Jump Creek Falls

Just outside of a small town called Marsing, Idaho is Jump Creek Canyon. Without GPS it would have been impossible to find as we maneuvered around private land. This one neighbor is obviously FED up with travellers thinking his property was the way to Jump Creek.

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Yikes. We get the hint!

There is an upper trail and a lower trail. The upper one looked a little too advanced for the littles, so we decided to do the lower one. I’m so glad we did! It was not a super long hike, but it was windy and uphill with lots of rocks and slippery gravel. It winds along the stream that comes down from the falls. So, we took our time with the kids, and that was just fine. There were lots of caves and cool rocks to explore on our way.

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The mouth of Jump Creek Canyon

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One of the many caves and caverns we discovered!

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Once we made it to the end of the trail we were pleasantly surprised by the waterfall! It’s not as full as it would be at the end of spring/beginning of summer with most of the snow melt but it was still very awesome. There a good-sized pool underneath that’s perfect for swimming in. It happened to be an extremely hot day too (98) so the kids didn’t mind the chilly water. Shay discovered a cool tunnel right by the waterfall that she liked to explore and climb through. Memphis was content to stand in the shallows and throw rocks, but Calvin and Jess and I braved the cold water for a few minutes.

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When we had our fun with the water, we decided to climb up some rock formations to get a better look at the top of the waterfall.ย  I asked a very drunk gentleman to take our family pic, and thankfully there was one good one, because the rest had his finger in the way!

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On our hike back through the canyon we decided to follow the stream instead of the trail and it was a whole different experience! We had to hold Memphis through some of the deeper water, but most of it he was fine wading through.

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Jump Creek Falls was totally worth it, and I cannot wait to go back and do the upper trail one day!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

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MK Nature Center in Boise

You know what sucks? Sinus infections. Even more so in the middle of the heat of June. Thankfully, a visit to the local Urgent Care has gotten me some meds so hopefully I will be feeling back to my normal self by tomorrow.

So, while I am sick at our temporary home here in Boise it gives me some time to sit down and write about our adventures last week to the Morris Knudsen Nature Center. It’s located on Walnut street behind the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters. It’s also situated right on the Boise river and the green belt of the city.

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The littles LOVED these fish signs!

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We always have a HOOT!

The best thing about the MK Nature Center is it’s FREE! I love some good free fun, and this place offers so much. It’s 4.6 acres of gorgeous forest with an enormous pond and stream in the middle that has board walks to walk and observe the fish. They had some GIANT white sturgeon which the species itself is about 200 Million years old. My kids could not even wrap their heads around the fact that they were looking at something as old as dinosaurs. The longer one was about 7 feet long and 200 lbs!

rawbrunettemknature1rawbrunettemknature2rawbrunettemknauture3rawbrunettemknature12rawbrunettemknature13I could have watched the fish swim around all day, but my littles have much shorter attention spans. So, we kept walking along the stream walk. As you go further up, there are these cool viewing windows that give you a look under the water. There were lots of charts and signs telling us what we were looking at, and the kids really enjoyed it.

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As we made our way down the stream walk, I took a tremendous fall. I was attempting to take a photo, and thought that standing on a log would help me get a better view. Unfortunately for me, the log was not stable so the moment I put my weight on it, the thing rolled from under me. My legs literally went up over my head and I landed on top of the log with my back and my elbow went directly into the ground. It hurt, but thankfully other than some nasty scrapes and bruises I am alright. I am, however, grateful that no one other than my children witnessed my epic fall! After a trip back to the visitor center and some band aids, we continued on our adventures.

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Once we completed the stream walk, we visited the Butterfly Gardens, and then headed back to the visitor center where there was plenty to see and do. They had the cutest little burrowing owl named Hoots, a turtle named Splashy, and a one-eyed American Kestrel named Fiona who were outside that the kids had a good time watching for a while. A very informative employee had a table set up outside with various horns and antlers that the kids could touch and pick up. She even taught us how to tell the animals ages by counting the rings on their horns!

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We finished our day exploring the inside of the visitor center which had plenty to do and see. The kids looked at the different stuffed animals who are native to Idaho. My daughter particularly loved the display about bats, since bats are one of her favorite animals. They also got to say hello to a gopher snake named George, and three adorable tiger salamanders. They made rubbings of different animals and charts, guess what skulls belonged to what animals, and even got to guess how much a newborn black bear cub weighs, (spoiler: it weighs 8 oz! I was surprised too!)

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XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Idaho Botanical Garden

We will be exploring Boise, Idaho for the next few weeks! I absolutely LOVE the gem state, and I may be a bit biased since my hot hubby is an Idaho boy. But I digress. We got to spend some time up here in Boise last summer, and it is such an enchanting city! The people here are so nice too! So, when we found out we would be getting to spend about six weeks here again I was excited. We will be exploring all Boise has to offer so stay tuned!

Yesterday, the littles and I ventured to the Idaho Botanical Garden and it did not disappoint! The garden, which is nestled on about 33 acres of land is beautifully landscaped and had so many trails and pathways to explore. And the smell! That heavenly aroma of flowers was intoxicating! My oldest son had fun reading the names off the plackards of the types of trees, flowers, shrubs, and plants to his younger siblings.

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The cool thing about the botanical garden too, is that it’s right next to the historic Idaho State Penitentiary which is another place we will definitely go visit. So, I found out while we were there that the land the garden is on, was originally part of the prison, and some of the old guard towers are still standing among the gardens. I love that they preserved a part of history.

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You can see part of the outer wall of the prison behind my kids in this photo.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is super kid friendly. There were so many hands on parts of the experience that they loved. The children’s area with the tree house was by far their favorite part. Besides the flowers and exhibits, the amount of wildlife we saw was impressive too. We saw various birds with nests and babies, an adorable baby bunny hopped in our path, about six snakes, tons of lizards, ducks, fish, and squirrels just to name a few! My oldest son, and we were leaving turned to me and said “Mom, when you first told me this morning that we were coming here I was not excited. But this place is AWESOME!” Thats a Mom win if i have ever heard one! I gave myself a high five. I’m so glad my kids had such a great time, and we spent about three hours there but could have easily spent more. We cannot wait to go back! If you’d like to plan your visit to this beautiful place, head to their website here .

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XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Wild Wonders Utah

A few weeks ago our family trekked down to Genola Utah to visit Wild Wonders Utah. I had never heard of Genola before but it was a beautiful drive into southern utah county near Goshen. I had heard about this place from my cousin who volunteers there occasionally. It was amazing! They have a great variety of animals that we were able to interact with, which my kids thought was the coolest ever.

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We had a great time and I definitely recommend it! If you’d like to visit them, make a reservation here

One thing I really enjoyed and made our experience so much better was the dedication and love that these people have for each and every animal that they care for. Most of these animals have been rescued or taken from people who thought they could have them as pets. A lot of them will never be able to be returned to the wild because of that.

My most favorite part was petting the foxes! They were so sweet and super soft. My daughter is OBSESSED with foxes so she was in total heaven! I also faced my fears and put that snake around my neck! I was proud of myself for doing it, and it actually felt really cool. Snakes are surprisingly heavy!ย  Go and check out Wild Wonders Utah! You will not regret it!