Category Archives: 2013-06, June 2013 (Lava Hot Springs)

Speak, Buildings

Behind the Structures, an Artist Finds Stories

Story and Paintings by Judy Pederson

The look on the face of the man who opens the door of the farmhouse is what I expected.

I have seen that look on others who answered my knock. It is suspicious and a little bewildered. What is this woman doing on my front porch—what is she selling or preaching? Is she lost and asking for directions? As usual, I state my name while handing him my business card and say I am an artist who very much admires the big old barn behind his house. I love painting pictures of old buildings and wonder if he can he tell me something about the barn. Continue reading

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Posted on by Judy Pederson / 1 Comment

Warbird Weekend

I made my way across the tie-down, easily moving past the sparse, small groups—a few dozen people actually—clustered around the vintage aircraft and the tables from the morning breakfast.

As I headed off to a last-minute preparation errand, I thought this was shaping up to be a passable attendance for Idaho County Airport’s first Warbird Weekend event in Grangeville last year, scrambled together within a few months and hurriedly promoted.

What a difference thirty minutes made.

As I headed back to the airport a half-hour after the event’s scheduled start, a tangle of cars filled the set-aside parking area and spilled onto and along Airport Road. The main runway roared with traffic, as small aircraft taxied on and took off carrying eager kids, many experiencing their first airplane flight. The crowd was packed hundreds thick around aircraft, where people visited with pilots, took a peek inside, or—for a lucky few—felt the horsepower of radial engines during their own vintage plane ride. Firefighting aircraft, working early season incidents, kept the drama moving, as did helicopters from the Idaho National Guard and LifeFlight.

All totaled, nearly two thousand people crammed onto the airport that hot July day for an experience that frankly took everyone off guard, from organizers to participants. And now the pressure’s on for this year’s event in July . . . for just how do you top a blockbuster?

All this started with the simple question, “Why not an air fair in Grangeville?” Continue reading

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Posted on by David Rauzi / Leave a comment

The Headless Minister

I married my nephew this year. I know that sounds a tad creepy. Actually, I officiated—acted as the marriage minister—for my nephew and his bride, which is maybe not as creepy but just about as disturbing.

The last time I officiated anything was my son’s YMCA basketball game twenty years ago. The referee didn’t show up, so Jeff’s daddy was called into action. I wasn’t called back.

The bride and groom were gorgeous and handsome and together make a brilliant couple in every imaginable way. But, this story is about me. They can and will write their own, trust me.

It turns out Idaho cares more about who can officiate a high school basketball game than who can officiate at a wedding. After answering three questions correctly and ponying up $29.95, I qualified as an Idaho marriage minister. I’m legal and have the framed certificate to prove it. If you’re considering getting hitched, my credentials don’t expire anytime soon. (I’m also a notary public and can offer a pretty slick two-for-the-price-of-one deal.)

As a member of the wedding party, I escorted my bewildered but always appropriately circumspect wife down the aisle and seated her in the front row, where she shone like a new bride and undoubtedly considered the wonderful irony unfolding in front of her. I hoped I was finally living up to the potential for which she married me. Continue reading

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Posted on by Steve Carr / Leave a comment

A Spirited Teapot

What, an antique shop in Spirit Lake that sells Lionel model trains? Learning this, I soon covered the forty miles north of Coeur d’Alene to Spirit Lake’s Main Street.

Turning left from Idaho Highway 41, I was immediately taken by two blocks of early Idaho stone-and-wood commercial architecture. The buildings, up to three stories tall, were well-maintained and mostly open for business, but they were not gussied up. The kid in me couldn’t wait to get out of the car but had to wait for a parking space in the second block, across the street from the antique shop.

While it was the kid in me who jumped out of the car into this Idaho townscape, it was all of me who had to stop in the middle of Main Street, say out loud, “I love it,” and reach for my camera. “It” was the coolest water tower I’d ever seen—a huge and handsome blue coffee pot.

In the train and antiques shop, owner Helen Campilli told me she bought her husband a toy train set many years ago, “Something we didn’t even know existed. He was raised too poor and I was raised on a farm away from everything.” After that gift of love, they collected Lionel trains for years and finally decided to open a shop to get rid of some of them. That led to buying more, applying to be a franchise, and going at it ever since. These days, Helen admits the shop is a way to keep her out of the rocking chair.

We enjoyed a pleasant chat and as I made a small purchase, I mentioned how much I liked the amazing coffee pot water tower. I was immediately corrected. “That is not a coffee pot, it is a teapot. A lady who lived here loved teapots and when she died, her daughter fixed up the water tower to be a teapot in her memory.”

