Courageous Travels: Boise, ID

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6


Day 1

Hello Courageous Travels!!

We are headed to Boise for the week!! This will be our first time visiting Idaho and everyone is so excited!!

We started our day off greeting Bartek W., Susie S., and Katie S. at camp. We then made our way to Coralville to pick up Floyd M. Our last stop to pick up travelers was in Walcott. We greeted travelers Dawn V., Tom K., Eric P., Kathy K., Mary Ellen W., Randy F., and Kathy C. We also met up with volunteer, Nila.

We then made our way to Chicago, where we are staying the night. When we arrived at the hotel we greeted volunteer Deb H., who is helping us out tonight and Thursday night. We will meet up with our final volunteer, Kristina in Boise.

Once we checked in to the hotel we walked across the parking lot to Chedddar’s. We had a delicious meal then headed back to the hotel to get some rest. We have to be up bright and early in the morning.

Stay tuned to our adventures in Boise!!

– Travel Team


Day 2

Hello Courageous Travels!!

We have made it to Boise!!!  We started our day before the sun even came up! We left our hotel shortly before 4:30am and headed to the airport.

Once we checked in and got through security we made our way to our gate and ordered breakfast. Then our gate changed to the other side of the airport! So we grabbed our gear and made our way to our new gate. The travelers were troopers! At the new gate, we enjoyed some breakfast before boarding the plane.

The flight was a little over three hours and most of us took a nap! This was traveler Eric’s first time on a plane and he enjoyed it! Before we knew it we were in Boise!! Volunteer Kristina was waiting for us at the airport and had already grabbed all of our luggage for us! We then grabbed some lunch at the airport before heading outside to wait for our ride. We had special transportation lined up to take us around Boise this week! A trolley! Julia, our driver picked us up in her red and green trolley! We greeted Julia, boarded the trolley and we were off to our hotel in style! Along the way Julia pointed out various buildings and answered lots of our questions. She also told us that Boise is the fastest growing city in the nation right now! We could see the mountains as we drove along and it was a pretty sight to see! Once we arrived at our hotel, we checked in to our rooms and relaxed for a little bit before heading to the Capitol Building.

Julia came back to get us about an hour later and then dropped us off right in front of the capitol. We took a few pictures of the beautiful building before heading inside for our tour. Once inside we were greeted by our tour guide John. John took us to the Welcome Room where John told us that the Capitol opened in 1905 and then expanded in 2005. John also shared with us that back in the mid 1800s there was a contest held to design the Idaho State Seal and that a women by the name of E.E. Green won that contest. We also learned that John used to live in Davenport! He was the second person that we met today that had ties to Davenport! What a small world! He loved that we were from Iowa! John was really great with our group, answered all of our many questions and joked around with us.
John first took us up to the 4th floor where we saw a few statues, one was a wooden stature of George Washington on a horse that was painted gold and the other was of the goddess Nike, who personified victory. John told us that this capitol was known as the “Capitol of Light” because there were so many windows and skylights that you didn’t really need to turn on any lights in the building and he was right! We also learned that the building had geothermal heating so there was hot water running under the building to help heat it. So cool!
We then made our way to the 3rd floor, where we visited the Senate Chamber. John told us that the Senate Chamber was decorated in red and that the House of Representative Chamber was decorated in blue. We also learned that Idaho had 30 senators and 70 representatives. We got to be on the floor of the Senate Chambers and sit at the desks! John also took us to the JFAC room (Joint Finance Appropriations Committee), which used to be the Supreme Court room and the Governor’s Office. All of the rooms were beautifully decorated and the travelers loved learning all about what took place in each room. John gave us a great tour!! At the end of the tour, we thanked John and headed back outside, where Julia was picking us up.
We then made our way to dinner at a restaurant called Elmer’s. This restaurant served breakfast all day so many of us choose to have breakfast for dinner! The food was delicious and the portions were huge! Now, today is a special day! Today is traveler Floyd M’s birthday!! Floyd was excited to be spending his birthday in Boise! The employees at Elmer’s brought out an apple crepe with a candle for Floyd and we all sang “Happy Birthday”! Everyone else got a special treat too, ice cream sundaes!! What better way to celebrate a birthday than being on vacation and having dessert?? Happy Birthday, Floyd!!
After dessert, we walked next door to our hotel and settled in for the night. We were up really early this morning so everyone was ready to get some rest and we are doing just that! We have a full fun filled day tomorrow exploring more of Boise! Stay tuned!
– Travel Team

Day 3

Hello Courageous Travels!

