Category Archives: 2013-12, December 2013 (Moreland)

Mountain Man

On a Tuesday last September, I got a call from Eldene Wasem in Grangeville. She thought I might be interested in writing a story on a man whom her nephew, Monty Spears of Harpster, had discovered setting up camp near their family cabins at McComas Meadows east of Grangeville in the Nez Perce National Forest.

Working as a reporter at the Idaho County Free Press for going on twenty years, I listen when Eldene calls. In her eighties, she is an active go-getter who knows the history of Idaho County like, well, the back of her hand.

Although I couldn’t make it up the mountain the day she called, I got hold of Monty, who, along with his wife, Brenda, owns an RV park, store, and bar at Harpster, which is thirteen miles northeast of Grangeville. I made arrangements to meet him at the store the next day. It was a rainy morning when I piled in with Monty and he drove me eight miles up the mountain outside Harpster to the old Adams Camp area of McComas Meadows. Monty knows the place well, his parents having met at Adams Camp. Years later, he and Brenda were married there. Continue reading

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Posted on by Lorie Palmer / 4 Comments

Going Big

When Ralph Tingey arrived at City of Rocks in late morning, having driven from Colorado, he found a note instructing him to look for us in the Breadloaves area. He then located us near a route named Bloody Fingers by asking other climbers if they had seen a group of “silverhairs.” As thunder boomed in the near-distance and it started raining lightly, he tied into a dangling rope that ran through anchor bolts and carabiners a hundred feet above. While I belayed him on the other end, he said he’d hurry up the fairly difficult route named Twist & Crawl, remove our gear, and rappel from the permanent top anchors. He topped out on the summit as it started raining more seriously, noted a lightning ground-strike about a mile away, hurriedly grabbed all our gear, rigged a rappel, and then took time to say hello to two slightly lost climbers in their twenties. He invited them to use our rope to rappel the route and they eagerly accepted. After rappelling down to me, he mentioned that two other climbers would be descending our rope, shrugged, and said, “It looked like they needed some help.” Continue reading

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Posted on by Ray Brooks / Leave a comment

Please Peruse This Column

My friend holds a doctorate in physics and is a perennial recipient of the professor of the year award.

He’s a saxophonist and competitive swimmer who watches Idaho Public Television to learn about the ancient formations that gave rise to our state gem, the star garnet. So I found it odd when he told me he has “Impostor Syndrome”—as in, he doesn’t feel he measures up to his colleagues and lives in fear he’ll be discovered for the pretender he really is.

“Oh, come on,” I moaned when he told me this. “I literally am an impostor. I play Angry Birds during Idaho Community Foundation board webinars.” Continue reading

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Posted on by Steve Carr / Leave a comment

Grizzly 227

I’m dressed in my best camo, drinking a power smoothie, and out the door before the sun rises. A researcher’s hunch has it there’s a grizzly bear in a trap in Island Park and, after five years of asking, I finally get to go.

I walk more than I talk. I’d rather get something done than talk about getting something done. My action attitude is probably why I don’t have an official bucket list in writing, but if I did, touching a grizzly bear would be on the top of the list.
Continue reading

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Posted on by Kris Millgate / Leave a comment

Cowgirl Up

My love for Idaho is long and varied. I had so many wonderful experiences growing up on my family’s ranch south of Bellevue that I can hardly imagine growing up any other way. My parents got a divorce when I was in third grade, but my dad moved just down the road, to the other side of our hundred acres. It was great, because I could either hop on my horse bareback and ride down to the other house, or hop on my four-wheeler. I suspect there are not many other places you can do that.

I used to go on really long four-wheeling rides to this place we called “Up Top.” It was our other piece of land, a little more than 250 acres. All over Up Top were natural springs, where I would swim during the summer. Up Top was my getaway. Continue reading

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Posted on by Kaitlyn Farrington / Leave a comment

Heroics on the Lochsa

I’m sitting on the porch of a log building that once served as the assistant ranger’s house at Lochsa Historical Ranger Station in the Clearwater National Forest. It’s now the visitor center and first stop on a self-guided tour of the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, but in 1934, it was one of the buildings saved by the heroics of rangers surrounded by raging wildfire.

