Autumn travel in eastern Idaho filled with colorful hidden gems

Story and photos by Ken Levy


 “Palisades Creek, Swan Valleyshowing at Blue Sky Bagels Fairview location.

With the sunset side of the majestic Grand Tetons as a dramatic backdrop, the landscapes and fall colors of eastern Idaho virtually glow with beauty and drama.

Snuggled within these majestic landscapes lie many hidden photographic gems. They may include a forgotten cabin nestled in among golden aspens, or pastoral scenes tucked into canyons. Still others lie secretly along little-known, remote dirt roads or around the next outcroppings. Often as not, they can be in plain sight for those with the vision to explore their potential.


 “Autumn dusk, Tetons and shacknow showing at Blue Sky Bagels Fairview location.

For the uninitiated—and even for some of us who think they know the area well—a professional guide and renowned fellow photographer is the best way to help you find and unlock the  best-kept secrets of place and time.


Above: “Transition” 

Seeking to unlock more secrets, I registered for the October eastern Idaho photography workshop led by Linda Lantzy of Idaho Scenic Images. As one of Idaho’s premier landscape photographers, Linda just released “Discovering Idaho’s Scenic Drives and Backroad Treasures,” her comprehensive photographic guide to Idaho’s lesser known yet magnificent photographic destinations.

I had the distinct privilege of serving as the editor of this 288-page guide, co-authored by Twin Falls photographer Shari Hart and released in July 2019.

Linda has driven virtually all of Idaho for years, searching out the hidden nuggets of the Gem State and documenting them with superb images and detailed directions.


The workshop focused on Idaho’s Teton Valley, primarily around the communities of Driggs and Victor, climbed over Pine Creek Pass into Swan Valley and the South Fork of the Snake River, and included Ashton and Mesa Falls.

At right: “Patience 

Along the way, old farms and leaning barns, waterfalls, groves of goldenrod aspens, creeks winding through autumn’s crisp coloring, all these vistas grabbed the eyes-and the clicks of our shutters–to retain the richness of our experience, and to share it.

These photos are just appetizers. They, and many other fine images from my New Works website, add spectacular artistic accents to any home, business, or office and make thoughtful, tasteful gifts. Plus, I donate 20% of every sale to the Idaho Foodbank. With the holidays nearly upon us, now is the time to pick your favorite prints, while helping hungry families.

Beautiful, custom prints

Link to my galleries at and make your selections. I pay the tax and shipping in the continental U. S. Donations are made directly from the purchase price of each image, including those on exhibit (below). Email me for details at

Here’s where you can view my framed work, and exquisite metal prints, on exhibit:

  • Blue Sky Bagel Restaurant,  5517 W. State St., Boise
    New store, new exhibit, featuring barn-wood framed images and fine prints on aluminum! Phone: (208) 853-4800

I will deliver framed art free within a 50-mile radius of Boise.

Cliffside lodge a Haven on earth

Hiking down to the tide pools that hide in secret coves along the central Oregon coast can be treacherous from the top of a cliff.

Blame a massive coastal storm from a few years back TIDE POOL ANEMONE FACES Ocean Havenfor blasting the handrails once grasped by folks working their way down the steep, cliff-side trail at Ocean Haven. Huge logs of driftwood were hurled against the vulnerable, steep pathway by the storm, destroying the rails on the downhill side.

At right:
Tide pools have feelings, too

Cautious hikers cling to the cliff as they make their way down to the lonely cove below. They’ll be glad of the ropes placed strategically near the bottom to hoist themselves back up for the return trip. The effort is worthwhile in the extreme, since they’ll be visiting a federal seabird protection and state-protected marine wildlife habitat. Thankfully,  there are few folks here to disturb the peace and awe of this coastal haven.

Low tide on this stretch of cove reveals tide-pool creatures and crustaceans clinging to the rocks hosting them. Tiny aggregating sea anemones huddle together unnoticed by the unobservant. They’re camouflaged by tiny shell fragments.

Bigger green sea anemones with outstretched tentacles await the arrival of open snails or unwary small fish. The rocks above are absolutely crammed with mussels, barnacles and other inter-tidal critters.Barnacles Shells Tidepool Oregon War of the ShellsWar of the Shells


Farther out, their white hides flecked with gray and black, young seals sun themselves blissfully on the rocks, oblivious to the oncoming, powerful waves that seem hellbent on blasting them off their precarious perches.

