Friday, August 31, 2012


Looks like the last blog post here was August 27th and now the month is over in less than five hours.  After that brief and truly delightful lull, I've been sitting at the computer for hours and hours each day, pretty much addicted to the Halstead Fire.

As far as promoting the Salmon Thang website, we couldn't ask for a better opportunity so we might as well "make hay while the sun shines" as my parents loved to say.  The whole thing is like a restless volcano.  Each of the past two days have seen 700 page views.  The Halstead article will hit 5000 page views by Sunday, it's already waaay past 4,000.  The website itself will hit 15,000 page views by Sunday.  Of that there is no doubt.

I am so up to my eyeballs in covering this fire, I am not yet detached enough to tell you what it is like.  All I can think of is the rodeo analogy--coming out of the chute and holding on for dear life.  It's pretty incredible. I regularly receive emails and Facebook messages that bring me to tears.

Today, I swapped perhaps a dozen back and forth Facebook PM's with a Mom whose husband and 16-year-old daughter ignored evacuation orders so they could stand together manning and womaning the water pumps at their house as the fire raged nearby.  I have people send me messages like this one that tug at the roots of my heart strings.

"I truly love those mountains and the land.  I will never forget the first time I saw them - I seriously had to pull over on the side of the road because the tears were rolling down - I can't tell you what the magic is, but it is there - when I can't be there, I am there in spirit - when I get troubled, I look at my pics and it gives me a sense of peace - crazy I know but the truth. I will keep the people and land of the Sawtooths in my prayers!"

I see very respected people posting notes that my coverage of the Halstead Fire is without peer.  It just goes on and on and I am a twig once again caught up on a surfing wave.

Last night, I couldn't help myself and I posted my first personal opinion in the Halstead article.  I sent it to Wayne Ranney and he had kind words for it.  He said, "I always love and appreciate when you write this way. It makes not only for good reading but tugs at the soul strings of life itself." Thanks, Wayne!

And so here is what I had to say.  It's been getting great reviews since last night and it sure makes Susun and me proud to know we could provide a little morale boost for those people in Stanley & Sawtooth Country.

"It was a month ago this morning when the Halstead Fire threw up its first truly large plume near the ignition point 18 miles from Stanley.  We happened to be camped at Sunny Gulch the night before and took the photo below from the Stanley Ranger Station parking lot looking north that afternoon.

Little did we know 30 days later we'd be sitting here glued to the computer making updates on the fire several times each day.

Little did we know that our August 9th article on the
Halstead would have thousands upon thousands of page views.

Little did we know we'd meet new Friends through Facebook and elsewhere who would become observers, photographers, writers and  commentators about the fire.

The past 30 days since we took the photo at left have been a roller coaster of riveting, saddening, frustrating, and ever captivating experiences.   When the first news of the fire hit the media in early August, one fire guy was quoted as saying "This fire won't be put out easily and it won't be put out early."  Oh, how prophetic!

As the weeks have turned into a month since the Halstead sprung to life at the head of an obscure creek not far from Cape Horn, our collective consciousness has begun to change in ways none of us perhaps even realize yet.  Perhaps we wonder to ourselves, "How will this affect the future of Salmon  and Sawtooth Country?"  Perhaps we begin to ask ourselves each day, "Will this fire ever end?"  Of course it will. All forest fires end some day.  This one will end, too.  Nobody's yet invented a fire that can burn through the winter's snows--unless it is in a cozy woodstove, of course.

We'd like to take this opportunity to put forward some positive energy about the future.  We believe Salmon & Sawtooth Country will survive this fire just as they have survived fires over many millennia--with great class and style.

We believe the people of Salmon & Sawtooth Country will rise to the challenge and beam ever brighter optimism and hospitality for all those thousands who seek their annual solace, recreation and joyous fun where the majestic mountains and righteous rivers come together to create such a special place.

Yes, it's difficult to look past the daily drumbeat of dire fire news.  It's so confusing to sort through the cacaphony of conflicting reports. It's hard to see the forest for the flaming trees.  It's tough to take as a vast chunk of Idaho's playground burns to the ground in front of our eyes.

Let's be clear here--No matter what the outcome of this wild fire is, the Fans and Friends of Salmon & Sawtooth Country will overcome and prevail.

We believe the people of Salmon & Sawtooth Country will rise from the ashes of this event with renewed vigor and dedication to this awesome place.  Yes, it's been nicked but it's not gone.  It will still be just as wonderful and beautiful as it's ever been.

The mountains will still awe, the rivers will still rush, the vistas will still enchant, the air will still be clear and sweet and the blue birds' song will still stir our hearts.

