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Like It or Lump It

Posted on by Steve Carr / Leave a comment

My wife drove my truck for a month or so this fall while we were between cars. It became mine again in January. I filled a grocery sack full of wifey paraphernalia from the center console, the door pockets, and under the seat, and carried it into the house. Admittedly, I may have made a comment.

My wife’s measured response was something like, “Get over it, you married a woman.” I couldn’t argue with that as I skipped out the door and ran a long and unnecessary errand—in my truck.

“Like it or lump it,” is of course what she said, or meant to say—what in my youth, my brothers and I said to each other several times each day, before the phrase was lost to this generation.
As in, “I don’t like shredded wheat.”

“Like it or lump it,” my brother would say. “It’s all there is. I ate the sugar puffs before you woke up.”

Not an early a riser, I learned to like shredded wheat.

I’ve had my truck back for a month or so. Her things keep turning up, rising to the top like escaping dinner burps. I stopped at a fast food window, dug into the center console for change, and came up with a dry cleaner’s receipt, bank lollipops and fabric swatches.
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Up O’er the Wire

Posted on by Gary Oberbillig / Comments Off on Up O’er the Wire

From the cockpit of Rusty Larkin’s crop-dusting plane, the fields of Idaho’s farming country spread out like a crazy-quilt of muted morning colors, the soft gray fringe of sagebrush marking where the irrigation ends.

He spots his pick-up alongside the alfalfa field, the tiny figure of his son Conrad waving next to it, as he waits to flag each of Rusty’s spray passes down the field rows. Rusty makes a swift instrument check, reflecting with a wry grin that, while the altimeter is quite useful now, it doesn’t mean too much when his plane is riding the ground cushion of buoyant air, a scant five feet off the ground. Continue reading

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Killer GPS

Posted on by G.T. Rees / Leave a comment

I think my Global Positioning System is trying to kill me. I’ve noticed a troubling trend over the last few years in the electronic doohickey I carry around to keep from getting lost.

It seems every trip into the mountains has become a rigged game of roulette with my electronic gadget, which tries to strand me by delivering faulty information.

Take the time I went hunting in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, and on the way back missed my truck by no more than a hundred yards. The screen showed right where my truck was, but that tiny shot didn’t match up with the terrain, and I quickly wandered off course. As a result, I spent an entire day slogging through a foot of new snow, running out of water, and puking my guts out in the shower from dehydration when I finally did get home. Before you think, What an idiot, why didn’t he just eat some snow? I did. It doesn’t provide enough water when you’re really hoofing it, hence the puking in the shower. This entire misadventure could have been avoided if I hadn’t relied on my GPS for directions.

There’s another dimension to this problem. My wife is convinced I’ll get lost in the mountains and die. Given my recent history, she might have cause for concern. I always try to soften my stories of wilderness adventure just a bit, so as to protect her nerves, but it never seems to work. She eventually gets the whole story out of me, and then it’s all that more difficult to get out for a hike or some hunting the next time. It’s almost enough to make a guy wish for simpler, more unfettered, times. Almost. Continue reading

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Cleo’s Trail

Posted on by Amy Story / Leave a comment

This was a bad idea,” I told myself as I drove up Highway 45, south of Nampa. Curious about a place friends had told me of, Cleo’s Trail, I decided to take an afternoon off from work and visit. Two problems: I got a late start, and it was raining buckets.

With wipers on full speed, I was questioning my wisdom, or lack thereof. Then something interesting happened. The closer I got to Cleo’s Trail, near the Snake River, the better the weather got. Driving over the last hill, the clouds parted and the rain stopped. My mood brightened, too, and I sensed I was about to have a singular experience.

Before me was the old Walter’s Ferry site. To the left were two houses, with an open gate beyond them. An overhead sign read, “This place was built as a vibrant faith adventure.” That sounds like something I can use, I thought. I could see several old-style houses, barns, and a little chapel. To the left was a vacant parking lot, and I found out why. The trail closed at five. I looked at my watch: 4:45. Fifteen minutes to explore. I decided I would snap some photos and move quickly through.

The very first sign slowed my pace. “You are my special friend and visitor today,” it said. Who was this Cleo, and did she really mean it? I looked around, noticing I was surrounded by a courtyard full of children at play. Sculptures of children being read to on benches by parents, children doing cartwheels, and masquerading as caped superheroes. I started grinning, something I hadn’t done all day. The sculpture of two children holding hands and galloping off toward adventure triggered a memory of my older sister and me. She was always dragging me around to something or somewhere, but whatever she dragged me to was often fun. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. Continue reading

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Posted on by Eileen Bennett / Leave a comment

More than a town, Kilgore is where memories of those who lived there were created from their visions of success. For such people, including me, this high mountain valley community in eastern Idaho’s Clark County, close to the Montana border, is home. It is a place of lush grasses and streams meandering between the foothills of the Centennial Mountains of the Continental Divide and the northern reaches of the lava of the Upper Snake River Plain. The valley was called Kamisinim Takin, Camas Meadows, by an unknown Indian tribe, long before white men came. Continue reading

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Pushing the Boundaries

Posted on by Mike Brown / Leave a comment

In Kamiah, during my boyhood of centerpieces and linen tablecloths, fences were rarely needed, daycare was uncommon, children were expected to mind their elders, and parents insisted on knowing what their children were up to at any given time.

