Idaho – Days 1-2: Journeying to the Moon and Meeting Birds of Prey

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My first evening in Idaho I stopped at Reed’s Dairy to try huckleberry ice cream. A previous host, from Mississippi, had sent me a link to the best ice cream places in each state and as I happened to be heading to a few of the cities on the list I figured I might as well try a couple of the best ice creams. Plus, I’d never had a huckleberry before, which is a thing, so huckleberry ice cream seemed as good a way as any to try it. Yum. So good.

My hosts that night in Idaho Falls shared a delicious tofu curry with me and then we made s’mores out in the pit fire on their deck. We made fancy s’mores with cookies as the graham cracker part. Uh, yeah. Definitely the best way to make s’mores. Noted.

The next day I drove across Idaho toward Boise, stopping at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve on the way. Unfortunately, it was cold and raining when I got there. I tried waiting it out to no avail and ventured out in the rain a couple times anyway, but it was so cold and wet I just couldn’t stay long. It’s a pretty sweet place though and I’d love to explore some time when it’s not cold and rainy.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, ID.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, ID.

The following day it was also rainy. Bleargh. I wanted to check out the Greenbelt – the walkway along the river and literally as soon as I parked the car it started raining. I decided to try to wait that one out and it kind of worked. It rained for a good twenty minutes and then it let up. I walked along the Greenbelt for maybe like five minutes before I decided it was too cold and I didn’t want to be even a little bit wet.

Instead I went to the Boise Art Museum. They had this cool collaboration where they had people write stories or poetry inspired by the art on display. Then they kept a copy of the writing next to the piece of art. Some of the stories and poetry people came up with were really fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed roaming around and soaking in this literary component of the art museum.

The Art Museum had an interesting exhibit by Adonna Khare. She does large scale pencil drawings of animals. Some are combinations of different types of animals and some have lots of animals all together interacting in strange ways. For instance, one drawing had elephants with their ears stitched together and another had a mouse or something holding a string that was stitched into another elephant. The drawings were fantastic, I just wasn’t a fan of the content and wished they were just cute animals instead. Lame, I know, but whatever.

My host in Boise recommended I check out the World Center for Birds of Prey, as it’s something unique to Boise, so I did. It was pretty cool. I made it just in time for the live presentation with a harris’s hawk, which was really neat. The cool thing I learned about the Harris’s hawk is that it’s a social bird of prey. Harris’s hawks work together to hunt and even use back-stacking, where one bird stands on the back of another who’s already standing on the back of a third bird, so they can get a better view of the land. Pretty cool, huh? Also, like owls, Harris’s hawks have a 270° neck rotation, which is because they have fourteen vertebrae in their necks, unlike mammals, which only have seven. Interesting, right?

Cody, the Harris's hawk and Aimee his volunteer friend, World Center for Birds of Prey, Boise, ID.

Cody, the Harris’s hawk and Aimee his volunteer friend, World Center for Birds of Prey, Boise, ID.

The World Center also houses California condors which are being bred for reintroduction into the wild, because they are critically endangered. Currently there are only about 400 left, and only about a hundred or so of them are in the wild (according to National Geographic). Before efforts to save the California condor started there were less than fifty remaining, so in 1987 all the remaining wild condors were captured to save them from extinction (according to Defenders of Wildlife). Yikes. California condors are huge and terrifying. Thankfully they just eat dead things (aka carrion) but still! One condor flew in it’s enclosure and it’s wingspan is nearly twice my height! Crazy! If you’re planning to go to the World Center for Birds of Prey, try to go in October because then they do the demonstrations outside and you get to see the birds fly, which I can only assume is awesome.