Warning: I am going to gush about living here with the force of the Payette River rapids above Horseshoe Bend in the Boise National Forest. We’re talking the level of gushing whitewater from Smiths Ferry to Banks and beyond. You will just have to endure this Class IV rapid of praise and humor a guy who has begun to inhale Idaho.
Two summers ago I was finding my way around and getting acclimated to dealing with dusk at 10 p.m. and living with the temptation of Goody’s confections that beckoned from my above-garage apartment in Hyde Park. Last summer my wife and I were coming off a bumpy health crisis and were just glad to be here, taking short Foothills walks, venturing out on bike rides up to the Bench and contemplating the spectacle of folks on ice blocks navigating Simplot Hill beneath that majestic sky and flag.
This year, we were ready, and the charms of spring and summer came like nonstop ripples kissing the banks of the Boise and the shores of Quinn’s Pond. Though it has been impossible to participate in all of it, just knowing it is there for the taking makes you feel a part of it, and proud.
I’ll begin at Treefort in March because that particular event took me by surprise and set me up for things like Robie Creek and the first farmers markets in April and Alive after Five later on. During Treefort I found myself lurking outside the Cathedral of the Rockies praying for tickets or even to get a glimpse of Josh Ritter, just a live verse from “Girl in the War” or maybe “Idaho,” channeling his Moscow roots.
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Though getting inside to hear Ritter didn’t work out, it was nice to meet half of Portland in the church parking lot and get amped for the weekend. I still listen to an iPhone clip I took of a Portland jam band that burned a whole through the sheets of the Linen District that Saturday night.
Before I knew it the summer events and attractions were coming at us like endless exit signs on a road trip: the season curtain-raiser of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival; Wine Month (June) and Savor Idaho; a welcome invasion of some of the best youth soccer players in the country; the Iron Man; the 100th anniversary of the Snake River Stampede; an evening with Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson outdoors at the Ford Amphitheater; more Fourth of July events than you can attend; the Boise Open; the Boise Twilight Criterium; “The Book of Mormon”; the Basque bookends of the Soccer Friendly and now Jaialdi, which is just underway.
The offerings within and beyond the Treasure Valley are varied and rich and speak to the way Idahoans live and enjoy themselves. I can’t name them all or attend them all, but the 2015 lineup must be one of the most entertaining and enchanting summers ever.
Word must be getting out to the other 49 states, because it has been the first year I have had such heavy visitation from friends, family and people showing up who claim they know me just so they can reserve a night’s lodging and partake of the seasonal charms.
We don’t mind. We want to share.
Even one of the summer’s just-completed hit TV series “Wayward Pines” (Fox) was set in Idaho (though actually filmed in Canada) in a “Twilight Zone”-like community vaguely situated in a valley ringed by mountains and dense woods — somewhere just beyond “Boise.” The writers correctly chose Idaho as the locale to reboot a civilization. Brilliant idea, especially if the restart is during summer.
I won’t spoil any of the “Wayward Pines” plot for you because you can still binge-watch it if you ever stop patronizing the summer festivals. Let Idaho spoil you. The summer entertainment events and natural attractions are irresistible.
Last night’s 50-degree evening air somehow conjured a dream of a chorizo-on-a-stick concession on the Basque Block, where singers and dancers entertained as you waited in line.
I want to see if that comes true.
Robert Ehlert is the Statesman's editorial page editor. Reach him at 377-6437 or follow @IDS_HelloIdaho