Category Archives: 2015-04, April 2015 (Farnum)

Down Our Creek

For decades, I’ve made numerous hikes along this same creek, but at spots far upstream, where it cuts a deep canyon near my home. Long content to frequent familiar territory, I had recently started to wonder about what the tail end of the drainage looked like. The last section upstream of the Snake River, near Hagerman, runs through private property dotted with homes built near the creek, making any sort of hike impossible. I had heard, however, that a canoe could be maneuvered down this final stretch.

I figured that after reaching the river, we could paddle flat water downstream for several miles almost to Upper Salmon Falls. Once a fishing hotspot for native Americans, the falls served as the source for the creek’s name. After we reached this historic set of rapids, we could explore the river’s north channel, which was left exposed following the pre-World War II construction of a hydroelectric dam. But before we got the chance to experience anything else, we needed to survive floating the creek in our old, beat-up canoe. Continue reading

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Posted on by Mike Cothern / Leave a comment

Plan A, Cramer Lakes

On a dramatic August morning, partly cloudy with a storm moving in, we awaken to the beauty of Grand Mogul and Mount Heyburn, two of many peaks in the Sawtooth Range.

I’m excited at the prospect of my first overnight backpacking trip, which will include a six-and-a-half-mile hike with a gain in elevation of about 1,826 feet and a stream to cross. Our destination is the three Cramer Lakes, lower, upper, and middle, deep in the Sawtooths. Continue reading

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Posted on by Brandi Johnson / Leave a comment

The Flintknappers

From the age of nine, I felt a compulsion to learn the secrets of how ancient flint and obsidian-flaked artifacts were fashioned by Stone Age craftsmen. This passion was sparked through the influence of my father, an avid outdoorsman who knew a bit about the ancient craft called flintknapping. He made and used small knives and arrow points of obsidian, or volcanic glass, to shoot and skin deer and smaller game. I learned from him how to make arrowheads, spearheads, and knives, sometimes of flint, but most often from obsidian. Later, I crafted more elaborate tools, such as large ceremonial blades and the rare fluted “paleo” points used by the first Americans for hunting big game, including the woolly mammoth and huge early bison. In college, I focused on stone tool technology while earning a bachelor’s degree in archaeology.

My obsidian and flint knives were put to a tough test in 2013, when my friend John Peri and Coeur d’Alene flintknapper and hunter Keith McMahan set up an experiment with a rancher to use the tools for butchering bison. My knives worked very well for skinning and butchering the animals, and after the experiment the implements were mailed to a laboratory for analysis and comparison to ancient artifacts. Microanalysis of striation on the blades of my replica knives showed wear similar to that of many knives excavated from Stone Age butchering sites. Continue reading

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Posted on by Ray Harwood / 1 Comment

Farnum–Spotlight

When I asked my cousin if she’d take photos to accompany a Spotlight City article on Farnum, she snickered. “You don’t need a spotlight. You need a microscope.” She’s right. Farnum is enough of a ghost town that we think even the ghost has moved away.

Nevertheless, my cousin still lives in Farnum, the fourth generation of Bratts there. I was born in California, but in 1946 my folks came back to Idaho and we lived in Farnum until 1955, when we moved to Drummond, taking our house with us.

Continue reading

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Posted on by Helen McMullin / Leave a comment

Still Dancing

I grew up in a non-dancing family. Our church didn’t allow it back then, and after I moved to Grangeville, I was a little afraid to sign up my oldest daughter, Avery, for dance class.

Probably only a few non-dancers would know the strange reaction I had upon entering a dance class for the first time. It was like walking into a hall where my hearing was muted and even my vision of the students was blurry.

By the time my daughter Hailey was old enough to take dance, I felt more familiar with the experience. Now a high school freshman, Hailey began dancing in preschool, which was the first time I met Shirley Wilson Sears. Right away, I knew she meant business. Continue reading

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Posted on by Lorie Palmer / Leave a comment

The World’s Best Summer Job

When I hear my college roommates talk about Idaho, they usually don’t give it the respect it deserves. They think it’s all desolate flatlands consisting mostly of potato fields mixed with sagebrush and perhaps an occasional small town. I laugh to myself. It’s best they think that way. But I have a vision of my home state that is something quite different.

I was born and raised in the Boise area, a city boy and an only child, but I have a large extended family filled with outdoorsy people, and my parents quickly made me aware of the small towns, farmland, mountains, and desert within our state. Now that I’m a twenty-one-year-old sophomore at Utah State University, whenever I’m not in class, I’m usually skiing or hiking in the nearby mountains.

Last summer, I came home intent on working, but instead of flipping hamburgers, sitting in a cubicle, or answering inbound telephone calls like most other students, I ended up with the world’s best summer job. There were pristine lakes, dazzling rivers, and mountains filled with pine trees as far as my eyes could see. I was in a place where the sunshine strained to touch ground that was dominated by bushes with leaves big enough to almost cover my laptop. There were huckleberries, millions of pine needles, and some of the sweetest smells ever. Continue reading

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Posted on by Taylor Dudunake / Leave a comment

Love on the Rocks

It started at mile marker thirteen. Unlucky thirteen. Or maybe lucky thirteen? No, our relationship was destined to be a rocky one.

Jim Edgemon and I met early in the year of 2011. After chatting for months about our various outdoor interests, he asked me out on a date. He proposed a hike to, and a climb up, Stack Rock, near the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. We had talked about it many times and I was excited to go, having never done anything like that before. Our date started at the trailhead near mile marker thirteen on Bogus Basin Road.

The June sky was bright and cheerful, all the vegetation was fresh-faced and wearing new leaves, as if to impress. The warm air was alive with the sounds and smells of new life. The atmosphere encouraged us to go farther and seemed to diminish the effort required to get up steeper sections of the trail.

“We’re almost there,” Jim told me as we crested the top of a little hill and followed the trail to the right. And there it was, just beyond a swath of ceanothus. That’s no big deal, I thought. Continue reading

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Posted on by Cristen Iris / 1 Comment

Cornerstones

If you happen to be an Idaho sports history junkie with a penchant for stories of big-name athletes who have competed in the Gem State, or if you’re just in the mood for some charmingly obscure sports anecdotes, Myron Finkbeiner’s The Cornerstones of Idaho Sports (Resilient Publishing, 2014) should make your must-read list.

Finkbeiner, a longtime coach and founder of the Boise-based World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, did his research. I found myself chuckling quietly while reading Chapter 26, “Outlaw Basketball, City Basketball in the 1940s.” As the author notes, it isn’t about prison basketball leagues, but about an oddity of small Idaho towns that happened well before my time. I began a local sports-writing career in Nampa in 1979, but I’d never heard of outlaw basketball. I won’t spoil that story for you, though. Continue reading

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Posted on by Dave Goins / Leave a comment