If I was caught misbehaving, any friend or neighbor could straighten me up and my parents would have been appreciative. That was how the community helped to raise children.

My memories of many childhood events are vivid, maybe because I was an intense and serious youngster. I remember as a four-year-old, I was obstinate, didn’t listen to my parents’ hard-earned wisdom, considered myself all grown up, could tie my own shoes, and believed I was always right. I suffered my parents only insofar as they fed and clothed me. By almost everyone’s account, I was an insufferable brat, although Granddad Chetwood thought I was hilarious. He always grinned when I was with him, and it was years before I understood how much Granddad enjoyed grabbing me by the seat of my pants just before I stepped off into one folly or another.

Granddad was elsewhere on one particularly hot July afternoon, which was fortunate for me, because I didn’t have to try to explain to him how I landed myself in this latest predicament. Otherwise, he would have patiently knelt in the grass next to me, patting me on the back and smiling that understanding smile of his. It was much later before I finally realized that trying to justify my actions only would have caused Granddad’s grin to widen even more.
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The Pioneer Diaries

Posted on by Jerry Eichhorst / Leave a comment

The author has researched and compiled more than 1,650 written accounts of early travelers along Idaho’s emigrant trails. As president of the Idaho chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association, he has published excerpts in recent years from some of these diaries on the chapter’s website newsletter. Below is a sampling of what he has uncovered.

Soda Springs
A few days after entering what would later become Idaho, the emigrants came upon an unusual site of several natural hot springs and geysers. Known as Soda Springs because of the carbonated water, most diarists commented on the area. Many used the term “curiosity,” so I suspect that is how a guidebook must have described the springs. A small trading post was built in the area in later years. Today a timer-controlled geyser is the area’s curiosity. Lorenzo Sawyer writes the most detailed description of Soda Springs I have seen. The portion of his day reaching Soda Springs is related here.

June 17, 1850 — Last night was the most disagreeable one we have experienced on our journey. The weather was cold. About 7 o’clock p. m., it commenced raining. During the first watch, the rain continued to fall; about the second watch it changed to snow and sleet, and towards morning it snowed quite hard. The watch found it exceedingly disagreeable traveling about among the thick bushes loaded with water and sleet. The sun shone clear in the morning, however, and soon dispelled the snow in the valleys. We were on our march at six o’clock. Mr. Lake being still sick, we took him in our wagon again. Continue reading

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Posted on by Mike Medberry / Leave a comment

In April 2000, conservationist Mike Medberry and several friends were hiking at Craters of the Moon, gathering information for then-President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt, who hoped to expand the approximately 54,000-acre national monument to 750,000 acres. While walking, Mike suffered a stroke that impaired his speech, among other after-effects. His mother moved from California to Boise to help with his recovery. The following excerpt from his book, On the Dark Side of the Moon (Caxton Press, Caldwell, 2012), reprinted with permission, describes Mike’s return visit to Craters a few months after the stroke.

One day in early summer, when she thought I was able and interested, Mom suggested that we take a roadtrip in Idaho. “Where should we go?” she asked.

“Ow bout Craters? I would like that.” I felt like Humpty Dumpty. I had taken a great fall and had to put together the pieces of this broken egg: confidence, communication, love, sanity, work, and memories. And all of it related to Craters of the Moon, where I had fallen and lain out on the lava for many hours. This was a harrowing memory, made more poignant by the time-sensitive ischemic stroke that had permanently damaged my brain. I say that my stroke was time-sensitive because doctors give stroke victims three hours to get the person to a hospital to treat him with a clot-busting medicine, before lack of oxygen kills the afflicted cells. It must have taken me eight hours to get to the hospital in Pocatello. We never spoke of this, but it reminded me just how precious time can be. I wanted to confront this fear and show my mother the beauty of Craters of the Moon, which I had worked to protect over the years. Continue reading

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Posted on by Alex Thatcher / Leave a comment

One summer weekend, after we had grown tired of the bike paths around Boise, it seemed time to explore other options. I had no idea where we were going, but I liked the direction, Idaho City.

There are all kinds of things to see and places to go out there, and the driver, my friend Johnna, who was then my girlfriend, knew I wanted to go someplace I’d never been. The car stopped. I look around dazedly, sleepy from the non-stop switchbacks. The someplace I had not been was Banner Ridge. Continue reading

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