As these dark days of fire fog our spirits and hurt our hearts, we must not forget there is still and forever a special magic alive in Salmon & Sawtooth Country.  It is a magic that lives far beyond the fingers of any fire.  The magic and splendor of Salmon & Sawtooth Country cannot be dimmed by a mere smoke plume or a swath of blackened beetle-killed trees.

Let us remember these realities during today's trying times.  Let us remember that "these things, too, shall pass."  As Earth, Wind and Fire meet together to fan the flames of their eternal relationship, let us reflect on why we love this place and know that it will be just as special and just as dear as ever with the dawn of each and every new day.

Many Cheers, John Parsons, Idaho Falls"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Outta da fire

We've been taking a break from the forest fire scene today.  It's been such truly clear skies so bright they make blue birds smile.  No smoke whatsoever in the sky.  People here in Idaho Falls have been slightly happier than normal.  Mary Poppins made a Guest Appearance.  It was a Good Tater Nation Day.

We've been takin' a well deserved break fro the Halstead Fire coverage on that Salmon Thang.  That danged article is up to 3,000 page views.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, we want "Outta da fire!"

Susun was off today to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.  Although she only volunteers four hours each week, she rules the roost when she's there and everyone does her bidding as she flits through the big store like a Blur Bird herself.  I decided to mosey on over late during her stint and she set up this great photo, motioning me over and saying, "This is The Place."  Who was it that said that in Utah in 1847?

Gary finished up his hike along the entire length of the Teton Crest Trail Friday about 4:30 pm and showed up here at 7 pm.  He even had time to stop off and eat dinner at Bubba's BBQ.  We had a great day Saturday visiting the Farmer's Market and the Japanese Garden and all the other highlights.  Sunday we went for a great long two hours bike ride and then he took off about 1 pm yesterday.  It sure was fun to have him here.  Thanks, Gary!

Hilda's Garden is beginning its annual slow decline from the Glory Days of early August.  Even though the garden still look spectacular, keen observers can notice the signs of the onset of fall running rampant amid the splash of color everyone enjoys.

Life here in Idaho Falls this time of year is totally Norman Rockwell.  Kids are playing high school football, Stores are stocking in cool weather fall merchandise.  Bubba boys are sighting their rifles for elk season.  The weather has changed.  Everyone knows it.  Summer's over.  Fall is near.  These are the Last Great Dog Days of Summer that would make any mutt smile as the evening sun sets over yonder maple trees.

Speaking of yonder maple trees, I entered a national Forest Service online contest back in July and won a prize.  Nope, I did win TOP prize but I finished as one of 15 out of 70 entries that made the final cut for a price.  The Forest Service was doing a contest on urban forestry.  I went out and took some pix of Idaho Falls awesome urban forest and, yep, I got into the top echelon of entries.  Feels good, actually.

Have a great evening & Many Cheers!  jp

BUT WAIT!  Here's this totally MOST AWESOME Video from the Man Behind The Verde River Facebook.  Oh, man, how good is THIS?  VERY GOOD!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong's Shadow

Growing up in Lafayette, Indiana, we all lived eventually in Neil Armstrong's shadow.  His shadow loomed large over Purdue University and the Twin Cities on the Banks of The Wabash River.  Armstrong enrolled at Purdue the year I was born. Even when he finished his education there no on knew his name.  He was just another nerdy engineer, a title he would glory himself with forever.

But on that electric day in 1969, everyone knew his name and Purdue would never be the same.  He is arguably the University's most famous graduate, bar none.  No one, myself included, can walk that storied campus without treading in the shadow of Neil Armstrong.

So it was with a twinge of genuine sadness today that I read the news of Mr. Armstrong's passing.  I cannot help but feel a kindred spirit with all those Purdue graduates whose pride in the Gold & Black always wore a little Neil Armstrong on in our Spirits.

I have a lot of heros in life and most all of them are dead.  They go way back to Saint Lawrence.  (Disclaimer: My First & Forever Hero is My Dad.)  Anyway, St. Lawrence is the patron Saint of chefs and cooks because when he was being grilled to death he said, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side."  I went to Saint Lawrence Grade School so this Grillin' Guy was obviously a candidate for childhood hero status.

There have been a lot of other heroes and heroins come into my life.  Neil Armstrong was one of them.  Back then in 1969, believe it or not, I was Manager of a small park in Lake Tahoe, California.  Yep, 'tis true.  My boss had a little black and white TV which was itself a technological novelty at the time.  He brought it to the park for my duty cycle and we set it up on a ponderosa log that marked the boundary of a parking area.  We watched in awe on that little TV when Neil stepped out of the lunar lander and uttered his forever famous words about being a small step and so forth.

