We entered Boise and immediately noticed the entire town is blanketed in trees (it’s self-dubbed the city of tree, so no surprise there) yet the surrounding hills are all almost completely bare, save shrubs. We stayed the first night at Safari Inn, centrally located in the city center. We walked everywhere to get a better sense of the city. First stop: Guru Doughnuts, which had a surprising number of vegan doughnuts and happy hour after 3 p.m.! From there, we walked to the North End neighborhood and checked out a local grocery store, followed by happy hour at Parilla Grill. Next, we went back downtown to the Boise Fry Company for another happy hour beer, purple fries and all the dipping sauces one could want. We ate dinner at Bitterroot, which we chose because of vegan-friendly options, a parlor style vibe and evidently they vermicompost on site. Pretty neat!
Day two we ate the most pathetic hotel breakfast there ever was and returned to Guru (just for coffee). It was a nice, hot day, so we decided to float the Boise River, which was another trip highlight. The float itself is about six miles and goes over three dams and passes multiple beaches. We made an impromptu decision to get a hotel for a second night and proceeded to check out BBQ 4 Life (vegan barbecue, baby) and a few breweries: Lost Grove, Boise Brewing and Barbarian.
Bend, Mt. Hood National Forest
After a quick, 2.6 mile run to retrieve my car from Lost Grove, we grabbed breakfast at Blue Sky Bagels, walked around a nearby park and were off to Bend.
We got into town around 5 p.m. Friday night and stocked up on some groceries at Market Choice (the first of many stops there) before heading to a dispersed camp site in Deschutes National Forest, a short 15-minute drive from town. This was one of the best things about Bend: its proximity to camping and hiking trails. We actually stayed at the same site all three nights (and caught a surprise pop-up concert on our last night).
On Saturday, we spent some time near the river at Drake Park before relocating to Miller’s Landing. We checked out Cruz Fermentation Project for a beer (great outdoor space) and then Spork for dinner.
In the morning, we hiked Tumalo Falls (a 7-mile loop) and then worked at Spoken Moto, a motorcycle-themed coffee shop, for a few hours. We continued our work the following morning at Backporch Coffee Roasters before saying goodbye to Bend and heading toward Maupin, where my extended family was having a celebration of life/family reunion for my Great Aunt Pat who passed away in spring.
Driving on highway 97 we did a U-turn upon seeing the words “alpaca” and “free.” Sure enough, Crescent Moon Ranch is an alpaca farm where you can stop and see alpacas for free or feed them for a small fee. Post U-turn, we made our way to Steelhead Falls, an oasis of waterfalls and cliffs (perfect for jumping) in the middle of a desert-like climate. Sam and I both jumped in, and Sam even climbed up a cliff side from the water. That night, we found dispersed camping inside Mt. Hood National Forest and enjoyed our first campfire of the trip underneath a beautiful blanket of stars.
Maupin has a population of less than 500 people, and it is certainly a rafting city! The Deschutes River runs through town and brings a lot of people (including the Ferguson/Payne/Gottlieb families). My extended family was gathering in Maupin to celebrate the life of my Great Aunt Pat. Instead of a funeral, she wanted to have a celebration of life, so her children (my dad’s cousins) organized a reunion and rafting trip that coincided with our travel route and was an opportunity to not only celebrate a very accomplished woman but to also meet family, notably some cousins around mine and Sam’s age. Maupin is also the town where my dad’s cousin Gloria and her husband Wade were married; they were both rafting instructors, and their son, Garrett, was an instructor on our trip.
The rafting trip, July 31, was awesome. We spread Aunt Pat’s ashes in the river, which was really special. There were three full boats and one inflatable kayak on the trip. Sam, Becky, Maddie and I specifically got a kick out of our rafting guide, Larry, whom had endless knowledge about the river and repeatedly replied, “it’s all good” to any minor issue. Everyone made it over the Wapanitia, Boxcar and Oak Springs rapids. Our boat was the only one to go the, err, challenging way down Oak Springs, and we “bathtubbed” before getting stuck. This was arguably the most fun part of the float, and Larry was elated once we were out. Sam and I have quoted Larry’s “it’s all good” phrase multiple times since leaving Maupin.