Meanwhile, small flocks of pelicans patrol the waters, flying so low it seems their wingtips skim the waves before they gracefully soar up, then back down, as one, seeking their next meal…

At the Ocean Haven Lodge, we had sweeping, 180-degree views north to south of the ocean and its tiny cove between Yachats and Florence, Oregon. The suite was comfortable but not pretentious, with ample sleeping space for four, plus a full kitchen. The shower, top to bottom, is built of ocean stones cleverly set and beautiful to behold. One could spend their entire visit camped out at the windows and take in the ocean view in all its majesty and power. But the five-minute hike down from the back yard to the shore, awkward as it was for unsteady folks, wasn’t beyond our limits.

Tide pool community

Above: “Tide pool community” features a host of creatures, from sea anemones to mussels to cormorants off in the distance. Look closely.

View more images from  this journey (and other adventures) on my New Works  web page.

Beautiful, custom prints

I continue my tradition of donating 20% of the purchase of any of my images to the Idaho
Foodbank. Here’s how it works:
• You get stunning photography for your home, office or as thoughtful gifts; each purchase also helps feed hungry people. I give 20% of each sale to the Idaho Foodbank.
• I will deliver framed art free within a 50-mile radius of Boise. Email me for details at
• I pay Shipping and Taxes when you buy prints from my galleries at

Here’s where you can view my framed work, and exquisite metal prints, on exhibit:

Travels with Jen: A March odyssey

Who drives over 2,000 miles cross-country to Texas in March? Or ever? And why exactly, in heaven’s name, would they?

Jennifer Levy at Galveston Beach

We did. Me and Jen (right), headed to Tyler for her scouting trip to see if this might be her next move. Getting there was more than half the fun, however, with stops along the way in Moab, a quick visit to The Doobie Sisters in Cortez, CO, and bouncing and splashing through deep potholes in thunderous rains in Gallup, New Mexico.



Above: The eye has it: North Window, Arches National Park

From the beginning of the planning of this trip, Jen and I had been debating whether we’d try to make it all the way to Santa Fe from Moab, a 448-mile drive. She was eager to avoid staying in Gallup—which was a bit past half way– at all costs, while I was looking at splitting the trip in half to avoid burnout, especially with the wet-weather possibilities en route. All bets were off if the weather took a nasty shit.

And it certainly did. A really big, nasty, dangerous, juicy shit. But we punched through anyway, even when we hit sudden ice after a vicious thunderstorm – which we later learned had been a tornado touchdown – west of Albuquerque. Heavy rain and thunderstorms chased us home from Texas, too, especially going through funky Salt Lake City.

SandpiperGalveston9200  Above: Sandpiper Dance on the Gulf

Over the coming weeks the news was splashed with stories of major, heavy storms and damage in Texas and Oklahoma. Jen decided quickly that Boise was looking just fine.JACK'S urban meeting place boise night

Above: Jump into Boise

Next time: Springing into the waterfalls and coast of Oregon.

I continue my tradition of donating 20% of the purchase of any of my images to the Idaho
Foodbank. Here’s how it works:
• You get stunning photography for your home, office or as thoughtful gifts; each purchase also helps feed hungry people. I give 20% of each sale to the Idaho Foodbank.
• I will deliver framed art free within a 50-mile radius of Boise. Email me for details at
• I pay Shipping and Taxes when you buy prints from my galleries at or on exhibit at any of the four Blues Sky Bagel restaurants in the Treasure Valley. The donation applies to every print sale I make, large or small.

Here’s where you can view my framed work, and exquisite metal prints, on exhibit:

Transitions: Rolling and tumbling into 2019

SunriseCloudsGooding4681Above:Clouds over the Little City

As 2018 became just another fleeting memory, I catalogued a host of quirky new images crossing new lines of experimentation. The new year guarantees more transitions from the traditional to the quirky and beyond

The piece above was made at sunrise from 8 miles into a valley, with an epic thunderstorm building power right behind it. The only road in or out was deeply rutted dirt, guaranteed to turn into deep mud if a gully washer blasted us. But we escaped undrenched with some memorable color to show for it.


At left: “Big Brother is Watching

An abandoned store, and its watchful eyes guarding the public restroom, serve as  silent reminders of what was-and what is. Captured during an Idaho workshop, this scene, and the one above, demonstrate some of the more unique situations in which a photographer may find him- or herself, both artistically and introspectively.

