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  • Writer's pictureErin McKibbey

McCall Idaho

What better way to start off the new year then with a fun adventure in the snowy mountains of Idaho. After finishing our six night shifts in the ER (all in a row I might add!), we headed off to McCall Idaho with my brother David and his wife Kait. You might be wondering why McCall of all places to go for snow. Well, we have had McCall on our radar for a few years now and they get the most snow accumulation in all of Idaho. Not many people know of it unless you live in or near Idaho. It is only a 2 hour scenic drive north of Boise and when you get there its a wonderland for adventure seekers! But lets not get ahead of ourselves, lets start our trip off in Boise Idaho where we flew in to.

I am not one for big cities. I love my San Francisco but now-a-days I am very much over it. Flying into Boise I didn't expect much, just a small city filled with tons of people in a rush (that is probably just my California outlook on all cities). After getting our rental car we decided to grab lunch in the downtown area of Boise. We pulled up to a meter spot and the lady in front of us was about to leave but before she left she walked over to us and offered us her spot that still had 20minutes on the meter! I hate to say this but coming from a place that doesn't normally see this kind of kindness (unless its from out-of-towners) it is shocking and it made our hearts grow! It was the best way to start our trip! We ate lunch/Dinner at The Ale House (delicious!) then began our trip up the mountain to McCall. The drive was lovely! We drove through some beautiful trees and along gorgeous flowing rivers. We had barely begun the trip (hadn't even made it to our destination yet) and we already were falling in love with the area. Unfortunately we spent the whole day traveling, so by the time we made it to the town of McCall it was dark out. We checked in, got some snacks, and called it a night.

The whole trip wasn't totally planned. We tend to do this when we travel. There is a list of things that we want to do but we don't plan it 100% ahead of time. We like feeling it out as we go. Our first official day in McCall we planned to just explore the area and see what they have to offer. We drove through the Ponderosa State Park and checked out their visitor center, then we drove around the entire lake (at least as far as the roads would take us), headed up to Brundage Ski Resort to see how it looked, grabbed some lunch at The Shore Lodge in town (great views but a bit on the pricey side), then drove to Riverfront Park to check out the Payette River. That was a beautiful spot! We watched a couple guys fly fish (made the boys wish they brought their fly rods), got a great shot of the sunset, and spotted TONS of fish. It was the perfect way to end our first official day there. Well, I think the hot tub later was a close second at being the perfect end of the day.

Our second official day in McCall was a split day. It was mostly depending on the weather from the night before. If they got enough snow the boys would ride the mountain and lucky for them they did. Not a lot but enough. We all headed over to Brundage so the boys could snowboard and us girls threw on our snowshoes and attempted their "Snow Shoe" trail. You may wonder why I didn't bring my board; well it came down to money. We tried to make this trip as cheap as possible, so to save money we only brought one board. Which worked out great cause Kait doesn't snowboard. So while the boys hit the mountain we headed out on our own adventure. We had to ask a few people where the start of the Snow shoe trail was and only one person kind of knew. We headed in the direction he pointed and still had trouble finding it. There wasn't a map for us to look at, just pictures they have on their site. So we picked a random direction and headed toward that. Eventually we saw up in the trees markers and FINALLY came across a sign. We headed up in the trees and spent the next 15minutes attempting to follow the "trail" (or lack-there-of). The snow was pretty deep and we had to take turns cutting a path through the snow. But it was an amazing work out with gorgeous views. Since we couldn't actually find a clear trail, we called it quits when we reached the parking lot and headed back down the mountain. It was time for spa day! Kait and I spent the rest of the afternoon soaking in the salt water spas at The Shore Lodge (no, we didn't stay there) and used our christmas gift cards to get a scrub. It was super relaxing! I definitley recommend it. The boys said they were pleasantly surprised by Brudage. Sadly, they haven't been getting as much snow as they are use to and the big storm they were expecting right before we got there never came. The guys expected terrible conditions but lucky for them the top got some snow the night before and they were able to find tons of fresh powder. They spent the entire day exploring the runs, learning new tricks, and drooling over all the back country snowboarding available. We all ended the day together at a local bar called Foresters.

Our last full day we wanted to explore Ponderosa State Park a bit more, so we grabbed our Snowshoes and headed out. This snowshoeing was quit a bit easier then the snowshoeing Kait and I did the day before. There were clear markings for the trails and we even had a map. It was awesome seeing all the nordic Skiers using the trails as well. Even though we are snowboarders, I could see us doing something along those lines if we lived in a place like this. The snowshoe trail took us all over the place. We visited a couple meadows, hiked right up to the lake, and got some amazing views! We wanted to do all of the snowshoe trails but unfortunately the snow boots I was wearing weren't working out (stupid blisters!). We called it a day after 5 miles. But we loved every bit of it! When we finished we headed over to Salmon Brewery for some much needed lunch. The beer was surprisingly good and the food was delicious! It was starting to get late but we wanted to head back over to the Riverfront Park one more time to check it out a bit more. We hiked around the trail on the other side of the Payette River where the houses are, found a tennis ball and threw that back a forth a bit, raced snowballs down the river, and just hung out a bit and talked. We reflected a bit on our trip, what we thought of McCall and if it was a contender for our future home. We love the endless options for adventure in McCall and the surrounding areas. It has definitely made the list.

The next morning we packed up our stuff, loaded up the car and headed out. Our flight didn't leave until 6pm so we had some free time to check out a few more spots. We drove around the outskirts of McCall before heading over to Donnelly where Tamarack Resort is located. This was one of the options to stay at for this trip but we ultimately decided on McCall. We were pleasantly surprised by how big Tamarack Resort is! It felt bigger then Brundage (but apparently only vertically bigger), and the boys were regretting not checking this place out earlier. We spoke to a couple locals who told us all about the area and how it normally is when they actually get snow. We all decided that we want to come back in the future to ride this mountain. After spending a lot of time looking at trail maps and talking we began our drive down into Boise. Before getting to the Airport we grabbed a bite to eat at Fork Restaurant (DELICIOUS!!). Every place we ate at on this trip turned out so good. Our trip home started out great; good food at Fork, easy car return, even easier security check (seriously Boise, you guys are awesome!) but then it got crazy.... We nearly missed our layover in San Francisco (thanks United for sitting on the runway forever), had to sprint to the next gate which was on the OTHER side of the terminal nearly missing our flight and then when we finally landed we find out that our snowboard bag never made it! We felt like we should have just stayed in Idaho. Its okay though, our trip was amazing and we all made it home safe which is all that matters. Now we just need to figure out... Where To Next???

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