Shaping Up at the Butte

Not Exactly Fun, but Inspiring

Story and Photos by Michelle B. Coates

Sometime during the last forty years, I let myself get out of shape. I blame that on two major surgeries and a decision that eating out and bringing home take-out food would help me to work longer hours, when in reality it was ruining my health.

But thanks to the encouragement of my friend Lissa Dobrusky, I spent five years walking around public parks in Rexburg, eating better, and trying to get back into some sort of shape. At Smith Park, I had to rest just going up an incline by the Veterans Memorial, which was pathetic, but that was where I was. Anyway, after years of walking the parks and doing workout videos, I felt like I needed more of a challenge. On a warm, sunny Sunday morning in May 2015, I found it.

I decided to do something I hadn’t done since Mr. Scott’s Madison Junior High seventh grade science class—hike the North Menan Butte that lies a few miles west of Rexburg. That first hike would have been back in the fall of 1975 or spring of 1976. I remember getting out of the bus on the east side of the butte, hiking to the top, where we sat on lava rock and ate our sack lunches, and then hiking down to the bus. It was hot, and I remember it wasn’t much fun.

Nearly forty years later, I called Lissa and said, “Let’s go on an adventure today.”

“Okay,” she replied quickly, and that was the beginning of many hiking challenges.

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Michelle B. Coates

About Michelle B. Coates

Michelle B. Coates graduated from Idaho State University in May 2012 with a Master’s degree in English literature, and has worked as an adjunct English instructor for the university since then. She also continues to work in the family business, and loves to spend time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors.

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