Rolling into the Neurolux in downtown Boise, Idaho, I marvel that it is so cozy and intimate. A dark and narrow music lounge with a bar, small stage and dance floor, it’s a world away from big concert arenas. And tonight, a true Texas boy, Dale Watson, is performing. The Potato State is being treated to Dale’s brand of authentic Texas dance hall music, Ameripolitan.
I am an equal opportunity hiker. It’s easy to love a trail that winds through a tranquil forest, along a shimmering creek, with picturesque views of mountains every step of the way. And yet, beauty comes in many forms. Trails through strange, stark, dark places call me, too. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in south central Idaho is just such a place. The preserve includes three lava fields that were formed by volcanic eruptions from the Great Rift of Idaho 15,000 years ago. The aftermath has left a weirdly beautiful landscape with tons of volcanic features to explore.
The breeze is gently blowing through the trees. A wind chime sounds, and mourning doves murmur. Here and there I hear voices, people outside enjoying the summer evening, children playing. These are the sounds of my neighborhood. I’m walking through the Boise North End from the local gas station, carrying a 6-pack of beer and a stick of beef jerky. And I’m in love with my new hood.
How did I get so lucky? I love hiking so much. And I’ve landed in Boise, Idaho, which, like Denver, Colorado, is literally just minutes from tons of hiking trails. The trails right around Boise are high desert, exposed, wide open spaces, rolling hills of grassland. Sometimes I long for the peaceful, cool, wild beauty of Colorado forests in the Rocky Mountains, with a surprise around every wooded corner or across every murmuring creek. Stack Rock Trail, leading to a granite tower high above the city of Boise, recently gave me just the lush, shaded forest fix with stunning views I so craved. Plus, there’s the fun of going off the beaten path to get up close to Stack Rock.
And, the 10-mile hike kicked my ass!