From that day forward, Neil was one of my heroes and the fact that he was a Purdue alum only added to his glamour.  Years later when he declared to the National Press Club, "I am, and ever will be, a white-sock, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer," Neil's hero status in my mind went exponential.

Armstrong's status as a worldwide hero is well known and being bantered about the planetary news media tonight.  He deserves every bit of whatever allocades come his way.

I am sad tonight for his passing.  Even at the age of 82, he seemed young to me.  I thought he would somehow live forever.  I had no idea he would die so young.  I thought of him as a centenarian-in-the-making, living large in his late life fame, forever carrying pencils in his pocket and making my white socks seem so righteous.

God Bless You, Neil.  God Speed where you are going.  May you feet alight softly in your next small step.
We will miss you, Fellow Traveler.  You have inspired us.  You have Gifted Us.  And for that, we will Thank You forever.

All Hail To Our Old Gold And Black!
Hail, Hail To Old Purdue!
Our Friendship May She Never Lack.
Ever Grateful, Ever True,
Thus We Raise Our Song Anew;
Of The Days We've Spent With You,
All Hail Our Own Purdue!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back on 12th St.

Here we be once again, all aglow and tucked into our little bungalow.  It was another one of those fun trips to Salmon Country.  We arrived back here at 4:30 pm yesterday and enjoyed a nice leisurely evening.  Naturally, we've moving pretty slowly this morning.

The screen shot at the top shows Gary's hike yesterday on the south end of the Teton Crest Trail.  As you can see, he and his three buddies are within easy hiking distance from the end of the trail at Teton Pass (The red "X").  As of this writing they haven't left their camp yet but there's every reason to expect he will return to Idaho Falls sometime later today.

The Salmon Thang has been on a roll even thought we have been able to make only minimal updates now and then.  As of this morning, total page views logged since May 16th stand at 10,500.  The Halstead Fire article has 2,164 page views all by itself as of today.  DR & LBR Terry M. did an awesome job maintaining the Salmon Thang Facebook while we were away and his efforts helped continue public interest in reading the website's fire article.  THANK YOU, Terry!  Terry is a lifelong newsman and his highly honed skill and craft shined in his Facebook maintenance in our absence.

Our Google search ranking is now #9 and we show up well on the first page of results.  Interestingly, we discovered by accident recently that the website often shows up on the first page in a Google search for other things related to Salmon River stuff. Very interesting.

Today ought to be a pretty routine day getting back to normal here in River City.  After each road trip, we always end a blog post by saying, "Gee, we sure hope we post some photos" and then we never do.  Well, here we go again.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Duane's Place

Here we are once again at Duane's Place.  Our WIFI connection is oddly better here than anywhere else.  It's better than our connection in Idaho Falls.  Go figure.  Susun and I did a Gilligan's Island Three Hour Tour of the Halstead Fire Camp today.  Below is a great photo of me and our Gilligan's Island Tour Guide, Eric Mosley.  Susun took the photo.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stretching our imagination

The Salmon Thang is really going wild.  It's stretching our imaginations.  We just topped 500 page views for a single day--this on the heels of two straight days of 400+ page views.  We cleared 8300 page views a few minutes ago.  Meanwhile, our Google Search ranking briefly ticked up to Number 9 before settling back in at Number 10.  It's really off the charts and actually off the wall, too.

Obviously, we're having to write stuff that people want to read.  However, it's kind of spooky that so many people want to read what we are writing.  We don't really know what to think about it.  That's why it's stretching our imagination.

All we can do is keep on doing whatever it is that we are doing.  We know, of course, that "they" are coming to read about the Halstead Fire.  That article alone now has way more than 1000 page views all by its lonesome self.  We've even received some plaintive comments to keep giving updates.  We've looked and looked high and low and we know there's simply no place else where you can find the type of coverage we're showering on the Halstead Fire.  Frankly, I've never seen coverage of a forest fire like the way we are doing it.

Not that it's overly creative or anything.  We're just using lots of maps and illustrations and adding in whatever accessory data we can find. Pretty basic stuff.  But people can't seem to get their fill of this sort of stuff and they keep hitting the article in waves and waves of visitation.  I guess they are starved for information because the mainstream media really is just rehashing what their peer group newspapers and electronic media have to say.

It's really kind of spooky to think that many readers are out there hanging on whatever words fall off this QWERTY keyboard.  Very strange indeed.

