Perhaps one of the hardest things for anyone to adjust to when moving to Western North America is that fact that the weather is far more dependent on elevation than latitude. Boise sits at about the same latitude as Portland, Maine, north of Boston. Yet, it is warmer than Denver (in October, as well as most other months), which sits at a latitude just south of Philadelphia. This is because, at 2,730 ft (830 m), Boise is 2,500 feet (760 m) lower in elevation.
As October began, the leaves here had barely begun to turn colors.
And the temperatures were reaching 80 to even 85° F (27-28°C) every day.
It felt like it was still summer.
I spent three days in Boise and it was hard not to see Boise as a newer, smaller version of Denver, the city where I live. Boise is about 1/3 the size of Denver and the metro area is about 1/4 the size. I don’t like being the person who is constantly comparing something to something else, and I did not want to spend much of my time in Boise comparing it to Denver, the city where I live, but it was hard not to. There were similarities everywhere.
Like Denver, Boise is the State Capital.
Has some cool bike trails.
Which pass through city parks.
And to some amazing destinations outside the city.
However, I learned early on that people in Boise, particularly long-term residents, do not necessarily love the comparison. Boise is one of roughly ten cities that are rapidly expanding as people seek out destinations where they can be around other innovative types of people, but in a place that is more affordable than places like Silicon Valley.
I cannot accurately comment on how things are going in Austin, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Salt Lake and Seattle, but some longer term Colorado residents lament how many new people have arrived over the past decade or so. The metropolitan area is more congested, with more traffic. However, what people seem to lament the most is how many more people an always be found on our trails and in other areas of scenic natural beauty. It feels like Idahoans do not want to follow that path. They like how empty the nearby natural beauty is.
It’s always tempting to compare things to what we already know. However, whether we are talking about a city, a music genre, business idea or festival it is important to let it be its own thing as opposed to trying to recreate something that already exists.
After all, if all we did was recreate what already exists there would never be any reason to go anywhere.
Well, I guess there would still be difference in natural scenery.
As well as climate and crops.
But there would be no reason to visit different cities. We would not let places have their own flare with things such as blue football fields.
Really small water fountains you can still run through in October.
And, apparently a happy hour where your dog can drink.
Boise will likely continue to grow, as remote work permits more people to live away from some of our most expensive real estate markets.
How it grows is yet to be determined. As it grows, the place will likely become more exciting, with more activity around town. However, as Boise grows, will it be able to do so in a manner that allows the place to maintain its own unique identity? Will Boise residents still be able to get away from all the noise, all the people and daily concerns in less than half an hours time? Only time will tell.