Blog Archives

In the Wild Heart

Posted on by Emma George / Comments Off on In the Wild Heart

The water washes the numbness from my legs as we drag the kayaks behind us up the river. Despite it being the start of June in the Owyhee Mountains, early summer in the high desert has brought temperatures that make me regret leaving my gloves on the kitchen table at home.

The thought of handling metal tent poles with bare hands sends a shiver through my body and I’m glad that four miles of the Owyhee River flow between me and the campsite. Continue reading

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Desert Sheriff

Posted on by James R. Spencer / Comments Off on Desert Sheriff

Sheriff Tim Nettleton waded into the Owyhee River to retrieve the body of his friend, Conley Elms, an Idaho game warden who had been murdered along with fellow officer Bill Pogue by Claude Dallas, a desert buckaroo and self-styled mountain man. Dallas shot the two game officers when they came to his camp to investigate his illegal trapping methods. Bull Camp was less than five miles inside Idaho’s southern border, which abuts Nevada. Dallas surprised the officers with his hidden .357 magnum. After gunning them down, he retrieved his .22 caliber rifle from his tent and put an execution-style shot into each man’s head, as if they were one of his illegally trapped bobcats. Continue reading

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In the Long Run

Posted on by Claire Gudmundsen / Comments Off on In the Long Run

It’s 5:30 on a frigid Saturday morning in January. My alarm wakes me from a dreamless sleep, and I nearly jump out of bed. My bedroom is dark and the hardwood floor is cold as I walk to the kitchen to start my pre-race ritual. This morning at nine I will be racing in the Wilson Creek Frozen 50K in the Owyhees southwest of Nampa, although I will be competing in the ten mile (about sixteen kilometers) race. The thought of running more than that on a cold Saturday morning in January seems a bit crazy. I start the coffee and check my phone for the current weather conditions: minus-four degrees and fog.
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Wild Times in the Old Canyonlands

Posted on by Terry Armstrong / Comments Off on Wild Times in the Old Canyonlands

My dad, Ray Armstrong, was a young forest guard at Pole Creek Ranger Station in the Canyonlands of southwestern Idaho during the late 1920s. He didn’t remember ever attending school, but became a successful cattle broker and in his later years served as mayor of Bliss. Like many cattlemen and cowboys of that day, Dad was a gifted storyteller. In 1976, I recorded his tales in a notebook—tales that chronicle escapades typical of forest service activities in early times.

Ray Armstrong was nineteen years old in 1927. His father, my grandfather, raised horses along Cedar Draw on a rocky strip of land near the Berger community south of Filer. Word was that Dad left home at an early age. He herded sheep and served as a camp tender, learned cowboy work, and maintained himself doing odd jobs around Buhl and Twin Falls. On a chance happening, he met “Supervisor” McQueen, who was in charge of both Pole Creek and Mahoney Ranger Districts on the Humboldt National Forest just across the Nevada/Idaho state line. Dad was familiar with the country, having worked at the Diamond A Ranch. He knew Jarbidge, Murphy Hot Springs (known then as Kittie’s Hot Hole) and the Three Creek country.

Supervisor McQueen needed young, tough men as guards for both ranger districts. Following a rigorous examination that included both written and practical activities, Dad was hired for the Pole Creek position along with young Tommy Wells at Mahoney. It was never clear how Dad learned to read, but during the test session he managed to follow the directions for assembling a demonstration crank wall telephone. He was big, tough, and could throw a perfect diamond hitch, meeting all qualifications for the Pole Creek work. Both Wells and my dad were to furnish their own pack outfits, which included fifteen horses and pack equipment.
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