Looking through the trove of historical items in the visitor center one afternoon, I came across a typed account of this saga, which helped me appreciate how fortunate we are to have this place. The story was by H. D. Weaver, a Forest Service employee of the period. So far as I know, it has never been published. Continue reading

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Posted on by Jim Fazio / Leave a comment

Paddles Aweigh

Last fall, just before I set off with a group of seven women in their sixties on a ten-day attempt to paddle the 104-mile shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene, I reminded myself I had been in a canoe once for about twenty minutes, and the last time I went camping was 1974, when I was twenty-four years old, traveling across Europe.

So I looked toward launch day not only with anticipation but also with some anxiety. Yet my concerns were put to rest when I was warmly welcomed by the women, who call themselves the Goldens. Also with us were two young counselors from Camp Sweyolakan on Mica Bay, a youth camp dating back to the 1920s cherished by all these women, who still know each other by their camp nicknames from long ago [for more about the camp, see “Two if by Sea,” by Kathy Cooney Dobbs, IDAHO magazine, September 2012]. Our trip was a fundraiser for the camp. Continue reading

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Posted on by Kathy Cooney Dobbs / 2 Comments

A Magic Year

Shortly after my family relocated to Idaho, around May 1961, Alan Shepard made his famous flight into space in the first U.S. manned rocket, Mercury 3.

I remember listening to the radio that day and my amazement at the thought of being in space. Our family had its own otherworldly experience here on Earth about then, when we moved to Magic Hot Springs, which lay in the desert forty miles south of Twin Falls.

We arrived at Grandma and Vic’s new property in early spring, in the black of night. My Uncle Bob, his family, and my family would all be living at the small resort, taking care of the grounds and hot baths. We quickly located the little cabin that awaited our arrival. The flame of the small kerosene stove wavered behind the glass door and a flickering oil lamp sat on a table beside the bed. Half-asleep, we crawled under the cold bed covers and snuggled close to each other for heat.

It seemed that I had just slipped into a deep sleep when my sisters, brothers, and I were startled awake by hands grabbing at us, dragging us out of our warm beds. The brisk night air sent chills through my body. Mom, Dad, and my Uncle Bob were standing around us five kids, talking in frightened voices. Continue reading

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Posted on by J. L. Bowman / Leave a comment

Skull in the Window

In 1943, my dad and his brother Vaughn started Morgan Brothers Construction Company. One of the first structures they put up in American Falls was an office building for the new doctor in town.

It had cinder block walls with the front door opening onto the sidewalk, and a big window on each side. That was where I saw the skull. I had been riding my bike up the street, and there it was. I stopped and looked at it for a long time. Could that hole be from a bullet that killed the owner of the skull? My dad was building a store across the street, so I rode over there and asked him about it. Continue reading

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Posted on by K.L. Morgan / Leave a comment

Moreland–Spotlight

“Moreland is growing again,” Lloyd Merrill assured me as I stopped at a small pavilion near his home created to display the large bell he and others saved from the former Moreland School. Lloyd should know. He grew up in Moreland, has lived there all his adult life, and was its postmaster for thirty-one years. He and his wife, Marge, and their five children also owned and ran the Moreland Grocery adjacent to the post office for years.

The platted town of 160 acres, located about five miles northwest of Blackfoot in Bingham County, is not exactly on the beaten path, and is hard to define as an area. People who live ten or more miles northwest of the town still say they live in Moreland. Highway 26 once ran around it, but that route was abandoned with the coming of the Atomic Energy Commission site further west in the desert, and is now called Taber Road. Moreland has grown and flourished before, and like many farming communities, it diminished with the growth of businesses in nearby larger cities and with increasing ease of travel. Continue reading

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Posted on by Geraldine Mathias / 1 Comment