A friend from Buhl once told me one of the most beautiful drives in all of America in autumn is Interstate 15 from Idaho Falls to Helena.  In late September.  The trip comes with a caveat.  Unless the snow is falling.  A man from Billings warned in late September that the side of the mountain range could suddenly turn inhospitable.  I like going south from Idaho.  Salt Lake City in fall is a lovely place.  Terraformed by early settlers, it offers a variety of colors.  While it may not quite be the maple forests of the northeast, it’s quite colorful.

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I’ll also mention some other places, all considered one-tank trips from Twin Falls.  Idaho City, Boise, and the South Hills.

I have a picture somewhere from the south hills.  It’s a lone tree, about Charlie Brown Christmas size, and the leaves have turned a bright yellow.  It’s all alone among the surrounding vegetation.

Idaho City offers color, and mid-October may be the best time to watch a Boise State football game in person. It’s cool, but not quite cold enough to see your breath.  You can eat a soft pretzel with mustard and your fingers won’t freeze.  The next morning, you can get pumpkin pancakes at your hotel.

Pumpkin flavors should be a year-round treat, but if only for a couple of months, it’s something to anticipate for the rest of the year.

I haven’t visited the panhandle in autumn, but it’s on my bucket list.  I’ve meandered from Moscow to St. Mary’s to Wallace in the summer.  I can only imagine it’s a preview of heaven on a late September or early October day.  With a ball game on the radio and an azure sky.  Have I captured the spirit?

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