Student Experience Blog

Down by the River

There is a reason they call it ‘the dog days of summer.’ It’s so hot here in Idaho, my neighbor began suffering from mild hallucinations that he was a border collie named Trixie who likes long walks on the beach and chasing the mailman.

I’m joking, of course, but seriously, it’s pretty hot here. Most Idahoans have their own special summertime remedy to beat the heat. Usually, my preferred method is to huddle reclusively in the darkest depths of my well air-conditioned home with a popsicle in one hand and a good book in the other, all the while hissing dangerously whenever my mother wanders in and says “Honey, maybe it’s time to go outside for a little while.”

I’m pale-skinned and it’s pushing 105 out there. You can bet your bottom dollar that any extended visit outdoors is going to end with me crying embarrassingly as I rub liberal amounts of aloe over my sunburnt skin.

But today, I decided to venture out of the controlled-climate comfort of my room in favor of heading out on an adventure in Boise with my friends. Mainly because I was getting sick of only having my cat as company (she’s dreadful conversation, since she never lets you get a word in edgewise) but also because nothing counteracts the blistering effects of the sun quite like floating down the shores of the Boise River.

It’s an almost surreal experience; here you are in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Boise, yet as you wind your way down the river the whole world seems to quiet and you are left with this beautiful view and a relaxing sense of calm. It was, quite simply, perfection.

The best part of floating the river is that even the city knows that yeah, it’s miserably hot, and does everything in its power to accommodate people. A shuttle arrives every hour to take you to Barber Park, enabling you to simply park in Ann Morrison Park and float your way back down.

Luckily, Ann Morrison Park is beautiful and offers an adventure of its own. Because, if you are like me and my friends and accidentally miss the shuttle, you are going to need to entertain yourself until the next one comes. Also, those of the direction-impaired persuasion can rest easy, as the river is punctuated with signs for floaters to know just where exactly they are and where they need to go in order to get where they need to be (try saying that five times fast).

The people you see floating the river alongside you are as diverse as the city itself. My friends and I encountered a group of teenage boys who seemed to be doing their best impression of Peter Pan’s band of rambunctious lost boys, a trio of people meditating in the sunset, and a family whose small daughter waved excitedly at us as she passed. And, as we walked along the greenbelt back to our car, we even managed to glimpse an endangered species: the Rollerblader. Once flourishing in the mid-1980’s, the Rollerblader has been mocked almost to extinction and is rarely seen outside of coastal California. They are easily spotted by their usual affinity for neon clothes, super sweet jumping skills, and hand gloves.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my water-proof camera with me in order to properly document just how wonderful of a view people floating down the river get to experience, so you’ll have to settle for a picture of me and my friends after we got out of the water two hours later. I’m the one on the end, rockin’ the Star Trek shirt with style. Tired and only slightly burnt, we were headed to another place on Boise’s must-have list: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Their homemade French fries are the food equivalent of a warm hug from your grandmother and it was the perfect end to our day.

Well that’s it for me this week, readers. I’ve sufficiently reached the maximum level of Vitamin D I can handle and shall be retreating back to my house for the foreseeable future. Good luck out there for all of you also struggling against the sun. Keep fighting the good fight.

-Ashley Miller

Ashley is a sophomore Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.