Battling the traffic and crowds at all Bay Area airports has become a way of life for those of us who live there. So much so that we are jarred into a mindset which tells us that this jam-packed insanity is the new reality.
Not so in Idaho.
The Boise airport was a throwback to the early days of air travel. Few people walking to and from their gates; no line at the car rental agency; a pace conducive to civility.
Like any large city, Boise had its share of “traffic.” Out of the city in 20 minutes with a stop-and-go similar to local city auto movement, we headed up Highway 55 towards McCall, Idaho where we would spend our first night.
Up the gorgeous Payette River Scenic By-Way we traveled. At about 3000 feet elevation the river became a torrent of whitewater rapids as the snowmelt injected voluminous mass. The narrower the river, the more tumultuous the whitewater. And then the river widened to look like a glassy lake. Small islands, similar to Jackson’s Island (where Huck and Jim hid after Huck staged his own death) sprouted up at places on the Payette.
The smoke from the myriad fires burning in Oregon and Idaho sullied the skies and my photography.
Perhaps the most exciting moment for me was the surprising presence of a small herd of horses and one mule flying down the dusty mountainside on their way to the beach on the Payette.
Imagine their surprise to find that humans were occupying their secret spot.
Looking through my camera lens was like what I imagine it is to have a cataract.
All scenes, muted and colorless, were also accented by a faint smoky smell,
Up in McCall, Idaho the first night, we escaped the haze. A sweet lake and, we understand, a robust ski season, around which this town’s economy seem to be dependent, was a welcome cooling vision.
We wandered down by the beach, reminding ourselves of the small children’s beach at Chamberlands in Homewood, California, where we had difficulty last month finding a patch of sand on which to locate a blanket, we stood in disbelief at the crowds on this children’s beach.
And then there was this image: