support. Definitely don’t want to misrepresent.

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