Introspection doesn’t automatically mean that what we create becomes just our own, hidden behind veils of fear and emptiness. Sometimes, art is the only way we have to express ourselves, when mere words get floundered around, garbled by the incessant monkeys jabbering in our heads or distracted by world or personal events.  Certainly the latter have boosted introspection and uncertainty, as worlds of understanding, innocence, fairness and compassion have been mutilated by the monstrosities taking over our way of life. Some of us will see past the window dressing that appears to make everything shiny and new to uncover the dark, swamp things that live in our very real collective nightmares. Happily, however, we have the choice to ignore the nightmare and embrace the dreams, the dreams that take us deep into remote forests where waterfalls tumble for our delight.

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park 7726

Above: “Autumn waterfall fog

 And so it will be, as we leave the darkness of 2018 behind and go in search of the light in the new year. Although still dim at the start, 2019 will bring brighter light and joyous laughter as we leave the darkness behind. I’ll be sharing those delights on these pages.

I continue my tradition of donating 20% of the purchase of any of my images to the Idaho
Foodbank. Here’s how it works:
• You get stunning photography for your home, office or as thoughtful gifts; each purchase also helps feed hungry people. I give 20% of each sale to the Idaho Foodbank.
• I will deliver framed art free within a 50-mile radius of Boise. Email me for details at
• I pay Shipping and Taxes when you buy prints from my galleries at The donation applies to every print sale I make, large or small.

Here’s where you can view my framed work on exhibit:


Siletz Bay, Arch Rock & Lincoln City

By Lana Levy

Walking through the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge above Lincoln City, Oregon, we walked on quiet, forested trails along the marshlands and flowers of the Siletz River as it headed toward the ocean and its namesake bay.

It just now finished raining, and the grasses, foxgloves and other flowers displayed their freshly-washed, soaking wet textures and colors.


Above:Droplets on the Grasses

Below: The trail after the storm:
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge


The gravel crunched convincingly under our feet, and we breathed deeply of the forest smell, the trees and undergrowth, and the gentle breeze that followed the storm.

As we hiked farther toward the bay, the salt-air tang of the ocean began to waft its way toward us.

At times, we could hear several kinds of birds singing and flitting in the undergrowth all around us, but they remained shy and just barely, occasionally visible in their hurry.

This marshy, wet and forested habitat suited their privacy well, until people noisily walk that trail and disperse them.

But they would return when no one was watching.


Low tide from the North End
Depoe Bay, Oregon


Inn at Arch Rock

Incredible views, right from the room, that drew me with my cell phone camera to get closer, up close and personal.

I was not inclined to walk down that metal stairs for the last jaunt to the private beach, but was drawn closer and closer until I took the first step down what seemed steep and risky stairs at best. After the first step it was clear that I could safely make my way to the beach. Not as sure on my feet as in my youth, I held on to the railing on both sides of the narrow stairs and made it to the bottom effortlessly.

What a close up and personal view to behold! One could take pics from the beach for days on end and not see it all. The grasses, the rocks, the growth on the rocks, the trees atop the rocks curtained by the dark blue sky. The view of the ocean from ground zero is as spectacular as the views from above. The urge to stay longer-even with the only rooms left, the Penthouse and the Apartment-is strong. We must come back here!

I have not taken a big camera out of the bag, but have found my joy in taking pictures with my new cell phone. Thank you Tim. They make beautiful images up to 5×7, and these priceless memories will be with me as long as I have-and share- the pics.

It is difficult to take the steps to leave, but leave we must. Thank you Depoe Bay and thank you, Susan and Jeff!

Here are a couple more photos from our trip:

Below: Otter Crest Loop view, central Oregon coast


Below: The World’s Shortest: ‘D’ River, Lincoln City, Oregon


Spring travel 2018 in photos, pt. 1

Part 1 


Above:The Storm Is Coming,” sunrise near Gooding, ID

Rich in Native American tradition, anchored in its ranching past, Camas County, Idaho and the community of Fairfield are home to the vast Centennial Marsh. Replete with acres of camas lilies prized by the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, the marsh and its environs are invaluable habitat for scores of shorebirds and other winged creatures that call this place their home.

Those winged creatures include mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos. If you come to this magnificent place, bring strong bug spray and use it.