The travelers are having a great time in Boise! This morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel before getting picked up by Julia, the trolley driver. Julia and her trolley tour service are providing our transportation today, and our first stop was Boise State University and the Allen Noble Hall of Fame.
The travelers were learning about all of Boise State’s different athletic programs and the amount of trophies they’ve accumulated over the years. Boise State University was created in 1932, so there’s been almost 90 years of athletics! Susie loved walking through Boise State’s history! Boise State was also the first university to have a non-green turf football field. Their turf is blue for the school’s colors, and it’s know as The Blue or Smurf Turf. The travelers enjoyed getting to see this big blue field and getting pictures with it. It was Tom and Katie’s favorite part and we even looked up other schools with non-green turfs.
It wouldn’t be a vacation without purchasing some souvenirs! The travelers were very thrilled to go to the Bronco Store and purchase some Boise State Bronco memorabilia. The trolley was filled with blue and orange as we began our Boise Trolley Tour!
Julia was a fantastic tour guide who loved nonsense and fun facts, and the travelers only had good things to say about her! Fun fact: some potatoes can grow to be the size of footballs. We drove past the old Boise train depot and saw an old steam engine. There was also a large mosaic of a wheel in the middle of the road. Two women spent over two months to create that mosaic. Dawn thought the trolley tour was so fun! Randy enjoyed asking questions and learning all about Boise’s history and culture!
Along our tour we passed the oldest Jewish Synagogue in the nation and we learned that Boise’s first grocery store was Albertsons. Albertsons brought the idea of a “one stop shop” to stores. We also learned that Abe Lincoln was the one who created the Idaho territory. They have a statue of Abe Lincoln in of the cities many parks.
We drove through the Julia Davis Park, which was the first park in Boise, and saw lots of different statues and old buildings. We even drove past the O’Farrell Cabin, which was the first home ever in Boise! Some of the roads we were driving on used to be part of the old Oregon Trail, and the travelers thought that was so cool! After our tour we were dropped off at Lucky Fins Grill for a delicious lunch.
After a delicious lunch we stopped at a souvenir shop called Taters that was right next door. The travelers got some really great Idaho souvenirs! We then hopped back on the trolley and Julia took us to the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This penitentiary was used for 101 years from 1872-1973. This penitentiary started off as one building and grew into several buildings on over 4 acres!
When we arrived, our tour guide Jacey greeted our group and our tour began! We started off the tour in the administration building which was where the warden’s office was. Jacey told us some history about the penitentiary and how the guards had to flip a switch each time they went out into the yard. These switches would turn a light on by their name so everyone knew which officers were outside. Jacey then led us out into the yard and we went into the “2 House” where we got to see some cells up close. There were three levels of cells in this building. Each cell had two beds and a vented area for the inmate’s honey pot (bathroom) since this building didn’t have any plumping. Jacey told us many different facts such as that the youngest inmate was 10 years old and that there were 500 escape attempts but only 90 were successful. Jacey also shared with us that most inmates had jobs around the prison including building buildings and landscaping.
Our next stop was “3 House” where we got to see more cells up close. These cells had plumbing so they consisted of 2 beds, a sink and a toilet. These cells had plaques of the doors that told about inmates that stayed in those cells. Next we walked outside through the yard, passing by two buildings that were burned during a riot in 1973. They were never rebuilt so they remain as they were after the fires. One building was the original penitentiary building which was turned into a chapel after the penitentiary expanded. The other building was the kitchen and dining halls.
We then made our way to “Siberia” or solitary. Once part of the building contained a few solitary confinement cells which were very tiny and didn’t have anything in them. There was a very small skylight in the ceiling and the door and a small opening in order to get food to the inmate. Randy, Susie, Mary Ellen and Bartek went inside one of the cells! Jacey told us that the longest stretch of time that an inmate did in solitary was 15 months!! The other part of the building was known as “The Cooler”. This was also an area for inmates that need to cool off by themselves for a bit. These cells were slightly bigger than solitary.
Our next stop on the tour was a basketball court where the inmates could play basketball or tennis. Jacey said that before it was a basketball court it was a baseball field. He told us that the penitentiary even had a baseball team called the Outlaws! They would bring teams in to play the inmates. Right across from the basketball court was “5 House” or Maximum Security. Inside this building Jacey showed the travelers the jail keys and they got to unlock and lock up the cells! Tom, Floyd, Susie and Randy got to take a turn! We then got the chance to go inside these cells as well! Our next stop was upstairs which is where Death Row and the Gallows were located. For those who preferred not to go up the steps, Jacey had photos of all of the areas that were upstairs so no one had to miss out! We got to take a peak inside of the cells on Death Row and go into the Gallows room. Bartek got to unlock this door! Jacey told us that there were only 10 executions (all by hanging) that took place at this penitentiary and only 1 occurred in the Gallows room, the rest took place in the yard.
After we explored “5 House” our guided tour was over and we were able to go explore other exhibits on our own. Our first stop was the J.C. Earl Weapons Exhibit. This exhibit was not related to the prison history. This exhibit was a collection of weapons donated by J.C. Earl and it contained all kinds of weapons including grenades, swords, spearheads and a variety of guns. This exhibit even had a replica of a WWII trench! We also got to stop in the laundry building which had large old time machinery that the inmates used to do the laundry for Gowen Field and the Mountain Home Air Force Base. We then made our way over to the Trusty Dorm which had various photo opportunities. So we took advantage and took lots of pictures! Right next to that was the Barbershop which now house the “Marked Man” exhibit which showed us various prison tattoos and talked about how inmates would come up with all kinds of different ways to make tattoos. One technique was to burn plastic spoons and mix the residue with shampoo or toothpaste to create an ink they called ‘smut”.
We then made our way to the gift shop! This was our third gift shop of the day and the travelers were so happy for another opportunity to shop! Kathy K. and Kathy C said their favorite part of the day was all of the shopping! After the got their shopping fix we walked across the path to the women’s ward. In this building we got to see the women’s jail cells and we learned that there were 223 women incarcerated during the time this ward was open and that the max number of women they had at one time was 17 in 1965.
We had a fantastic time exploring the Old Idaho Penitentiary! Eric and Floyd said they really enjoyed the tour of the penitentiary. Mary Ellen and Bartek said they enjoyed all of the activities today! When we were finished, Julia picked us up and she continued her trolley tour on our way to dinner. She pointed out the first home in the nation that had geothermal heat (she had also told us earlier that geothermal heating was started in Boise!). She also pointed out a castle! This castle is only 7 years old! The travelers thought it was a really cool building! Julia also took us passed the only Anne Frank Memorial in the nation. There was construction going on but we could see a statue of Anne among many of her quotes in this memorial.
Julia then took us to Papa Joes, where we had a delicious Italian dinner! The travelers sure had worked up quite the appetite! After our meal we walked the short distance to our hotel and everyone is now relaxing and getting some rest for our last full day in Boise tomorrow!
– Travel Team

