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The Idahoan

The Idahoan

(Tips for the prospective Idahoan.)

For you the prospective Idahoan. We already covered the Idahoan’s staple food. The Huckleberry. Now let’s cover the actual Idahoan itself.

We already know, generally speaking, that the Idahoan is a blunt, kind, and a patriotic critter. What you may not know about the Idahoan, it is perplexing, is that they are never happy yet full of joy.

Now the Idahoan is constantly changing their minds. You will hear them complain….. A LOT! So these two things go together to form the perpetually unhappy Idahoan. An example of this was my first year living in Idaho amongst the Idahoan. I heard Idahoans complain about the amount of mosquitos (just so you are aware…. there aren’t any). To prove the point I had a co-worker show me the one welt on their ankle as proof of the quantity and viciousness of their “mossquitos”.

I heard Idahoans complain about the cold in the winter (southerners will find this complaint valid, Alaskans and Midwesterners will laugh). Then, when it warms up they will complain about the heat. The thing you have to realize is that the heat here is a dry heat. Meaning you can go in the shade and it gets cooler! (If you happened to be near a midwesterner or southeasterner, look at the disbelief in their face…… cooler in the shade pppffffffft!) In the spring the Idahoan will complain about the amount of rain and clouds they are getting. Then when it is dry and cloudless you will hear them wishing for rain.

Then comes they other half of the Idahoan. Strangely full of joy. If you heard an Idahoan during a complaint phase you may think they are a supremely unhappy person. But as stated above they can be perplexing. Because, the Idahoan, in general, will put their complaints, ailments, injuries and problems aside to help you. They will smile and be genuinely happy to help.

The Idahoan, although they can complain is also supremely happy with where they live. If they have moved (even within the state) it was due to work, health, or family. The choice to move away was not made lightly. An Idahoan away from Idahome is definitely scheming to get back.

They are also able to enjoy the different things they complain about…. Heat? Let’s go swimming! More snow than the winter of ’96 (apparently it was legendary)? Let’s snowboard, ski, snowmobiling etc! An Idahoan will let you know what they think of the situation (complain), but then they will help you figure out how to make the best of it.

So! If you haven’t had the pleasure of conversing with an Idahoan….. go out and find one! Grab a coffee with them, Speak to them, Kindness will follow!


The Huckleberry…

The Huckleberry…

(Tips for the prospective Idahoan.)

Huckleberries. A strange little thing. The quickest way to start a war or thank a North Idahoan revolves around this strange little berry.

If you would like to offend the Idahoan I can give you the quickest route. The Huckleberry.

As in my previous post (on North Idaho Life), I informed you the Idahoan is a fiercly patriotic/loyal creature; to their country, state and county. But that pales in comparison to how a North Idahoan feels about Huckleberries.

Let me explain. To those of you who don’t know what a Huckleberry is look at the provided photos and educate yourself. You will NOT be accepted by the Idahoan until, at least once, your fingers have been stained purply-blue.

Now! Don’t you dare say they are blueberries! Goodness me. If you do that in front of, within earshot of, or in a fashion that an Idahoan will find out you said it you best look out. It doesn’t matter that they are in the same family. It doesn’t matter if researchers have a hard time telling the difference. It doesn’t matter that when you finally get up to that mountain and find them you will find out these berries come in a multitude of different sizes, colors and flavors (explained below). Get this in your head now rookie! If it is found on the mountain it is a Huckleberry. If you can pick it at a farm or buy it at the store, THAT is a blueberry. Okay. We saved you some grief.

The next way to get an Idahoan riled up is by asking them where they pick their berries. Jeeze! If the icy stare isn’t enough to scare you away and you are silly enough to persist…. well I wish you the best. I doesn’t matter if the Idahoan found a 50 acre patch with more berries than they could eat in a lifetime! They will put a ribbon on a tree branch, punch it into their GPS, and make whoever happened to be with them swear an oath of secrecy. This isn’t a game folks, it’s Huckleberries!

The actual berry is quite interesting. The flavor ranges from a real smokey flavor, to really sweet, to tart. They range in colors from black, red, purple, and…….. blue (THEY ARE NOT BLUEBERRIES!). Sizes go from tiny to grape size.

Bushes will be real short to the ground to higher than you knee….. well my knee, I don’t know how tall you are. They will range from bright green leaves to autum colors depending on their life cycle.

