High on the Edge

Stress and Pleasure along the Corridor

Story and Photos by Dennis Pence

Anxiety gnawed—which seems to be happening more often in my later years than in the past. My thirty- year-old son Nick and I had agreed to drive the Magruder Corridor from Red River on the Idaho side to Darby, Montana.

It was supposed to be a fun trip. Not one filled with stressful thoughts of breakdowns and flat tires in the middle of the largest wilderness area of the Lower 48. I have a nineteen-year-old pickup with a lot of miles on it, and my tires had only fifty percent tread left on them. I rationalized that the pickup was well maintained and was shod with ten-ply tires, plus I would take two extra spares, so we shouldn’t have any problems. Which did nothing to relieve my anxiety.

The Magruder’s reputation preceded it. I had heard horror stories of astronomical tow bills and not enough spare tires. My neighbor recommended doing the trip with an ATV or motorcycle, though he qualified this with, “A high-clearance pickup can do it okay, but an ATV would be better.”

Of course I couldn’t confess my fears to Nick. After all, I’m his dad. We’ve always had a good relationship and can talk about anything and everything. But even though he is thirty years old, I’m supposed to be the strong one. Or something like that.

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