My Favorite Five

By John Crancer

john crancer fishing

I worked on my first Outdoor Idaho over a dozens years ago, on an episode named "Idaho's Magical Rivers." The Snake River in Hells Canyon was an impressive place to begin my personal discovery of the treasures of our state. Outdoor Idaho was one of the big reasons I took a job as a producer with Idaho Public Television in 1995. I had worked on a number of programs at television stations in Utah and California and definitely wanted to stay in the scenic west. I feel fortunate to have found a place that has so much to offer.

My attraction to Idaho grew with each new program I produced. Every shoot seemed to reveal another unique landscape, another attractive part of the whole. Over the years I've traveled to nearly every corner of the state, from the big lakes in the north to the immense Owyhee desert in the southwest and the Continental Divide on the eastern border.

overhead shot of a lake in idaho

I've also had the privilege of flying over all of these areas in a helicopter mounted with a camera. We've gathered an extensive collection of aerials for use in both our specials and Outdoor Idaho programs. Going back through that footage for our 25th anniversary program reminds me of what an amazing area we have to capture on video.

The remarkable variety of people and places in the state, and the challenges of the terrain make every Outdoor Idaho memorable in one way or another. Each new program reveals another intriguing aspect to this place we call home. But if I narrow it down to just a few selections, my favorite five programs would include the following shows.

One program I really enjoyed was an Outdoor Idaho special called "Gold Rush Days and Ghost Towns." For me, visiting rustic mining areas was a fascinating glimpse into Idaho's heritage. There was just something about those old weathered buildings that stirred the imagination.

old idaho ghost town

Another memorable program for me was one we called "Idaho, An Anglers Paradise." I had the good fortune to fish with some of the best anglers in the state at their favorite spots. And something I'll always remember was hooking into a sturgeon in Hells Canyon!

We don't always get to participate in the activities like I did for the fishing show, but we do get to travel to some of the state's most scenic locations. I fell in love with the White Cloud Mountains when we did our program about the challenges involved in finding common ground for long term protection of the area. The show was called "White Clouds in Waiting."

people hiking near white clouds

The White Clouds are truly one of Idaho's magnificent landscapes. But further north there's another area that's equally as beautiful. For me Priest Lake is a nearly perfect combination of impressive mountains, pristine waters and likable people. We called that program "Jewel of the North."

Near the top of my personal list of favorite programs is an Outdoor Idaho that combines the beauty of the entire state, along with some of the most interesting people I've met. And while I didn't travel every mile of "Idaho's Centennial Trail," I experienced enough of it to know that it's one of the state's most compelling adventures.

people hiking centennial trail

Of course, as soon as I finished this list I started thinking of other memorable programs I could have included. "Owyhee Canyonlands," "Borderlands" and "Desert Hideaways" showed me how much there is to discover in our southern desert region. Our programs on Lewis and Clark fulfilled a dream to retrace the steps of those early explorers. And for "Idaho Getaways" I was able to get a real taste for the cowboy lifestyle.

My list of favorites could get very long if I allow myself to continue reminiscing. Every program has revealed another facet of Idaho's beauty or introduced me to another one of the wonderful folks who have a passion for the outdoors and this state. I'm happy to include myself in that good company.