Well there you have the latest report on our Salmon Thang.  At the rate we are going, we might crack 9,000 tomorrow but certainly no later than Sunday.  That's when coverage and page views will fall off because we're heading north at 5 am Sunday to Heather's Place at The Dream Ranch on the smoke-filled East Fork.

In the meantime, we're going to enjoy having our imaginations stretch and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Many Cheers, jp

Gary's SPOT

Dear Friend Gary left yesterday morning.  Today, he's well into his long hike of the Teton Crest Trail.  You can click here to follow Gary with his SPOT device that beams a satellite signal to a website.  really cool stuff.  His small group of four hikers just crossed Jackass Pass and are roughly about 8600 feet on the north end of the Teton Range.  The trail is etched in the west side of that mountain range.  The screen shot below shows the general route they've taken since leaving their vehicle yesterday afternoon.  If oyu go to the link above, you can zoom in with either a satellite view or a terrain (topo) view.  It's awesome technology.  That's upper Jackson Lake in the right portion of the graphic below.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And The Winner Is....

Susun, Dina & Friends won Top Honors tonight at the annual City of Idaho Falls Horticultural Department's Volunteer Recognition Ice Cream Social.  The Hilda McClure Garden in front of the city's signature overlook of The Falls was chosen as The Best Flower Garden in the City.  

This year, for the first time, there was a $100 cash prize awarded to the Number One Winners.  Susun and Dina had already agreed to split whatever booty they received this year equally among all those who helped plant the 100's and 100's of flowers that created such a splash of splendor on the West Bank this year.

The evening event was a great slice of Americana.  Children played.  Adults murmured and slurped ice cream.  The evening sun glowed through old growth trees at Tautphaus Park.  Distant drum beats played.  (Honest, I am not making this up.)  A young man performed admirably as emcee. Engraved rocks were handed out.  Women chatted.  And somewhere beyond our realm, Norman Rockwell and Erma Bombeck smiled and nodded knowingly at each other.

Susun and Dina were thrilled to win the Top Honor this year.  They and their helpers really worked their anatomy off this year.
Plus, they had "The Plan."  Remember that DTD (Dina The Dynamo) showed up back in May with spreadsheets and scale diagrams of how the garden was going to look.  

Without her dedication to detail, it's doubtful such a large garden could look so ridiculously delightful.  Talk about all out Beauty!

Well, here are the photos you've all been waiting for.  Miss Susun wore her signature Flower Head apparel that she found in Deseret Industries months ago.  Her attire was a real hit with the other ladies and even engendered some smiles from a few guys, too.  

Delbert The Boss was his typical curmudgeon self even though he was privately glowing inside.  Maybe someday we can share the back story of how volunteers became involved in planting and maintaining the city's flower gardens.  It is a true story of survival, renewal and the triumph of spirit.

Congratulations, Susun and Dina and Friends.  We are so very proud of you.  So very proud.  You really done good this year. May the Blossoms you have shared to brighten all our lives color the memories of this year's Hilda's Garden with a special glow!  MANY CHEERS!  jp

And The Winner is!!!!  HILDA'S GARDEN!

Congratulations, Ladies, you have made all of us very proud of you.  
You are The True Flowers of Our Fair City!

Five Years Ago

Oh, those anniversaries.  Five years ago we left Bowery Guard Station to begin a new life in Idaho Falls.  It had been a full month of angst.  We first applied for the RSVP job opening on July 16th and a month later we were on our way.  It wasn't easy to get from Bowery to the Snake River Plain that day.  Believe it or not, it took a full 12 hours.

Even though we spent the previous few days packing and rigging and preparing to shut down the cabin and so forth, the morning of August 16, 2007, started before dawn and seemed to last forever.  The drive out on the East Fork normally takes one hour but that day it took us almost two hours.  We were towing out the large travel trailer.  Susun would go ahead a little way with a radio and then block the road and radio back that it was clear and then I would proceed.  It took forever before we finally reached a road wide enough to stop with the radio spotting routine.  At one point on the highway, our trailer awning cut loose and we almost lost it.  A big forest fire blew up near Sun Valley and dropped visibility down so low we worried we couldn't see oncoming traffic.  We spent out first night at the Blackfoot fair grounds before moving up to the Snake River RV park in Idaho Falls.  My first full day on the job was August 21.  What a blur those days were.
One of the reasons we wanted out of there so badly back then was the absurd fire danger and the intense smoke.  Ironically, that's just the way it is five year later to the day.  Funny how that stuff cycles back around just in time for notable anniversaries.

We've been spending way too much time covering the Halstead Fire near Stanley and we're going to take a break on it.  We'll still cover it but just not as much as the past week.

