The drive from Salt Lake to Boise was fairly uneventful, though we did get turned around a bit due to roads closed for construction once we made it to town. Arriving in the dark, yet again, it was difficult to get a good grasp on the beauty of the mountains and hills surrounding Boise. When we pulled up to our house sit, we were met at the door by Chuck and Kathy, the owners and our hosts for the next three weeks.
After showing us around the house and introducing us to Tami Fe (the gorgeous and extremely cute, snuggly, energetic hunting dog we would be watching) Kathy sat us down with bowls of homemade elk chili (which was delicious), and gave us the rundown on how to care for Tami, and any other information we might need to know about the house. We were a little hesitant to let Tami out in the backyard when we found out she had recently been jumping over the fence (a standard six-foot-tall fence) and running around the neighborhood. Fortunately we never had any trouble with her scaling the fence while we were caring for her, which was a relief.
As we were finishing up our chili, Chuck and Kathy’s friends, whom they were flying out with to Australia the next day, arrived. Once introductions were made and we had gotten to know each other a bit, we brought our bags in and got ourselves settled into the guest bedroom in the basement. The house was arranged with the kitchen, a living area, and the master bedroom on the main floor, with two guest rooms, and another living area with doors that opened up onto the backyard patio, on the lower level. Other than the kitchen upstairs, it felt like we had our own suite of rooms in the basement while we were staying there. With a long flight the next day, Chuck, Kathy, and their friends went to bed early in preparation of a sleepless 14 hour flight, and we settled in and got some shuteye as well.
In the morning, Kathy made everyone breakfast, and everyone made their last minutes luggage arrangements. Packing for a three week tour of Australia and New Zealand, without going over the 50 pound weight limit for a checked bag was a bit of a challenge, but all of the bags made the cut. On the way to the airport later, we all stopped by a local pizza restaurant, Idaho Pizza Company, and chowed down on the lunch buffet. At only a fifteen minute drive from Meridian to the airport, Boise Airport is one of the most accessible and least congested airports I have ever been through. When we stopped at the departures drop-off area, we helped everyone unload their luggage, and Chuck and Kathy thanked us for taking care of Tami and their home, before disappearing into ticketing and baggage check.
On the drive back to Chuck and Kathy’s, we got our first view of Boise and the rest of the valley in which Meridian is situated. With a collective population of just over a quarter of a million people, Boise and Meridian are an interesting area. Downtown Boise itself feels quite small when compared to other state capitols. Its tallest building being only 18 stories high (1/3 the height of Denver’s tallest building), it was an interesting contrast compared with larger capitols which feel overcrowded and claustrophobic at times. On the other hand, in the outskirts of Boise, Meridian is half thriving farming town, half bustling suburb. Portions of Meridian were mostly built-up shopping and dining areas, but just across the street there were plots of open farmland. When we spend so much time in urban or suburban settings, the calm, quiet life of Meridian felt almost restorative to our spirits.
Over the course of our time staying in Boise, we fell into a comfortable routine. Every morning Ian would get up to work, and I would lounge in bed writing. In the afternoon, we would take Tami for a walk around the neighborhood, and on weekends we would take her to the local elementary school, where she could run as fast as she wanted in their fenced-in field. With the school closed the week of Thanksgiving, Tami got to go for her runs all week, rather than just the weekends, and had a total blast. Once evenings rolled around, we would usually find somewhere to go around town, or we would hang on the couch with Tami, catching up on all of our television shows and YouTube videos we were falling behind on.
While we were in town, Justice League was in theatres, so we went out one night for dinner and a movie. Though neither of us enjoyed it quite as much as we enjoyed Wonder Woman, we were pleasantly surprised by the newest DC hero collab. Another night, we searched for local board game stores and came across ABU Games, which had a wide selection of games and a large gaming room for free play and tournaments. After perusing the shelves, we picked up Eldritch Horror (a game we have been meaning to add to our collection for a while now), and Pocket Madness (a compact game we were hoping would be good to take with us on our travels, and have reviewed here).
