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A few of my favorite places

The Reporter's Notebook


Last updated 1/22/2020 at 10:02am

A person can be defined by the little things he remembers and his favorite places.

My parents liked to take drives, and on one of them they would stop at a roadside springs to get a drink of ice cold water. They had a collapsible tin cup that was kept in the glove box for such an occasion, along with a camera that folded up.

The adventure of those trips probably accounts for developing the same habit.

One such place was Grizzly Camp, a few miles up from Potlatch, Princeton and Harvard in Idaho.

It was a mountain location and a popular picnic spot along the Palouse River. Our extended family of aunts and uncles and their families would gather there for picnics and softball games, plus swimming in the ice cold water.

The picnic meals were good, and nothing since compares with it.

When I started trekking on my own, I remember stopping along the Rogue River in Oregon to see Zane Grey’s cabin, where he probably wrote some of his dozens of books and perhaps his most famous “Riders of the Purple Sage.”

At another time in Great Falls, Montana I was able to visit Charles Russell’s log cabin museum where he did some of his painting.

Earlier, I had been in Helena and stopped in several bars to see the huge back bar Russell paintings; they were huge and if done to pay his bar bills then he must have been some kind of a drinker.

Another of those little memories is of the Ernest Hemingway memorial along a small irrigation canal in Sun Valley, only a short distance from the lodge.

Sun Valley was one of my favorite spots, and I took a number of vacations there. When I was at the Statesman Newspaper in Boise, I covered the state coaches’ clinic there for a week each year.

Another favorite spot was the Teton Range just south of Yellowstone National Park. We vacationed at one stretch there five years in a row. The Tetons are a spectacular range. One year we hiked between two of the peaks, where the peaks rose sharpley to either side of the trail. We ran into two bull moose foraging in the little stream that ran between the peaks.

The views and the abundant wildlife always made these trips interesting.

Another favorite spot was the Sawtooth Range just outside of Stanley, Idaho. They have tried to gain national park status for the Sawtooth Range, but the valley has a very strong rancher presence and efforts have failed. It truly warrants national park status.

Another favorite place is the Hoodoo Mountains east of Potlatch.

Following a second-rate road over the mountains, you dive beside a lengthy area that had been dredged for gold. The dredges are still there, embedded in gravel banks. On the east side of the mountains my family had a logging camp in the early and mid-30s. It was between Bovil and the Headquarters areas. There were some good fishing areas there. That’s where my dad learned to cook. He could make biscuits that would rise out of the pan.

Yellowstone Park was another favorite place. I spent many vacations there at a time when Grizzly bears were everywhere.

Another favorite spot was the area between Hamilton and Philipsburg, Montana. A friend had a sapphire mine there, and we would go to his mountain mine area to visit and dig for sapphires, with a little fishing nearby.

He always welcomed us because my wife, Dorothy, would give his bachelor place a thorough cleaning while we were there.

Death Valley is also one of the favorite spots.

Go in the spring, and if you hit it right, the desert will be alive with the most beautiful flowers. At the northern edge of Death Valley there is Scotty’s Castle. In the lower valley, mosey up the side canyons. They have vibrant colors. Or take a hike on the dune.

I traveled there most of the time going somewhere or coming back from someplace.

The last time I was there our motel burned to the ground right after we checked in. It was a 44-unit wooden structure, and the fire started in the room next door. I hurried up and downstairs knocking on doors to alert people of the fire. My car was in the way of the fire truck and they had to break the driver’s side window to move it.

We slept in our car for the night, and then headed to Las Vegas to get the window replaced. That was the bad part of the trip.

That’s just a few of the favorite places, most of a mountain theme.


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