Early in the season (late June/early July) they will be found at low altitude. They will ripen later and later the higher you go.

So! We covered how to offend the Idahoan and what we are looking for when you go out. (For crying outloud TRY to have local-ish plates when you go out. Rent a car, borrow a friends, hitch hike… walk.) Now let’s cover the positives.

From my extensive (not really) research into the subject, if you want to win some favor points with an Idahoan, present them with Huckleberries. You could give them an old milk jug with leaves, stems, bugs and dirt. It will be as if you were giving them a long lost friend. They will smile, thank you, pretend they couldn’t accept them. Then they will tell you what they plan to do with them, just to put you at ease that those precious little gems won’t go to waste. Imagine the points you get if you minimally process/clean them or make them into a pie or other dessert. This is multiplied if you have heard the Idahoan complain about not being able to get up in the mountains to pick because of some reason or another. I believe if the Hatfield or McCoy families would have given the other side a Huckleberry pie all would have been forgiven.

So, my prospect Idahoan, get some good shoes on, get a recepticle of some sort, start driving mountain roads and look for those elusive (not really at all) Huckleberries!

Remember, when people ask if you went Huckleberry hunting, where you went and how much you got. The answers are Yes, in the mountains, and I did not get enough for you.

With these tips you are on your way to being a true Idahoan.


Our lovely Marmot tent

Our lovely Marmot tent

Who would have thought that I could love a tent as much as I do? Our  Marmot Halo 6 person tent has been used for several years now, and it very quickly became our favorite. We have used several other name brand tents in the past, but there has always something that broke easily or was inconvenient about them. This tent has been amazing.  The poles are STRONG. There are tabs on the corners that are color coded, allowing  you to put the rain cover on corrctly the first time. Vey easy to assemble overall. A couple of years ago, our then 8 & 6 year old daughters put it up on their own.  That’s how easy it is. 

We now use this tent as our sole car camping tent.  There isnt any reason to have any other. It just works so very well for us! We have actually been considering purchasing a couple of smaller backpacking tents made by Marmot for our family in the future as well- for we will be hiking Glacier Nat. Park this fall, and we  have many multi-day mountain hikes within’ 30 minutes of our home that we hope to hit sometime this season as well. While this tent can be split up between members of your hiking crew and packed into back country spots, it really is far too heavy to do this on your own if you plan on taking one trip. It was intended as a car camping tent- and that is where it shines. 

    If you have a family of 6, This tent has ample room. We gave a family of 5, and feel if we had a couple of friends come along , we would still sleep very comfortably in this tent. With the overhead Halo system, this tent has ample headspace.   Ontop of the ample headroom and sleeping space, this tent also offers 2 spacious vestibules off of each door that serves as a great place to store gear, packs, shoes, etc. If you’re camping in bear country, always be sure to store your food and even dirty clothing at least 150-200 ft from camp, at least 10 ft up in a tree or food storage area.  While you may be tempted to place coolers of food underneath the vestibules- please do not do this.  Keep yourself, your family and the bears safe from unnecessary interactions and store your food properly.   

Happy Camping!

GSI Outdoors camp dishes for everyone! 

GSI Outdoors camp dishes for everyone! 

We recently put a post up on Facebook stating that we would be replacing all of our stoneware with enameled steel camp dishes. I bet some people probably thought we were joking,  but I was serious. I have bought 2 different sets of nice stoneware dishes… and we have destroyed all of them. I have 6 settings left from my last collection that have gotten by with only minor chipping. When you consider I started out with 12 sets, it’s easy to see why I’d try and save what we have before they all disappear. We have succeeded in destroying half of our dishes in less than 3 years. For those of you that can go their entire lives with the same set of dishes and then pass them on to your offspring- I commend you. That is an amazing feat.   The worst part of it all, is this is my second set that we have purchased and destroyed. Not the same brand or design.. but they were both stoneware.   Apparently stoneware wasn’t designed to play Frisbee with. Who knew?   They just don’t work for our family. I know there are other options out there, including Corelle- but I think these camp dishes will probably work best for our needs. Now we can bring half of the kitchen with us when we go camping now, too!

Looking forward to seeing how these will hold up for our rowdy bunch.

Since I bought both a table setting and the Pioneer camp set, we now have a kettle, little frying pan and a cooking pot that we will probably use exclusively for when we go camping. The camping season is right around the corner- we can’t wait!