Well, an innocent remark abour "Durango By Dinner" sure brought about an interesting chain of events.  Be sure to check out what DF & LBR Terry M. found regarding "Durango By Dinner."  Click here to return to that blog post.

Gary made it in record time Tuesday--13 hours from Rimrock.  We enjoyed a nice evening Tuesday and a full day yesterday.  We went shooting in the morning and then ran all kind of errands during the day.  Then he and I went back out to the range last night so he could participate in a local IDPA match.  He did great and will rank as one of the top shooters of the evening.  It sure was fun.

Gary's waiting right now for his hiking buddies to show up from Ogden.  They should be here by 11 am.  Susun's off dead heading with Dina. that another song title, "Dead Heading With Dina."  Terry, could you look into that please?

Oh, my, that's way too much fun.

Many Cheers!  jp

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Durango by Dinner

DR & LBR Terry M. read the blog post below and was struck by the fact it couldn't possibly be George Strait or Marty Robbins who would croon the tune.  Nope, as Terry said, "I think it would have been an appropriate song by John Denver. Of course it would be from the album entitled; "Denver Does Durango by Dinner."  The album cover is Denver, playing his guitar while sitting on a giant slab of steak perched on a mountain side."

Terry, that gave us the Best Laugh possible and we both really needed a laugh like that.  Bless You & THANK YOU!  John & Susun.

NOTE: DF & LBR Terry M. continued his research and discovered some stunning realities.  Here is his report:


I was able to locate the John Denver “Durago by Dinner” album during a search of e-
bay. It seems it was written when John was first starting his career and was the result of
his Rocky Mountain high.

Here’s the info from Wikipedia:

“Durango by Dinner” was actually the name of a theme tourist train that ran from
Silver City to Durango during the late 1950s.

Passengers would board the train in Silver City and actors and singers, dressed in
appropriate 1800 era costumes would recreate the wild mining days of the area roaming
the cars of the steam driven train singing the song and getting passengers in the mood.
The chorus line was repeated often and all aboard were urged to raise their beer glasses
as it started and empty them by the time the chorus ended.

Denver would walk up and down the aisle during the stanzes replacing the empty mugs
with full ones and urging another chorus of the song. Needless to say by the end of
the trip the passengers were pretty drunk and ready to enjoy dinner which was actually
served in an old railroad car at the Durango Depot. Passengers got to keep the mugs as a
souvenier and a prize was given for the person who had the most mugs at the end of the

Denver spent two summers performing on the train before making the song the title
song of his first album.

“Durango by Dinner” although popular on the train, never made the top 20 list and
was overshadowed by another tune Denver created while sitting in a box car during his
breaks and lamenting his homesickness.

Originally called “A Real Trip”, it was retitled ‘Rocky Mountain High” and became
his first gold record. “Rocky Mountain High" is primarily inspired by John Denver's move to Aspen,
Colorado, and his love for the state. The seventh stanza makes a reference to destruction
of the mountains' beauty by commercial tourism.

The song briefly became controversial in 1972 when the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission was permitted by a legal ruling to censor music deemed
to promote drug abuse. Numerous radio stations cautiously banned the song until Denver
publicly explained that the "high" was his innocent description of the sense of peace he
found in the Rockies. Few believed him.

In 2005, the song was performed by a soloist at the NBA all-star game in Denver.
After years as an unofficial anthem for Colorado, on March 12, 2007, the Colorado
General Assembly made "Rocky Mountain High" one of two official state songs,
sharing the honor with "Where the Columbines Grow".The song was also used in an
advertisement for Colorado-based Coors beer which Denver had served on the train.

Company coming (and going)

Lin had a fun whirlwind visit here.  Believe it or not, she left at 1:30 am in the morning today.  That's not a typo--that's 90 minutes after midnight.  She wanted to get through the Salt Lake construction mess before rush hour gridlocks the place.

Ironically, DF & AZ Neighbor Gary W. left his place near Montezuma Well at 3 am this morning heading our way.  He hopes to arrive between 8-9 pm tonight.  Whew, folks, that's a LOT of driving.  Lin is hopeing to get to Durango by dinner today.  Sounds kinda like a title for a country western song, "Durango By Dinner."  Who would sing it?  Probably George Strait.  Maybe Marty Robbins.  We digress.

Gary is on his way to yet another annual epic hike.  Thursday he and his hiking buddies go out on The Reclamation Road east of Ashton to a point near Grassy Lake.  There they saddle up their monster backpacks and take off south on the famous Teton Crest Trail.  In ten days they will reach civilization once again at Teton Pass between Moose and Victor.

