Mountain Man

Encounter with a Rugged Individualist

Story and Photos by Lorie Palmer Russell

On a Tuesday last September, I got a call from Eldene Wasem in Grangeville. She thought I might be interested in writing a story on a man whom her nephew, Monty Spears of Harpster, had discovered setting up camp near their family cabins at McComas Meadows east of Grangeville in the Nez Perce National Forest.

Working as a reporter at the Idaho County Free Press for going on twenty years, I listen when Eldene calls. In her eighties, she is an active go-getter who knows the history of Idaho County like, well, the back of her hand.

Although I couldn’t make it up the mountain the day she called, I got hold of Monty, who, along with his wife, Brenda, owns an RV park, store, and bar at Harpster, which is thirteen miles northeast of Grangeville. I made arrangements to meet him at the store the next day. It was a rainy morning when I piled in with Monty and he drove me eight miles up the mountain outside Harpster to the old Adams Camp area of McComas Meadows. Monty knows the place well, his parents having met at Adams Camp. Years later, he and Brenda were married there.

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Lorie Palmer

About Lorie Palmer

Lorie Palmer Russell is a graduate of Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa. She has worked for twenty-seven years as a reporter for the Idaho County Free Press in Grangeville. She and her husband, Valor, have three grown daughters and two spoiled chiweenies.

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