After our relaxed departure from Bully Creek, we headed into Idaho. Woo-hoo, Idaho! Not quite a new state for me — I’d driven through it once before on my way from Montana to Washington — but the first time I was planning to do more than wave as I went by.
Idaho — at least southern Idaho — is very dry. Even in spring, it was immediately clear that we were in a different climate. Part of that was nice — I appreciated the warmth of the sun — but my lips were chapped within what felt like seconds.
We were headed to Boise for our first stop, so we were also no longer on cute, winding mountain roads but on a major highway: flat, lots of trucks, traffic speeding along. And the billboards — for Panera, Taco Bell, etc. — made it pretty clear that we were entering Generic American City. No insult intended to Boise, of course, because every mid-size American city seems to have the same stores, but we spent a couple hours there and then decided to keep going.
It wasn’t just that the city felt generic. We knew we would have fun if we explored, looked for a good restaurant, found its unique spots… but being a tourist in a city when accompanied by three dogs is a challenge. It’s fun to have the dogs on a camping vacation, but less fun to leave them in the van when the sun is beating down on them. At any rate, we’d planned to spend some time in Boise, but by mutual agreement, we cut that time short and headed back to nature.
Our next stop was Bruneau Dunes State Park. As you may recall, I found an article about the 50 best state parks (Bruneau was Idaho’s) and decided to go to all of them. I have now changed my mind. I’m sure they’re all great parks, but “great park to visit” does not necessarily equal “great park to camp.” There are two campgrounds at Bruneau and one of them (Eagle Cove) is a parking lot: pull-through sites in parallel lines, no real space between sites. The other one (Broken Wheel) is better, more spacious and with a good view of the hills but compared to our Bully Creek county park… well, it’s always hard when you leave a really nice campground/site to go to an average campground.
There were some nice trails, though. I have to admit that I didn’t try them out — Z and I limited our walk to half way around the campground, because I was tired out from all the driving. But S and Riley took the walk to the observatory and approved. And we did visit the lake, which — well, was really buggy. But pretty!
It was also nice to be able to plug in to electricity, because it meant that I could use the InstantPot to make risotto. For dinner, we had chicken-apple sausage with carmelized onions; salad with mixed greens, blackberries, goat cheese and fig vinaigrette; and asparagus risotto. Just your average camping meal, right?
And the night sky was lovely, I’m currently listening to many birds chattering away, and the dunes themselves really are rather spectacular.