Horizon Air hits region's scenic byways
From the air, it is hard to appreciate the virtues of highways that slice through Idaho’s vast southwest corner. Jet trails don’t do justice to the terrain and the beauty found along the network of scenic highways.
But Spokane writer Linda Hagen Miller translated the visual cornucopia into words that meander through a 13-page spread in Horizon Air. The March edition of Horizon Airline’s monthly publication traced Hagen Miller’s journey through Idaho’s highly acclaimed wine-producing region that recently was dubbed the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA).
“In April, the U.S. Government designated the 8,263-square-mile region – which extends from roughly the town of Weiser in the west to Twin Falls in the east – an AVA, in recognition of its unique geography, weather and growing season,” she writes.
Those same amenities led to creation of Idaho’s newest – and one of its most diverse – state scenic byways, the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway. Indeed, that agricultural diversity is among the chief reasons the route was added to the state’s portfolio of scenic routes in October. The new scenic byway incorporates something absent from all other byways in Idaho – the scent of ripening grapes, blossoming fruit trees, hops and other agricultural crops that flourish in the region.
Hagen Miller focused on the area’s unique flavors that go by such European names as cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah, and culinary delights such as grass fed lamb, Kobe beef, exotic cheeses, free-range elk, chickens and rabbits and Idaho staples – potatoes and salmon.
But the thread that linked her epicurean adventure comes in the form of Idaho’s scenic highways. The author indicated her itinerary included forays on the Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway (a local route), Ponderosa Pine Byway (Idaho 21), the Sawtooth Scenic Byway (Idaho 75), and a well-known, well-traveled route off the byway system – the Boise River Greenbelt.
A spectacular view of the Boulder Mountains near Stanley served as an appropriate window to the Horizon Air travel journal. Idaho photographer Steve Platzer took the cover photograph that merges a field of blooming gold and purple, feather-like deciduous trees, rocky mountain crags and brilliant sapphire skies.
“After four days of total immersion in locally crafted wines, spirits, menus, and sustainable farming and ranching, it’s clear to me that the world deserves to know that Idaho is about much, much more than potatoes,” Hagen Miller concludes.
For air travelers who want to experience first-hand the vistas, aromas and flavors described in Horizon Air magazine, the only true connection is Idaho’s scenic byways. Information about the scenic byways is available from Garry Young (ext. 8214), or on the ITD Web site: http://itd.idaho.gov/planning/byways/scenic/
Those who want to forsake the scenic drive through southwest Idaho can request copies of the magazine or reprints of the article from Horizon Air Magazine, Paradigm Communications Group, 2701 First Ave., Suite 250, Seattle, Wash., 98121.