Away from the marsh, explore the region around Fairfield, including its many antique ranches and farms with abandoned homesteads and ancient barns.

Left:Moonrise, Centennial Marsh

Below:Antiques: Red shack, white trim


Farther afield, you can access the Big Wood River near Highway 75 or bounce your way along gnarly dirt roads down to the remote Little City of Rocks near Gooding. Bizarre monoliths of stone twist and wriggle their way into the sky, and hiking in the region is magnificent.


Above:Clouds over the Little City

Below:You Cannot Pass! Mt. Bennett Hills, ID

Sheep dog Sheep Bennett Hills

Travel updates: A date with the secret coast

CumminsCkTrailDownhill.jpgI get my balance back when I immerse myself in forests and along the ocean’s crashing surf.

I find both in the Cape Perpetua area of the central Oregon coast.

About a mile up the trail, where few folks go, the Cummins Creek area hikes into deep rain forest with lush ferns, tiny mushrooms and other wondrous undergrowth. The air is soft and sometimes moist with coastal fog. The forest gently envelopes you in its muffled peace. Only the ocean at Neptune Beach can be heard by the sound of its constant, softened roar.

Your trail is soft and matted with many years of pine needles and soft loam underfoot. Waist-high ferns glisten along the trail; there is an earthy, woodsy smell. Tiny flowers hem the bases of mighty trees; younger trees rise in gangly ranks toward the sky, pointing branching fingers at each other and making a living arch high overhead.

Below: Old Growth and Friends

CumminsCkTreesFlowers3665Cr2.jpgMaybe you will meet a few folks walking along here: maybe a lone walker with a hand-carved walking stick, or the occasional local couple briskly walking their silent dogs. They seem to share the same reverence for the energy and peace here, and smile swiftly and sincerely as they pass.

There are many even quieter side trails leading into and through the forest. Some take you down steep hillsides to the creek below, others hike farther inland. Some offer long yet steady inclines, while others are steep and rocky. Many lead to the silent solitude of spiritual cleansing, brought by the feeling of presence of forest, ocean and weather that combine here like nowhere else.

The center of that spiritual source appears yet farther in. A cluster of trees rises uphill from a cut in the hill at a rising bend along the trail. As you look into this scene, you feel that sense of peaceful power emanate. You relax as you focus within. You immerse, within and without.

And so it is for me, and I will be returning in the spring to refresh and cleanse. To photograph and explore trails I’ve never seen. To head to the ocean, and watch the waves smash into the rocks at Yachats. I will return. I will always return.

Below: Rainbow in the Wave, Yachats


Visit any of my exhibits (below), and my web site, ( to make the perfect photo selections for home, office or business decor. Your purchase of any of my images includes a 20% donation to the Idaho Foodbank. More details on my Exhibits and News of Notes page. Contact me at










Road trip! New Hampshire autumn


The journey: Nearly 7,000 miles of cross-country driving,
spread out over 33 days covering 19 states. First in a series.


Above: Fall Cove Serenity: Alton Bay, New Hampshire by Ken Levy

I donate 20% of every image sale to the Idaho Foodbank.
See more of my work at:

Stormy skies threatening rain loomed over us as we drove slowly into Alton Bay, New Hampshire on our way to the southern coast of Maine.

A tiny cove caught the corner of my eye as the wind began to slowly pick up. Colorful, window-filled homes, set back in trees ripe with deep, fall colors, reflected themselves in the calm water of the bay.

A few droplets began to fall, as I swiftly hiked back the quarter-mile to the scene from my parking spot. The glass-like water surface I’d seen a minute ago would soon be rippling in the wind.

I set up just in time so only a narrow strip of the water rippled in the growing wind on the bay. Rain drops started to spatter the surface, which still maintained most of its glossy, colored reflections. The rain drops provided another living dimension to the scene. In another few moments, that glossiness was rippled up and the reflections disappeared.


Above: Sunset blush on the Pemi, Pemigewasset River, NH by Ken Levy
See more of my work at

This was our last stop before leaving New Hampshire and the beauty of the Pemigewasset River and the legendary Kancamagus Highway. The Pemi is reduced to a small, intricate flow in late fall, awaiting the winter snows to refresh it.

