June ’19: The Proof is in Idaho

posted in: Boise, Stanley, Van Life | 2

In a completely non-religious context—Heaven exists. I have proof. This month, check out the Bench Lakes Trail, Adelmann Mine Trail, van progress, and hear a funny story about mormon crickets.

As you all know by now, I love Idaho. This is no secret. I have yelled it from the rooftops since moving here nearly 2 years ago. While I am looking forward to some exploration in other states, there is a part of me that mourns leaving this wild gem. The only thing that makes our separation bearable is knowing that I will someday return. Perhaps for good?

Stanley, Idaho

The Stanley area is quite possibly my favorite place on Earth. The Sawtooth Mountains have captured my heart in a way that sends me hurling to the floor like a 2 year old having a temper tantrum whenever I am forced to leave. There is never enough time to just be while here in this wondrous forest among the jagged rocks. I am grateful for the moment’s I get to spend here, no matter how fleeting.

Bench Lake Trail

What a great hike with new friends as I was finally able to get together with the Girl’s Who Hike Idaho!

Blue skies and minimal crowds equals a perfect day in my book! You really can’t ask for more than that.

The Bench Lakes Trail is roughly 8 miles long with an elevation gain around 1250 ft. The trail boasts multiple grand views with Redfish Lake to your left and the pointed ridges of the Sawtooths on your right.

Here are some photos from the hike.

The trees in Stanley just smell better. It’s hard to explain, but when the sun begins to rise and warm the forest, the aroma is unlike any other.

Initially, the trees cover up much of the mountain range along the trail. It is excruciating at first because you know what’s on the other side. Be patient, these snow capped beauties will reveal themselves to you in time.

In the meantime, just enjoy the glorious views of the lake below.

Trees are like storytellers of the natural world. I could sit and listen for hours.

They are also just plain and simply—Beautiful.

Among the trees, there were also some interesting rock formations. It’s difficult to tell from this photo but this was a gigantic, ~10ft boulder split in two.

I also enjoyed discovering what looked to be partially gnawed pine cones. I learned that squirrels and certain types of birds like woodpeckers and crossbills eat them.

Fun Fact

Apparently, millions of years ago, the Parasaurolophus dinosaurs dined on the pine cone for a savory meal (Gruber, 2017). Want to know more? I found an interesting write up entitled Thirteen Things You Never Knew About Pine Cones. Click the title to follow the link if you’re curious.

Did I mention what a beautiful afternoon it was?

As we marched onward, the trail opened up the views I had been patiently waiting for—Mountains.

I never tire of these views. Call it a hunch but I think I’m a mountain girl! What about you? Do you prefer desert, mountains, oceans, or grasslands?

After reaching what seemed to be the highest point on the trail, it leveled off a bit and another mile or so down we hit the first of two bench lakes.

Lake 1—Wow.

What more can I say?

There really are no words. It was peaceful, stunning, and the only chatter was that of the wildlife and the group I was with. Nothing beats having something like this nearly all to yourself. I’m so selfish, I know.

Lake 2 was equally as pristine with clear water sparkling in the mid day sun.

What a perfect day.

Boise, Idaho

Adelmann Mine Trail

While it is hard to top the magnificence of Stanley, Boise does offer a diverse selection of hikes. Those brown hills may not look like much from afar, but there is another world awaiting the investigative soul.

Debbie, Jacquie and I ventured out to see the Adelmann Mine for the first time. I’d been eager to check this place out for some time now. The mine sits at roughly 5,098 ft and offers some spectacular views of the foothills.

We couldn’t have picked a better time to go. The mine was initially the sought after pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I am here to tell you with the flora in full bloom, the entire trail was a gift that kept giving.


I’m not usually one to take loads of flowery photos, but I just couldn’t help myself. There were so many colors, species, and textures. I wish I would have had a different lens in order to capture what I was seeing through my eyes.

Can you spot the lady bug?
What about the snuggling bees?

It was literally, a visual paradise.

Back to the hike

We hiked on…

and on…

and on…

Past the gate, welcoming us in…

Past the grass, tickling our shins.

Past the birdhouse, sitting upon a tree so charred….

Past droves of mormon crickets, I’ve never laughed so hard!