Even though Meridian and Boise both had a wide selection of restaurants, we only went out to eat two or three times over the three weeks we were there. The best meal we ate during our stay by far, was The Counter- Custom Built Burgers. With choices such as Bison and Mahi Mahi for a protein, Brioche and Ciabatta buns, and literally dozens of different toppings and sauces to choose from on the Create-Your-Own-Burger Menu, The Counter was an outstanding place to grab dinner. To top it all off, we each ordered a seasonal milkshake; Ian, pumpkin spice fiend that he is, ordered the Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake, while I ordered the Cinnamon Churro Shake. If you ever pass through Boise, I highly suggest a stop at The Counter for a delicious twist on an American classic.
Throughout our whole trip, Ian found some simply superb locations to photograph. One of the few photo shoots I accompanied him on was one of his riskiest. Though he sold me on the location as “a bit difficult to get to, but with a trail leading to it”, he was only half correct (and I am being generous). After an hour long drive into Lucky Peak State Park, Ian pulled us off to the side of the road, and pointed down the steep mountainside to the base of a waterfall which fed into a small reservoir. The “trail” he had told me about was likely a game trail, or created by water runoff from the road; but he was 100% accurate in saying it was “difficult to get to” (no “a bit” about it). Because he had made the hike the day before, and we had driven all the way out there, I agreed to make the trek down into the canyon.
Once we made it to the bottom, I had to admit that the view was quite spectacular. While he set up his camera equipment and took his shots, I took the opportunity to photograph the photographer. The only level ground available was a loose, silty island at the very edge of the reservoir, and it shifted with each step he took. When he placed his heavy DSLR on his tripod, one of the legs sank a good eight inches into the soft earth. Taking his time to get the perfect shot of the falls, Ian moved his camera setup to several spots along the creek, and even over the flowing water. We are not disappointed with the results.
As Ian got his shots, I wandered around in the area and came across the skeleton of (what I believe is) an old pickup truck. Though it was rusted out and looked like it had been decaying for years, I can’t help but wonder how it got to the bottom of a canyon which fills with rushing water in the rainy season. Was it some kind of Thelma and Louise sort of scenario? Is anyone even aware that the remnants of an ancient, rusted truck are sitting at the bottom of the falls at Deer Creek? I may never know, and am still filled with a burning curiosity about it today.
Happy with the pictures he managed to get, we packed up the camera gear and began to pick our way up the steep mountainside. Though it had taken us about fifteen minutes to slowly make our way down the mountain, climbing back up only took a fraction of that time. But, even though it took less time, our legs and lungs were burning from the effort of climbing the rocky cliff face. Back at the top, we both felt like we might pass out, and took several long minutes to steady our breathing. Exhausted from the hike, we hopped back in the car and went back home to crash on the couch with Tami.
Most nights, we would spend a few hours watching our shows; Supernatural, The Orville, and Lucifer being just a few, but there were several nights that I wanted to just lay back in bed and read, while Ian watched one of the many movies on his Netflix watch list that I had no interest in seeing. Our time in Boise allowed me to finish a book I started reading back in June, a full five months before I was able to finish it and finally add it to my 2017 Reading Challenge list on Goodreads. Though I usually read several books a month, the craziness of constantly being on the move, traveling from place to place, put my love of books on the backburner. It was wonderful to finally have the time to pick up a book and slip into another world. Picking up that one book, and reading it to the end reignited my urge to read, and I have read another two books since finishing it two and a half weeks ago. Even if I don’t make it to my Reading Challenge goal of 50 books this year (I’m only at 31 right now) I am happy to be back on the wagon.
Because we spent three full weeks in Boise, one post is simply not enough space to cover everything we did while we were there, so I have broken our time up into three posts; general activities we did during our house sit (this post), Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and holiday experiences and activities.