Rocky Gorge Kancamagus



At left: Rocky Gorge, Kancamagus Highway, NH

by Ken Levy














Below: New Hampshire Fall Color, White Mt. National Forest, by Lana Levy


Next time: Maine coastal delights

Your purchase of any of my images includes a 20% donation to the Idaho Foodbank.

Visit any of my exhibits (below), and my web site, ( to make the perfect holiday selections that give twice:

Finding spirit wherever you go


Above: Patterns of Spirit, Yachats, Oregon

Besides our spiritual connections at home or wherever we are, we frequently travel in search of additional spiritual cleansing. We flush the toilet of constant chaos and refill the bowl with clean water.

Inevitably, the center of our search is a much kinder form of chaos: the sea.

Once there, we immerse ourselves (not literally!) in the power SeaLegsand the energy and the total awe of the ocean. The sea engulfs us spiritually, with its neighboring forests, towering cliffs, fog and windy sands to help mesmerize and fascinate. Releasing ourselves to it, we realize just how fully we are one with it.

Whether rolling gently in with the tide to a quiet sandy beach, or smashing themselves against rocks wearing away from the force of it, the waves have much to say.

Sometimes, it’s what the waves leave behind that tells about the life within. The patterns of their presence flow in sand as well as water, mystifying the eye and mind. The ocean cleanses and refreshes, and leaves behind its potent evidence for all.

Left: “Left Behind

Without the refreshment and renewal a coastal experience provides, life can sometimes overwhelm, like rip tides that deposit small creatures and little Dungeness crabs on the shore, leaving them to scramble away and dig themselves in before the gulls arrive. More often than not, they don’t make it. The beaches are strewn with their pecked-clean shells.

For those of us fortunate enough to not be crabs, exhilaration and a boosted sense of well-being permeates at the sea. We will always find our way back.


Above: Mussel Beach

Below: Crashing surf



Biggest trip in years

Our insatiable need for the coast and its atmospheres expands to our grandest trip of all this year: fall in New England, with a stop on the coast of Maine.

We’re making up for a very late start in our travels this year due to health concerns that sidelined me throughout spring and early summer.

Beginning late September, we’ll be traveling east to visit family in Ohio and attend a wedding in Pennsylvania. We’ll spend a couple of days getting glimpses of Manhattan, then off to begin our fall foliage odyssey in New Hampshire, exploring the White Mountains and the Kancamagus wilderness. From there, we’ll follow Lake Winnipesaukee along its western shores en route to Ogunquit, Maine, where the coast awaits our arrival.

We swing south to see family in northeastern Massachusetts before heading west along Route 2 to Williamstown, MA, following one of the most foliage-scenic byways in the northeast through the Berkshires.

From there, who knows…? Stay tuned.



Disappearing Legacy: Old Barns

Photography web site documents ancient barns before they’re gone


Above: Sheep take over an abandoned farm structure on the Idaho/Wyoming border.

Our travels throughout the Northwest always include a search for the nostalgic beauty of ancient, weather-worn barns. My photo-documentary, Disappearing Legacy: Old Barns of the West, presents intimate, detailed images of these majestic antiques.

I’ve photographed hundreds of these fascinating buildings over the past 20+ years. Some were still in use, but many more were abandoned to the elements, waiting to die.

The rest are gone, existing only in this growing collection of photographic artistic renderings, and in the memories of old-timers who worked the land, the animals and the tools.

By 2006, Idaho had lost more than half of its old barns, BarnVictorNurseryaccording to Arthur Hart, director emeritus of the Idaho State Historical Society, in an interview I did with him that year. Since then, many more have disappeared forever.

Similar stories are all too true throughout the Northwest and beyond. To me, it means documenting these old barns through photography, before it’s too late.  

At right, Victor Nursery barn

That’s why I’m offering fine prints from this unique collection: so that I may continue documenting these American icons, while giving a little help to folks who need it. I donate 20% of your purchase price to the Idaho Foodbank.

Images from this historical, one-of-a-kind documentary can be purchased through my barn web site at Click on the image for options, and thank you! Contact me at


Left: Barn: Tensed, Idaho

I’ll be traveling and barn-hunting again in August, and I’ll be making a truly gigantic driving trip to New England in the fall. I’ll capture hundreds of new photos that  continue to document these disappearing barns of yesteryear. Your purchases will help fund this venture.

Follow this blog for the fascinating stories behind the barns. I’ll be publishing a book on the subject very soon. Stay in touch! Contact me at