Gary will be here long enough on the front end of the hike to shoot in tomorrow night IDPA pistol match.  He hopes to be able to stay a couple of days on the back end of the hike, too.  His hike is going to be pretty smoky.  The whole of this region is basically smoked out.  Ash is even dropping from the sky in Salmon, Idaho and visibility there yesterday was estimated at a mere half-mile.  They even cancelled afternoon high school football practice!  We can almost taste the smoke in the air here in Idaho Falls.

We moved here almost five years ago.  One of the reason we wanted out of Bowery was the ridiculous fire danger and smoke of the 2007 fire season.  Commentators are comparing this year to 2007.  Frankly, I think this year is worst that 2007.  It's been hotter than normal like forever here this year.

One of the many, many reasons we love Idaho Falls is that it has this enormous, vast and incredible firewall around the city.  Yep, it's those miles and miles of lush, green, irrigated fields of potatoes and alfalfa.  Even if a fire might get started in a field of barley stubble, it won't go anywhere.  It's a comforting feeling in a state that's essentially a sea of flammable material this summer.  Based on the weather forecast, there's no relief in sight until perhaps 30-45 days from now.

The fire we are covering intensively up in Salmon Country is a classic example of how fire is managed there these days.  The fire managers basically say "we hope you're happy with how we manage this fire" and then go on about their business of keeping the fire from molesting "high value assets" while letting it burn willy nilly elsewhere.  They admit the fire won't be contained until October 16th at noon, no less.  That doesn't mean they are psychics.  That's just code for "this fire will burn until it snows."

Naturally, we are heavily into the Salmon Thang.   Visitation to that website is incredible.  We cleared 6000 last Thursday evening and there's no doubt we will log the 7,000 page view sometime today.  It's amazing.  Meanwhile, our ranking in a Google search using "salmon river idaho" as the keywords had us up to #10 and on the first page of search results for a few days.  We've dropped back to #14 and are on the second page now but that's still most excellent and we are very happy.  The author of the Stanley, Idaho Facebook has twice given us credit as producing "the best online coverage of The Halstead Fire."  Considering we are up against some heavy-hitter print and electronic media, that's quite a compliment.  We actually went looking around online to see how our coverage compares and we have to admit the compliment was well placed.  It's no big deal really--there are 45 "large" fires burning in the west and the media's focus to spread too thin to really devote much coverage to any single fire.

Don't worry, the West won't burn down.

Hey, remember our note in the previous post "Girls just wanna have fun?"  Well check out these two photos of three girls having fun last night at our mini-soiree.  Yep, girls just wanna have fun, alright.

OK, enough fun.  Well, maybe some more fun.  Remember when we wrote the story on Robert Turner, the guy who got crushed by the tree on AUgust 5th, 2010?  Well, after we finished the story, we sent a note to PR Publisher Roger Plothow and suggested he let his Ace Reporter in Salmon, Idaho, Laura Zuckerman, do a story on Turner.  We never heard a word from Roger in reply and figured the idea hit the round file.  Much to our surprise this morning there was Robert Turner in all his bib overall glory sitting on the stump in a great story by Laura.  WOW, what a way to wake up today.  Here's a photo of the way the story was laid out on Page B1 of this morning's newspaper. We will get the full story posted a little later.  Another note below photo.

We just rec'd phone calls--Lin is almost in Cortez, Colorado and Gary is in Panguitch, Utah.

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bear With Me

What's that saying, "Girls just wanna have fun?"  Well, Susun and Lin are off to the Grand Tetons for a fun Sunday Drive & Hike.  We gave them both a quick refresher in the use of bear spray and that really had some fun after the lesson was over.

Lin passed through briefly Wednesday.  She and her son left Cottonwood, Arizona, at 4 pm Tuesday in two vehicles and made it to Idaho Falls 16 hours later!  They drove non-stop through the night.  After a breakfast and a short nap, they took off for Bozeman, arriving there barely 24 hours after leaving Cottonwood!  Lin was helping her son get situated in graduate school there.

Lin headed back from Bozeman Saturday and arrived here about 6 pm.  We had a fun evening in the courtyard.  She's not sure if she's staying another full day tomorrow or taking off the heat of Arizona.  Goatherder said is was 114 in Cornville yesterday and 112 each of the two previous days.  Folks, that's HOT!  Anyway, we're lobbying Lin to stay a little longer.  We shall see.  Many Cheers, jp
Here they are at Phelps Lake yesterday in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dugout Dick

Every time I try to write about Dugout Dick, I get an ache in my heart and a lump in my throat.  We're talking Total Reality here, folks.  Last night, Susun and I met with Roger Plothow and his wife, Kathleen, for three hours specifically to discuss how "The Dugout Dick Project" is going to unfold.  Roger and Kathleen are "all in" on this project in a Big Way.

