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Those Bleeping Sheep

Posted on by Dean Clark / Leave a comment

Shortly after World War II, strange things began happening in the northern Idaho woods where I was raised. Each spring, bands of sheep began showing up in our logging community of Headquarters, deep in the Clearwater National Forest.

They temporarily blocked traffic on the roads and we occasionally ran into flocks in the mountain meadows while riding our horses. We grumbled, “Who in bleep would bring all those sheep out in the woods and turn ‘em loose with all our wild animals? Why, they’ll just eat up all the grass, and our deer and elk won’t have anything left to eat. They’ll bleep in our cricks, kill all the fish and besides that, they stink!”

Backwoods sentiment on the subject ran rampant. Of course, as a young buck I got sucked into the local opinion against the sheep. At the time, we had no idea that permission had been granted by the Clearwater Timber Protective Association in Orofino to bring in the flocks for summer grazing.

One day, while riding through the woods on my horse Ribbons, I came upon a meadow full of sheep. The sheepherder was congenial and invited me to sit and talk awhile. He explained how he and the dogs took care of the sheep out in the woods. Years later, I learned these particular sheep belonged to Hi Hood, a rancher who had shipped bands of sheep on the Camas Prairie Railroad up through Orofino Creek to the Hollywood Stock Pens near Pierce. There, they were divided into smaller bands and driven with the aid of sheep dogs into the surrounding meadows. The sheep were kept moving so as to not strip all the vegetation and were kept away from the streams except to drink. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Boise

Posted on by Brianna Yates / Leave a comment

As the sun stole its first peek over the ruffled ridgeline into the sea of trees below, the still morning awakened in a golden haze. The ambience of the almost foggy air brought about a feeling of comfort to all of us camped out, eagerly anticipating the morning’s events.

The crowd squished closer and closer together as it began growing faster and faster, signaling launch time was near. Excitement swelled as the balloons began to yawn and stretch and breathe their fiery breaths to wake up and greet their audience. Then all at once they jumped into the sky, splashing it with a prismatic array of color and a sense of home. I heard cheers all around me as I snapped pictures like a mad woman, trying to capture the essence of the moment, the spirit of Boise.

Living here my whole life, I have had the privilege of enjoying the annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic for as long as I can remember. Every year when I wake up and see the sky checkered with balloons, a wave of excitement washes over me. This five-day event happens at the end of the summer, when people are finding their way home from warm weather adventures and preparing for a bustling autumn. As a closing to the season, the event projects a quality much like homecoming, bringing the community together. Continue reading

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