Rusty’s Yurt

Secret and Celebrated

Story and Photos by Michael Stubbs

One winter, Dave and I visited the yurt without Rusty. He was recovering from an injury and needed someone to knock snow off the roof and perform general maintenance. I invited a former Twin Falls resident, Chris Smith, for his first visit. We couldn’t start our trip until late in the evening, and so it was that Chris and I met Dave at a bend in the highway under a star-speckled sky to ski three miles in the dark across the plains and over a mountain pass to Rusty’s yurt. This was the first meeting between Dave and Chris. Dave led the way for us with his smartphone and GPS app, a situation he took advantage of to keep Chris in the dark as we skied through the cold night.

 “How far do we have to go?” Chris asked during a pause.

Dave took a deep breath and consulted his device.

“We will ski to the foot of that mountain there.” He pointed. Chris nodded. Dave looked at his screen in consternation. He looked up again.

“There we will find the singing bush.” He paused for effect. “At the singing bush, we will summon the invisible swordsman who will point us in the direction of Rusty’s yurt.”

Chris caught the reference to the 1986 movie The Three Amigos. Ever since then, the shared joke has helped us and all new visitors to the yurt as we heft heavy packs or pull loaded sleds through the snow in daylight or in darkness. It isn’t easy work, but the company is always pleasant, and there is peace in the snow and the mountains.

The first time I ever went there, my wife watched me load the car with backpack, skis, poles, sled, and miscellaneous coats, jackets, mittens, and buffs, and said, “Remind me where you’re going.”

I sighed and went through the explanation. “I’m friends with Dave Christensen, and Dave is friends with Ben Beutler, and Ben is friends with Rusty Bowman. Rusty used to live next to Ben’s friend when Ben was a kid. Rusty owned a cool campervan and used to talk hiking, camping, and kayaking with Ben. They became good friends. Fast forward thirty years. Now Rusty owns a yurt. Rusty is going to his yurt this weekend, so he invited Ben, who invited Dave, who invited me.”

“Where is it?”

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Michael Stubbs

About Michael Stubbs

Michael Stubbs lives in Pocatello with his wife and three kids. He teaches English at Idaho State University in the fall and winter. In the summer, he explores Idaho by running trails, hiking, and camping.

One Response to Rusty’s Yurt

  1. Dave Christensen - Reply


    “Well, if you haven’t done these things perhaps you’ve lived—but you’ve lived a different life than the one I seek.“

    You said it!! Can’t wait for the next trip!

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