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Idaho Travel Guide
Sawtooth Mountains © Paul Frantellizzi
Rugged Idaho occupies an almost mythical place in the American imagination. It was the final home of Ernest Hemingway, and the qualities that transformed the writer into a literary icon are the same that have made Idaho legendary. It is a harsh place of jagged peaks, waterfalls and deep canyon gorges, where the hardiest outdoorsmen can find adventure. But it is a place of stunning beauty as well, where visitors can fall into the soothing rhythm of fly fishing, ski pristine slopes, see wildlife in its natural habitat and experience a dynamic landscape that has, to a large degree, remained unspoiled.
In the early 1800s, explorers Lewis and Clark dazzled Americans back east with descriptions of Idaho, and pioneers began to trickle into the territory, though the state's population did not cross the million mark until the 1980s. Today however, Idaho has changed from outpost to posh locale. The real estate market has exploded, particularly in resort areas, with several celebrities taking up residence. Sun Valley, the state's original ski destination, is now one of the most magnificent vacation spots in the country.
In spite of its popularity, Idaho has maintained its small-town, friendly nature. Boise, the state capital and largest city, has fewer than 200,000 residents. This is Idaho's allure. While it has become the hottest destination for outdoor recreation, from boating and white-water rafting to rock climbing and horseback riding to skiing and dog sledding; Idaho, unlike neighbouring Colorado, remains a hideaway, tucked into a far corner of the country and seemingly impervious to hype. Even the fashionable resort towns, like Sun Valley, Ketchum and Coeur d'Alene, for all their luxury remain laid back and unhurried, almost as if they too are in awe of the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them. (And the potatoes aren't bad either.)
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