Wow. Continue reading

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Posted on by Dean Worbois / Leave a comment

Log-Jammed

Stranded on the Middle Fork, a Rafting Party “Self-Rescues”

By Ray Brooks

“There‘s not supposed to be a lake here!” I exclaimed. 

It was midday, July 24, 2006, mile twenty on our eight-day, hundred-mile Middle Fork Salmon float trip. As we rowed farther down this large new lake, we could see other rafts ahead on its western bank. Bequi Martel, our kayaker, sprinted ahead and returned with the news: the lake had been caused by a “blowout” the previous night, and there was also a huge logjam downriver one-half mile, in Pistol Creek Rapid.
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The Underground Forest

Approaching from the west on Interstate 90 at the outskirts of my northern Idaho hometown, a billboard proclaims:

You are now near KELLOGG
The Town which was Discovered
By a JACKASS—
And which is inhabited
By its Descendants.

Local legend claims that an old prospector, Noah Kellogg, was camped up Milo Creek in 1885. He awoke one morning to find that his jackass had slipped its hobble during the night and climbed up the mountainside. Kellogg spent all morning trying to catch his jackass, only to watch it scramble out of his reach each time he approached it. Finally, out of frustration, the old prospector threw a rock, hitting the jackass in the flank. Startled, it kicked out its hind legs, knocking the cap off an outcropping to expose a vein of lead and silver, which would prove to be seventy feet wide and half a mile long [for a slightly different version of this tale, see “Kellogg—Spotlight City,” by Erin Stuber, IDAHO magazine, May 2004].

Most likely, the story is apocryphal, but Noah Kellogg did discover the biggest lead and silver mine in the world. It wasn’t long before other rich mines were discovered in the mountains around the Silver Valley. Between 1885 and 1979, the mines produced 907 million ounces of silver—almost five times that produced by the legendary Comstock Lode in Nevada.
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Posted on by Mike Blackbird / Leave a comment

Lava Hot Springs

A Returnee Learns Some Legends and Has a Really Strange Day

by Amy Larson

I thought I knew all about Lava Hot Springs. Although I live in the Treasure Valley now, our family moved to eastern Idaho when I was ten, and I’ve been to the resort town numerous times. At seventeen, I jumped off the high dive at the Olympic Swimming Complex. Ten meters doesn’t sound that dizzying, but it converts to almost thirty-three feet. Here’s a tip on that one: don’t have your friends cheer you on from below, and make absolutely, positively sure your hands are at your sides when you hit the water. Second-degree burns on your palms from a “water burn” can be hard to explain. Continue reading

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Posted on by Amy Story Larson / Leave a comment

Gopher It

I don’t know that anyone wakes up one day and says, “I’m going to be a gopher trapper.” I certainly didn’t.

I had gophers in some of my pastures farther out from the house, but there weren’t many mounds and holes, and I’ve always been one to try to live within nature rather than dominate it. Then one day, a hole appeared right by the front door. If it had been to one side, I might have lived with that. It was smack in front of where I walk every day.

I called a gopher trapper, and he said he’d come out. Well, a few days turned into a week, and I called him and he said, oh, he’d get there soon. Soon turned into two more weeks. This time when I called, I raised the urgency a bit. He responded, and when he got there, apologized, and said, “Man, I’ve been swamped, I’m sorry.” I was a bit irritated, and said, “I’m sure of that. It’s February.”

He explained that gophers never hibernate like most people think and, yes, he actually was quite busy. One of the things I loved about Don right off was he had a great laugh and was just darn likeable. I followed him as he explained that this was definitely a male gopher and that you can tell because they usually burrow in straight lines looking for romance. Female gophers, he said, create burrows in circles. Both sexes are highly territorial. Continue reading

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Posted on by Andrea Scott / Leave a comment

Go Ahead, Camp with Kids

It’ll Probably Be OK

Story and Photos By G.T. Rees

Last summer, when I took my then eight-year-old son Dylan on his first real backpacking trip along with two of his buddies and their dads, I fully expected trouble from the little twerps, and worked myself up to withstand a barrage of complaints.
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Desert Sheriff

Sheriff Tim Nettleton waded into the Owyhee River to retrieve the body of his friend, Conley Elms, an Idaho game warden who had been murdered along with fellow officer Bill Pogue by Claude Dallas, a desert buckaroo and self-styled mountain man. Dallas shot the two game officers when they came to his camp to investigate his illegal trapping methods. Bull Camp was less than five miles inside Idaho’s southern border, which abuts Nevada. Dallas surprised the officers with his hidden .357 magnum. After gunning them down, he retrieved his .22 caliber rifle from his tent and put an execution-style shot into each man’s head, as if they were one of his illegally trapped bobcats. Continue reading

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Posted on by James R. Spencer / Leave a comment