Day 4

Hello Courageous Travels!

We had another great day in Idaho!! After a delicious breakfast at our hotel we were pick up by our driver for the day, Mariah (who we learned was from Iowa!) We climbed aboard the mini bus and made our way to Twin Falls, ID to visit Shoshone Falls.

It was a two hour drive to Shoshone Falls Park so we enjoyed the scenery of Idaho and some took a little nap. There were mountains in the distance as we drive through the desert areas of Idaho. We passed areas of flat desert terrain with few bushes or other greenery and then we would pass areas with fields of greenery and even a few farms. It’s always so cool to see how each state is so different. The travelers loved the drive!

As we were approaching the Shoshone Falls Park, we caught glimpses of the Falls and the surrounding areas! It was breathtaking!! Everyone was “oohing” and “awwing” at the view! We drove to the top of the overlook and hopped off the bus. There was a small concession stand with souvenirs! The travelers were super excited about this and stopped to shop before checking out the Falls.

Shoshone Falls is known as the “Niagara of the West”. It was absolutely beautiful! Julia, our driver from yesterday, told us that Shoshone Falls is deeper than Niagara Falls. We could view the Falls from the top of the overlook and they also had a balcony we could walk out on that was down a few steps. We snapped lots of pictures! We even spotted a rainbow!! It’s amazing how we had just driven through the desert and now we were looking over a beautiful waterfall! It was definitely worth the drive to visit!

The second part of our day consisted of traveling to Hagerman Valley, ID where we went on a scenic boat tour and lunch cruise with 1000 Springs Tours! Captain Omar and his crew were were very hospitable and knowledgeable about the Snake River. The first hour of the boat ride was the tour and we traveled upstream. We saw a hydroelectric power plant next to Miller Falls that has enough juice to power up to 4,000 houses! The Falls is named after Minne Miller, the first dairy farmer in Idaho. We saw lots of different animals on this boat ride; there were a pair of Osprey that had a nest built out of orange and blue twine, go Broncos! Floyd absolutely loved seeing all the fish, which were huge! There were even a few pelicans and blue herons flying around. We even learned that in the side of a wall of pillow lava rock, there were barn owls living in holes. Next to the pillow lava rock was a frog-shaped rock, and we learned that it fell during one of the tours!
We visited a lot of springs during the boat tour; like Blue Harbor Spring and Box Canyon Spring. The springs had such clear water and the travelers loved being able to see in the water. During the second hour of our tour, we enjoyed a catered lunch of pork, chicken, alfredo noodles, fresh fruit, cheesecake, and more! The travelers were sad when the tour ended but made sure to take lots of pictures with Captain Omar and the crew!
On our way back to Boise, we had quite the adventure. Our bus was running out of gas! We got off the highway to go to a gas station but that gas station was no longer there. So we made our way along the back road that would take us to the next closest gas station. We made some calls a the employees at the gas station were willing to drive some gas out to us. While we were waiting, volunteer Kristina led the travelers in a game of “Would You Rather” and Dawn led the group in singing the Camp Courageous Song! Kody even led the Mr. Moon song! A nice lady names Laura, had overheard the employees at the gas station talking about a bus running out of gas. She lived near by where we were and had some gas at home so she brought us a few gallons! Thank you to Laura and the employees of that Sinclair station! We were back on the road in now time! When we finally arrived in Boise, we were met with a surprise visit from Kihley Hubbard, former Camp Courageous counselor! Melissa and Kihley brought over Subway sandwiches and chips for dinner and the travelers had a picnic in the lobby! After a long day, the travelers were ready for bed. So now everyone is settled in their rooms and resting up for our final day in Boise!
-Travel Team

