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We headed up Hwy 55 going to Garden Valley’s Lantern Festival with great vibes and adventure in mind. On the way, we passed cold, wet roads from melted snow, but higher up we were shown nature’s hidden winter wonderland. Snow tipped pine along the Payette River’s bank, low current with an icy sting and beautiful hues as the sun sets for the last time in 2019.
On our way into town, the snow began to fall and the light faded away.
After getting some local shots around town we started to wonder where we should grab a quick bite and a drink before the event began. We landed at the Two Rivers Bar and Grill.
Vintage wood decor, a great selection of beer on tap, a wide variety of liquor, fine dinner selections, and delightful appetizers sum up the Two Rivers. I ordered the cheese curds because I’ve never had them fried before, they were amazing! The marinara dipping sauce must have been one of those secret recipes because I’ve had many different types of marinara and that is one for the books.
After a few drinks, we said our goodbyes and made our way to the event.
Walking in the snow with a lantern I’m about to send up to start the new year right. The field is filled with people in groups huddled around small fires. Kids of all ages, moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, generations together, at the same time in the same place doing the same thing. I’m held in awe over this gathering, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I’ve only seen something like this in a movie shot in Thailand. The tradition seemed so cool and I always wanted to go there and do it, but now I get to experience it here in Crouch, Idaho of all places!
Lanterns were opened and prepped to be lit. Some skilled individuals lit theirs on their own and sent them up. Some of us others had a little help when needed. When my lantern had enough hot air inside I released it and watched it rise in the night. It lifted higher and higher and joined with the rest until I couldn’t tell it apart. Some send wishes up, some send prayers. Some send greetings and some send goodbyes. Hundreds of lanterns in the air, decorating the night sky and bringing in the new year.
As we headed back to the truck we heard families talk of their plans for the evening; dinner at moms, fireworks, and games, bar hoppin’ and beer drinking. We came down the mountain jammin’ out to the ’80s while I was kinda in my own meditation and reflection. What a great night in Garden Valley. I wish I could’ve stayed…
….when can I come back? 😉
If you’ve never been to the Garden Valley area you are missing out! Get up and GO! check out one of the hidden gems in the state of Idaho!
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