Author Archives: Rachel Gattuso

About Rachel Gattuso

Rachel Gattuso is a freelance writer living in Buhl, where she spends her days writing and hunting for the next story. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Sweat Equity

For a long time I was a snob among snobs, and an amateur one at that. Before I moved to Idaho in early 2011, most Thursdays found me wine tasting with friends in Reno, trying to develop my palate while blowing off steam from the work week. In those years I stubbornly stuck to the wide world of reds, finding comfort in the sharp Zinfandels, fruity Merlots, and the earthy nature of Pinot Noirs. For no reason other than to avoid being “one of those girls who only drinks white wine,” I turned up my nose at them, convinced that the best the wine world had to offer lay solely in the red camp. After moving to Idaho, the same ignorant portion of my brain that kept me away from half the wine world was convinced I wouldn’t find high-caliber wine in the Gem State. How silly I was.

But at first that perception was reinforced when I was disheartened to discover that most stores in parts of southern Idaho boasted wine selections much smaller than what I was used to. I was able to find a few favorite labels on the shelves, but didn’t land on much else that enticed me. Did this shortage of recognizable labels indicate the state’s inability to produce sophisticated wines? Continue reading

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After Summer

Our snowmobiles sliced through tall, blackened trees, casting high-pitched whines into the sparsely populated terrain.

We followed the path’s endless S-curves as they opened before us. The trees seemed stripped of significant limbs, barren and lifeless. But in the pure white, the black trees racing by were hypnotic. The four of us, who were on the tail end of a day spent snowmobiling in Stanley, had driven into the stoic remains of a wildfire. Yet as we zipped through the quiet folds of the countryside, these charred trees seemed whitewashed, given a new look by the snow. The ghost pines stretched to the sky, painting an eerie picture.

If I could show you a picture of this backwoods scene, surely you would be reminded of how, even in large-scale destruction, there is beauty and new life. But that day I brought my phone instead of a regular camera. Such an incredible piece of technology will cut down the number of gadgets I carry, I reasoned. Unfortunately, I discovered that the fancy thing turns off sporadically in extreme temperatures. The lanky trees in their grim splendor, my favorite image of the day, will have to live in my memories.

I should back up about four years. The first time I drank in the power of the Stanley Basin, I had just emerged from a room at the Mountain Village Resort with camera in hand. The craggy peaks of the Sawtooth Range were drenched in blinding white snow and crowned with a bluebird sky. It was a postcard come to brisk (I could see my breath) life, and it took a minute before I remembered to snap a shot. For a few moments, as the Sawtooths loomed in front of me, I was powerless to look away. They consumed me wholly, marched right into my world and planted a bold flag.
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The First Expression

Such a contradiction, I think. Cradling the neck of a violin is the hand of a fourteen-year-old girl, whose purple-painted fingernails evoke thoughts of mall excursions and pop star posters on bedroom walls.

And yet, these fingernails are moving back and forth feverishly, controlling the strings of the instrument masterfully. These young hands dressed in purple are as capable as an adult’s and I am fascinated, struck dumb as I feel the corners of my mouth lift up in joy. Continue reading

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Filer–Spotlight

The morning is so cold I see vapors rising from an irrigation creek on my left as I drive through Filer on my way to Twin Falls. Though the sun rose thirty minutes ago, the clouds shroud direct sunlight. A line of trees leading to a house approaches on the right and the veiled sunlight casts eerie, frozen rays through the bare, dark branches. Like I do every time I drive by this hauntingly beautiful scene, I chastise myself for not bringing a camera.
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From Couch to Wallow

A Neophyte Tests the Dirty Waters

By Rachel Gattuso

Nervous is an understatement. I eye the huge mud pool in front of me, which marks the end of Boise’s third annual Dirty Dash, high above the city at Bogus Basin. But it’s not the mud that worries me.

This will be my first-ever organized run, and the five miles of alpine terrain that come before the victory dip are a terrifying prospect. Initially, the Dirty Dash sounded like a great way to get off the couch and into shape, prompting me to sign up with two friends. I’ve trained a little (a mile a day counts, right?), but the steep inclines and wooded territory here are intimidating. Continue reading

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