Big Creek–Spotlight

A Family Recalls Years at the Lodge

By Kitty Widner

When I arrived in Idaho as a World War II bride in 1945, my husband was eager to show me the beauties of his home state. One of our first ventures was a long loop trip from McCall to Cascade through the backcountry to Big Creek. We stopped there for lunch, and then traveled a treacherous mountain road which took us to Warren, a historic mining camp where there was just a store with a post office and a few people. Over forty more miles of mountain roads, we completed the loop to McCall. For a southern girl who grew up in the bayous of Louisiana, this was an experience of a lifetime, and to this day, my love of Idaho and the rugged mountains includes an enchantment with the majestic beauty of the backcountry.

Seventy years later, I sat in a beauty shop in Middleton, talking with my hairdresser, Lisa Minter Pack, about when we used to live in McCall.

She said, “For three years my dad flew my two brothers and me from Big Creek to school in McCall and back from Big Creek.”

“That’s unbelievable!”

“He was a commercial airline pilot and had his own plane,” she replied calmly. “And we do have an airstrip at Big Creek, you know.”

Actually, I didn’t know that, but from then on, every Thursday as I sat in the beauty shop chair while Lisa skillfully tamed my hair, she also expanded my mind with information. Call it Big Creek 101.

Knowing I was a paint-for-fun artist, one morning she asked if I would paint a picture of Goat Mountain for her, explaining that when her family flew in and out of the Big Creek airstrip, they circled Goat Mountain. She was hesitant when she asked, and had tears in her eyes, so I knew it meant a lot to her. No one with any painting skill could have refused. She was happy with my effort, which hangs in her bedroom. “I see it every day, every morning, and every night,” she told me.

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Kitty Campbell Widner

About Kitty Campbell Widner

Kitty Widner is a retired teacher, counselor, director of parent education, and adjunct professor with degrees from Boise State University, College of Idaho, and Brigham Young University, She now paints, gardens, reads, writes, and enjoys her family and friends.

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