Day 5

Hello Courageous Travels!!
It was our last day in Boise! The travelers were sad that their vacation has come to an end but we had one last activity before beginning our journey back home. After breakfast at our hotel we walked down to Julia Davis Park, which was where the Boise Zoo is located. We arrived right right when the zoo opened at 9am. We split up into groups and went off to explore the zoo! The Boise Zoo was a nice little zoo and we were able to cover just about all of it! We saw all kinds of animals such as monkeys, zebras, lions, red fox, giraffes, bats, porcupines, penguins and more!
Some groups went towards Africa first so they could see the lions and zebras! Randy’s favorite animal is the lion so he was excited to see them! Tom and Kathy K were looking forward to seeing the zebras! We also saw a couple giraffes in that area, this was Susie and Mary Ellen’s favorite!
Other groups headed towards the rainforest and petting zoo first. There were llamas and goats that came right up to us! Eric warned us to watch out for the llamas because they spit! Luckily this llama only gave us a big toothy grin! Susie got to pet a couple of the goats!
Dawn’s favorite animal of the day was the monkeys while Katie loved getting to see a snow leopard! Eric enjoyed seeing the many different types of birds and Floyd thought the Komodo Dragon was really cool! Kathy C loved the red fox and Bartek enjoyed watching the Sloth Bear. This bear looked so fluffy! Unfortunately, the zoo didn’t have any tigers anymore but they had a tiger skull and a tiger hide that Floyd, Tom, Kathy K and Randy got to pet! So cool!
After exploring the zoo, we made our way to the gift shop and then grabbed lunch and enjoyed our lunch at some outdoor picnic tables. After lunch, we walked back to the hotel and got our luggage ready. Our shuttles picked us up and took us to the airport and we quickly got check in. We were at our gate in no time and watched the many planes and helicopters that went by. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Kristina and board the plane. All of the travelers gave Kristina a hug and then we made our way onto the plane. We had a smooth flight to Chicago and arrived around 9:30pm.
We grabbed our luggage and headed outside to wait for volunteer Deb, who was picking us up. Right as we got outside she pulled out so it was perfect timing! We loaded the bus and made our way to our hotel. Everyone got settled in their rooms to get some rest.
-Travel Team

Day 6

Hello Courageous Travels!
We are back after our wonderful week in Boise, Idaho!
We started our day, eating breakfast at the hotel and packing everything up. We said goodbye to our dear friend Deb in Boilingbrook, Illinois, it was so great of her to help us out last night and this morning. Once everyone was on the bus we made our way back to Iowa.
We stopped at Culver’s in Davenport, Iowa for lunch. The manager, Larry, surprised our travelers with some frozen custard for dessert! It was such a nice gesture after all the traveling we had done.
In Davenport, we said goodbye to many of our travelers. Kathy C, Kathy K, Randy, Tom, Eric, Dawn, and Mary Ellen were all picked up and they headed home talking about how much fun they had and what their favorite experiences were. We also said goodbye to volunteer Nila, she was such a great help this week!
The remaining travelers got back on the bus and we made our way to Coralville, Iowa. Here, we said farewell to Floyd, he said he was going to miss us after such a fun week.
After Coralville, we made our way back to Camp Courageous where we said goodbye to our final three travelers; Katie, Susie, and Bartek.
We had such a great week, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of all the volunteers, so thank you. And thank you to all the travelers for making this trip so great!
– Travel Team

3 Responses

  1. Bozena Waclawik says:

    Thank you for the detailed journal of the trip and all the nice pictures. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing that Bartek and the other travelers have so much fun.
    Thanks to all staff and volunteers, thank you Camp Courageous.

  2. Celeste Crowley says:

    Thank you Melissa and all the volunteers. My sister Kathy C. Had a great time and most of our siblings have checked out the blog and enjoyed hearing about the trip. Boise sounds like a great place and who realized that it was so interesting

  3. Veronica Swift says:

    Thank you so very much for the travel blog. I take notes so I can have some talking points with Kathy C, my sister, when I see her.