Exploring State Highway 55

Boise, Idaho

It’s been a fairly quiet month for blogging, my apologies! I’ve been working through some emotions ( as always, lol) and of course it’s the holidays, so busy busy! Not really, but it feels like it sometimes. It’s not the usual adult kind of busy but my one year old is taking up loads of time. He demands my time and I am ready ready and willing to give it to him at his every whim. I did manage to do some traveling out to a small city called McCall about two hours north of Boise. I figured I would take a quick moment to share the photos of the trip while my boy is having a particularly long nap!

The destination was a straight shot north on state highway 55, and many times during the drive I felt so overwhelmed with the beauty that I could feel my mouth drop and maintaining focus on the road became slightly challenging. Not too challenging of course, as you are highly motivated to pay attention when the road is narrow and at nearly 5,000 ft elevation and if you swerve even a little bit you will be falling down mountains to a certain death.

It’s a very mild winter this year, thankfully. At least in Boise. McCall, ID has the highest average snowfall in the state, so I set out to see some snow! I had to stop at a few places to just absorb the scenery and snap some shots. The mountains and valleys surrounding the Payette river are an absolute dream. I am alone, and enjoying the peace. These drives and explorations are what heal my soul. I love seeing the beautiful less traveled spots across the USA.

It gets grayer and grayer as I move closer to a snowstorm. These photos are quite bright, you wouldn’t anticipate it actually being in the 30s and quite cold. It was a bad day to forget my chapstick at home, thats for sure.

I finally made it to Lake Cascade and boy, is it breathtaking! Cold, snowing, and sometimes hard to tell what is water and what is earth. The reflection of the mountains in the lake staring back at me is something I’ll never forget. There’s children nearby sledding. I’m going for a walk, in the snow, with my big city knee high boots that I foolishly thought would treat me will in the snowy weather.

The next stop: McCall! The spot I am headed to is called Payette Lake. Payette Lake┬áis a 5,330 acre expanse of clean, glacial water sitting at an elevation of about 5,000 feet in the mountains of Idaho. I’ve seen photos of it during one of my late evenings studying geography and history of Idaho and have wanted to have a look in person for many, many moons. It does not disappoint!

I had lunch in a winery cafe in McCall, a hot tea to go and made my way south on highway 55 to head home for the day. Taking in beautiful sights is fine but I didn’t budget a hotel and driving in the dark on narrow mountain roads while it was snowing was significantly less appealing. I managed to grab one sunset shot through the mountains around Smiths Ferry. It was stunning and I wish the photo would do it even a shred of justice, but alas. Just imagine the soft pinks and oranges blanketing the skies behind the mountainous terrain.

Idaho State Penitentiary- The Wes Anderson style prison

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Shane and I went out that way this weekend because our son was spontaneously with his grandma for a few hours and it was awesome! This place was supposed to be haunted and was just a short trip to the other side of Boise. The penitentiary was home to some classic western America criminals and throughout the century of its operation, was the last place 100+ people were alive.

When we got there, it was opposite the botanical gardens which also contained the penitentiary cemetery. A lot of flowers, how delightful!

The cells themselves were all unique and appeared to be ruins with previously pastel colored walls. They easily could be mistaken for sets from a Wes Anderson film.

When you look from afar, the blues and pinks and orange peeling from the cell walls was heavily contrasted with the typical prison bars and monochromatic, dirty penitentiary hallways.

A part of me is busy thinking about the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that I read as a high schooler. This is where that story took place, all across America. Places like this. 110 individuals died here. Some of old age and other natural causes. Many others died in the gallows, sentences to death here in Boise, Idaho.

No ghosts, but plenty of style. This was a neat spot to visit if you are ever in the Boise, Idaho area. It’s also right across the street from a beautiful botanical garden. Make sure to bring a small bottle of water, the penitentiary can be very hot in the summer.

Tie-dye adventures / Boise’s only wet month

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The skies are gray but in my eyes I see only tie-dye. A kaleidoscope of colors twisting into each other. It’s a what I’ve been occupying my time while while Boise spends a few days getting wet outside.

I heard thunder for the first time in two years. It was a magical gift from Boise after so many months of consecutive debilitating dryness.

The rainy weather has me feeling creative and it’s been bringing with it new flowers and greener grass.

I’ve been trying to set up a photoshoot with a Boise local photographer named Chad Estes but it hasn’t lined up with the chaotic schedule of my little one. Hopefully this week that can finally flesh out.

Recently, the baby boy and I went on an adventure up the mountains surrounding Boise. They were muddy as hell because of the weather so far. You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. Here this rings especially true. We were listening to Hank Williams sing songs about God and despair and looked at how small everything was in proper context. In reality, he stayed in the car and I contemplated towards him in my mind. It was nice anyways.

Shane and I did tie dying and my dress turned out beautiful. I’m considering all kinds of new patterns and scenes of the universe I can easily create with fabric dye and anticipate a budding new hobby. After thinking about some new techniques, I am super excited to get more dye! I just need to try using a black t-shirt + bleach solution and I can hopefully create some celestial designs.

I had a tie-dye baby blanket as a little girl and so I dyed a blanked for my little one as well. It warms me to my core seeing him clutching it in his sleep.