The draft interpretive signs you see here were prepared by the BLM in record time since Roger became the quintessential squeaky wheel back in May.

We had a wonderful time talking "All Things Dugout Dick" last night.  We are awed and impressed that such a busy couple would throw down the gauntlet and draw their own line in the sand for "The Salmon River Caveman."  This is an unfolding story that's bound to reach far higher levels as our future unfolds.

We are honored and humbled that we can be a part of this story.  THANKS, Roger & Kathleen!

Dead Heads

Jerry Garcia is nowhere to be seen but these two women keep looking for Dead Heads anywhere they can find them!  The suspense builds as the annual Idaho falls Garden awards ceremony looms this coming Thursday when an old-fashioned Ice Scream Social will be held at the city's Tautphaus Park.  Rumor has it that Hilda's is in the running for some serious kudos.  Will it happen?  Little Yonni, Your Boy Reporter, will be on hand to document the event.

Bulging Bonneville Bounty

This time of year the Idaho Falls Farmers Market is a sight to see.  It's earthly vegetable veritas shines strong.  Today as we strolled amid the splashy summer splendor, I simply tried to snap shots of colorful eye candy.

 Click here to see the photo album in case you don't have Adobe Flash on your computer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blew through 6000

We just blew through our 6000th pageview on the Salmon Thang like the benchmark wasn't even there.  We just told a DF & LBR that it was like a '57 T-Bird blowing through Peach Springs, Arizona, on a hot summer day on Old Route 66.  Blink, Bam, GONE!  What's that in the rear view mirror?

Well she got her daddy's car 
And she cruised through the hamburger stand now 
Seems she forgot all about the library 
Like she told her old man now 
And with the radio blasting 
Goes cruising just as fast as she can now 

And she'll have fun fun fun 
Til her daddy takes the t-bird away 
(Fun fun fun til her daddy takes the t-bird away) 

Truly amazing day.  We wrote two really "longreads" relating to the Halstead Fire and a Thermal Block on the Steelhead.  Well, the  "Stanley,Idaho" People shared our Halstead article on their Facebook and the rest is history.  We didn't think we'd get to 6000 by Sunday at the earliest.

Who knows what's next?  This whole gig has taken on a life of its own.  We're just along for the ride.

Fun, fun, fun!

Many Cheers, jp

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vol. 1, No. 1 Zionsville Main Street 8/8/72

A flood of fond memories washes ashore today on 12th Street.  Forty years ago today was one of the major milestone days of my life.  We started a honest-to-gosh, genuine newspaper from scratch that day.  Almost a year later on July 18, 1973, we had run our 113-year-old competitor "The Zionsville Times" out of business. Those were heady days. It could have easily been a "rags-to-riches" script right out of a Horatio Alger pulp novel.  Looking back from our safe perch 40 years later, there's no way we should or could have succeeded.  But we did.  I will never forget the feelings of that day from a past life long ago.  What a day!

Somehow during the daily maelstrom of dealing with Mom's chaotic estate, I managed to save and send the bound volume of "Zionsville Main Street" for months of existence fro 8/8/72 until the end of 1973.  Frankly, I'd forgotten that I sent it out.  I arose about 5 am this morning and began rummaging through the scant few effects that I mailed out here back in January.  Much to my merry surprise, there lay the bound volume, safely packed in its very own box.  Oh, the flashbacks snapped, crackled and popped as I trolled through those pages in the pre-dawn of a day 40 years later. What a long and winding road it has been since then.

Here are a lot of captioned photos I took this morning as the bound volume lay on our kitchen table. As always, you can click on any of them to see a larger (more readable) version.  Many Cheers!  jp
It was such a delightful surprise to find this weighty bound volume.  It's 3 inches thick.
Such a plain title, such a life-changing 17 months.  Ah, the stories this volume could tell.
Note the ad banner across the bottom of the front page.  Back then ads on the front page were considered pagan and blasphemous to the true Spirit of Journalistic Integrity.  We were too young to know better.
Volume 1, No. 1 --an exercise in both audacity and extreme optimism
I've thought about that day eachAugust 8th ever since.  The 40th is Super Special.  I never been able to look at a penny without remembering the "one red cent" cost of our newspaper.
Here's what we had to say about our new venture that day. My fuzzy memory thought we used an IBM Selectric typewriter with proportional letters.  Not.  We began using the proportional lettering a week after the first issue appeared.  The first one was done with a simple, ordinary typewriter.  I can't remember if we were using press-on letters for for the ads.
Cathy was my first wife.  We divorced on St. Patrick's Day 1978.  I moved to Arizona on Valentine's Day 1979.
I love the "Everybody's being Christian" quote in this mini-compendium.
Bloor Schleppey was a genuine fossil even then.  I think he was born in the 1880's.  Having a genuine Old School Journalist on board for the first issue was a real psychological boost.
Ah, Sweet Success!  We went on to be wildly successful in this business--far too successful for our own good.  But that's another story altogether.  Much turbulence and turnover followed my divorce and departure from Zionsville.  Their newspaper is now "The Zionsville Times Sentinel."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Classic Early August Evening

