June 6, 2020

Week 15: Shooting the Rapids and More in Northern Idaho

Running the Payette River…

(all photos by author).

“Get set to get wet” should’ve been our mantra over the past week, as we journeyed north of Boise into the Idaho panhandle. Of course, we always thought of the northern stem of the state as more of a chimney, but hey, if you think of a pot hanging from a rack on its side…

Stately Bitner Vineyards…

But first, we couldn’t leave our urban base camp for the wilderness without being properly provisioned. To this end, we hit the Idaho wine trail and stocked up at the Bitner, Koenig, and Cinder wineries.

Restocking the vino at Cinder Wineries in Boise, Idaho.

Our first traverse into the wilderness was an afternoon of whitewater rafting down the Payette River courtesy of the Cascade Raft Company. The lower South Fork segment we completed featured class 3 rapids, though we’re to understand that this was still a junior run compared to what the river offers upstream. No banjos were heard, and we successfully survived the experience and have the footage courtesy of our new head mounted Ion cam to show for it:

Next up, we stopped in McCall, Idaho for a more sedate cruise on Payette Lake. Sharlie the Sea Monster that is said to inhabit the lake was nowhere to be seen, though we did restock our beer inventory at Salmon River and the McCall breweries in town.

And hey, we once again crossed the 45 parallel northward just outside of town… we’re now over halfway between the equator and the north rotational pole!

Cruising Lake Payette.

The beginning of the long U.S. Labor Day weekend saw us move our base of operations farther northward to the town of Post Falls, Idaho just inside the Washington-Idaho border. We stayed at another Red Lion Inn, where we were treated to blazing fast wifi, always a pleasant surprise. We’re now firmly ensconced in the Pacific Time zone (in Idaho, it begins just north of McCall) and we can say that we’ve now touched on all four time zones across the contiguous United States. Hey, it’s the little victories…

Bio-cement at the University of Idaho in Moscow… the wave of the future?

Post Falls also hosts a great river running path named Centennial Trail, another great reason to tie on those running shoes and head out the door.

Yesterday, we made our way briefly eastward towards the Montana border to the town of Wallace, Idaho. With mountains sloping on both sides, the tiny town reminds me of Bisbee, Arizona without the endless stairs. We made a stop at Cataldo Monastery on the way out. Built in 1852, the monastery is the oldest standing building in the state of Idaho. And be sure to bring your growler to the North Idaho Mountain Brew House in downtown Wallace… hey, they’ll refill ‘em for $10.00!

“Peephole solar spectroscopy” at the Red Lion Inn in Post Falls, Idaho.

But this trip eastward won’t last for long, as the general arc of our path promises to pitch us back towards the Pacific Coast soon. And hey, it’s September 1st, the start of meteorological Fall in the northern hemisphere. Winters a ‘comin, and its getting time to head southward once again soon like the proverbial snow birds we’ve become.

More to come!



  1. [...] this past week we’ve wrapped up our Idaho adventures after a brief journey eastward to Wallace and the Center of the Universe and crossed the Evergreen [...]

  2. [...] north, we shot the rapids courtesy of Cascade River and Kayak down the lower south fork of the Payette River and explored the breweries of McCall. And while Sharlie, the mythical lake [...]

  3. [...] And no, we’re not talking about skipping down to the hotel gym before buffet breakfast, although we’ve done that as well. We’re talking about staying true to a regimen while independently [...]

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