The Call of McCall
Idaho isn’t frequently considered a touristy place. Sure, their potatoes are pretty good but I’m not convinced those tubers bring in the crowds. However, Jason and I recently traveled to a slice of Idaho that was perfect for venturesome vacationers such as us.
McCall is a small town situated in the middle of Payette National Forest and on the shores of Payette Lake. It’s a couple hours north of Boise. Hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, boating and horseback riding are all offered near its borders. We became aware of McCall’s existence about six months ago and promptly planned to retreat there.
The drive to McCall took us over seven hours. That’s a little too long for my restless tastes but we split up the journey a little by stopping at Shoshone Falls on the way up and Bruneau Dunes on the way back. While we spent less than an hour at each of these detours, they offered us a welcomed chance to unfold our limbs and discover new territory.
Although we were expecting McCall to be an outdoorsy town, we were surprised by its variety of outdoorsiness. We spent two full days exploring its options but we could have easily spent a few more.
Our first day in McCall, we hiked every single trail in Ponderosa State Park, five and a half miles total. Ponderosa is located on a peninsula that juts out into Payette Lake. Like its name suggests, it’s covered in a lovely pine forest interposed by vibrant meadows and sandy beaches.
We finished up that day with a sunset lake cruise aboard the Idaho. Jason and I toughed it out on the ship’s upper deck as the sun and temperatures plunged in order to have a better view of the beauty around us. If only I’d thought to wear every single layer of clothing I’d packed in my suitcase. Brrr! The sunset was glorious though, one of the best I’ve ever seen. It turned the lake waters a shade of Kool-Aid. (Check out the pictures I took and be prepared not to believe their unedited status.)
The next day, we rented a Four Winns sport boat and spent the afternoon touring the lake. The sunshine was so pleasant in the middle of this voyage that we stopped our vessel and read books on its bow for a while. All hail glorious UV! The weather quickly turned from terribly pleasant to just plain terrible though. A storm circled in suddenly and we found ourselves being assailed by choppy waves and a deluge of rain. Yet, we felt compelled to persist since we still had over an hour left on our rental and wanted to get our money’s worth of suffering.
McCall is a cute lakeside village in a pretty forest. Its outdoor distractions are plentiful and I predict we will return there again for some more striking scenery and striking weather.