The Cobalt Kids

A Mine, Memories, and Electric Cars

By Russell Steele

Last August, my wife Ellen and I joined our longtime Salmon friends, Bob and Alberta Wiederrick, for a rock-hunting expedition that would be capped with a view of the total solar eclipse.

I had attended elementary school with Bob at the now-defunct community of Cobalt in Lemhi County, and went to Salmon High with both of them. We had contacted the couple seven months earlier about our plan to return to Idaho from out of state to see the eclipse, and they invited us to join the Salmon Valley Rock Hounds, who were planning an expedition on Trail Creek, which they figured would be an excellent viewing site.

On our second night at the campsite, the rock hounds traded stories over a throaty roar coming from the bottom half of a propane cooker turned up high enough to provide heat, campfires having been banned because of fire restrictions. As the stories progressed, the rocks got more beautiful, and the hills they were found on became ever-steeper.

The group knew that Bob and I had lived in Cobalt, and someone across the fire asked if I ever had collected any of the vivianite crystals often found around Cobalt’s old Blackbird Mine.

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