No photo of the crickets, but I do have a funny story which I will share at the end 🙂

Overall, a full 360 degrees of blissful views.

Ah, Idaho!

A fantastic hike indeed!

The Mine

Then, perfectly situated in the chunks of rock, we spotted the mine!

Can you spot the mine?

It was, for lack of better words…really cool. A definite must see. Hopefully people will continue to be respectful of the historical value and unique experience the mine offers. The trail is becoming more and more popular (thanks to a recent post from the Idaho Statesman) so please, tread lightly and enjoy!

The Van

Progress is slow but steady. I can’t believe we will be leaving Idaho in exactly 32 days! Here are just a few photos of this month’s progress!

Little details (1)
Little Details (2)
Little Details (3)
Driver’s Side

A Big Thanks

My amazing coworkers/friends: Danika, Mallory, Cassandra, Kim.

A big thank you to Cassandra for inviting me to her most amazing dinner party. It was absolutely delicious. I’m going to miss all of your beautiful, smiling, kind faces! Thanks for letting me be a part of your OT family. While our time together was short, it was unforgettable.

Just for Laughs

Earlier, I had mentioned that I had a story about mormon crickets, so here it is.

First, I must ask

Have you ever SEEN a mormon cricket? Ew. These hideous, bulbous bodied creatures look like the offspring of a cockroach and an alien and measure in around 3 inches long. Now seeing one or two of them on the trail is typically no big deal. They can be fun to watch as they hurl their fat, uncoordinated bodies up into the air. Encountering what seemed like millions (though realistically was probably only hundreds) of them, that is a completely different story.

The story

It all started when I noticed some rustling in the nearby bushes. After sighting only a few bees and a lady bug, I thought perhaps something larger was lurking in the brush. Technically speaking, I suppose there was, I just didn’t know it yet.

I hiked on not thinking much about it. As I rounded the next corner, one bush turned into 5, then 10, then my eyes adjusted and I realized the entire hillside was alive. What the $#@&! Up ahead I spotted them everywhere. On the road, in the grass, every nook and cranny imaginable was filled with mormon crickets. In that moment, it was like in the movies when the camera angle adjusts and it seems as if the entire room is closing in— I was suffocating from fear.

Watch the first 4 seconds of this clip to get an idea of what I was going through (mentally).

So there I was—a jerk, a jiggle, a wriggle, a writhe—dodging these damned crickets like a fool. The more I told myself to “chill” because it was “no big deal”, the more anxious I became. Soon, I was laughing hysterically as I high kneed it up (and eventually back down) that hill. I can only imagine the show I was putting on for Debbie and Jacquie as they calmly walked on.

It really was one of the most hysterical moments in all of my 2 years in Idaho. It was as ridiculous as an elephant being afraid of a mouse.

So I leave you with these questions:

What is something (silly or not) you are afraid of?

Do you let these fears keep you from things you want to do?

How do you overcome these fears? Or, how do you think you could overcome these fears (if you haven’t already done so)?

Thanks for reading!

Click here to check out the previous blog: Unshackled: Thoughts from an Untethered Mind.

Until next time…





Gruber, Xaque (2017, December 6) Thirteen Things You Never Knew About Pine Cones. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/thirteen-things-you-never_b_11763858?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAMKr2qfrN0TSdesCq939AO6VKM-GoXUm9jLBGjWtCz4QbOtaY6NMjjFtP1LJ-hJhG1GasLd2wisqNuB-bcUc4B5CNqHRCW7kn2Q0Lk4Tnd6uGwCo1W3qYKmbPLqfY8a2y-eHt5ggB4Tx6iRFASC_vEQnuhZm05RzfAJOHV2-qRYr

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Travel blogger, photographer, and adventure seeker with a goal to live my best life before my time is up.

2 Responses

  1. Marsha Kyle

    Love your stories…..laughed so hard picturing you with the bugs….as you know I’m very visual.

    You know maybe someday we could meet and camp together!

    • Jenni

      I would love to meetup and camp together! I’m also pretty sure I would have had you rolling on the ground laughing uncontrollably at the sight of me stomping around high kneeing my way through the swarm of crickets! It was quite the site I’m sure! 🙂

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