Susun has really been on top of her game lately.  Doesn't matter if it's Hilda's Garden or volunteering for Habitat or being a Friend to her Friends.  Susun's there for what she's needed to be there for.  Way to go, Sweetie!

Tonight she was there for the sunset's peak of glory.  She tried to rally me up for it but all I saw was monochromatic colors and went back inside to mess with that Salmon Thang.  Not Susun.  She got some classic sunset photos from Deep in The Heart of The City.

Susun did turn to take a photo of the house during this sunset episode.  Looks real normal, eh?

Meanwhile out over the Arco Desert, Total Glory was breaking loose.
PS--Here is what the sunset actually looked like from Roger Plothow's Eagle's Roost high in the foothills east of Idaho Falls.  He easily has THE Best Sunset viewing spot that we know of and also owns THE best camera equipment to capture any given moment at its very best.  THANKS, Roger!  Photos are Copyright 2012 and may not be used without permission.  Note also that Roger's photos are in much larger file sizes. You can click on them and see a much larger version.  THANK YOU, Roger!  Ya dun good.

Back To School

Lots has changed since The Good Old Days and now.  One of the changes that's very hard for me to understand is the annual "Back To School" ritual.  It always amazes me that retailers start featuring back-to-school supplies immediately after the July 4th holiday.

Yesterday, we were reading the Camp Verde Bugle online newspaper and, lo, school actually starts at the Beaver Creek School tomorrow!  That's August 7th--technically the first week in August.  Something fundamentally wrong with that picture.  Us Old Timers fondly remember when all schools started after Labor Day.  That's the way it was in The Good Old Days.  Summer lingered long and lazy and Labor Day was the shining beacon on the calendar's horizon.  Nobody worried about buying school supplies until well into August.  How could any right minded person send kids back to school in the first week of August?  If it's not unconstitutional, it surely ought to be.

Beaver Creek School, by the way, is our local taxing school district down practically next door to our Arizona place at Second Chance Ranch.  It's been a hum-dinger monsoon season in Arizona this year.  Gary W. says we have a new crop of tumbleweeds that sprouted in the ample rainfall.  Send some kind thoughts Gary and Robin's way today.  Their beloved 7.5-year-old, perfectly healthy dog Chakra died suddenly yesterday of a heart attack.  Gary and Robin's spirits are very low right now.  Our hearts go out to them.

Well, it's the first Monday of the month and we all know what that means, right?  Yep, it's time once again for the monthly Parks & Recreation Commission meeting.  July's meeting was scratched due to lack of a quorum.  We hope to be able to attend in person the September, October AND November meetings before departing for our Arizona Season.  The new P&R Director hopes also to connect us via speak phone during the winter months.  DF & LBR Terry M. will be presenting a report on QR Codes.  He and I did a mini-experiment way back two months ago in early June.  If you have a smart phone you know all about QR codes.  If you have a dumb phone, they don't really matter.

We received some surprising news yesterday.  Tom Bonomo and his wife, Pat, are coming to visit September 8th.  That's practically earth-shaking news.  We are very excited about it.  They couldn't have picked a better time.  Susun flies out to San Diego the morning of the 10th.  We will have just returned fro our annual Grand Teton camping trip on September 7th.  Talk about perfect timing.

Lin Mickelsen will be passing through for one night this Wednesday and then returning next week for a couple of days.  Gary W. will be here the 15th and then again on the 25th.  That's about all the company we know of, at least at this time.

Speaking of Back To School, one of the reasons we spent so much time on that Salmon Thang yesterday is the learning curve on the project's blog.  It's a blog just like this one with a domain name pinned to the top of it so that it masquerades as a website.  Well, it turns out there are all sorts of new-fangled things one can do with a blog, stuff I had no clue existed.  No, I am not changing a thing there on this blog.  However, on that blog, I really need to make an effort to use the latest and greatest bells and whistles.  Also, I decided I needed to superimpose one photo over another photo for the new banner on the Salmon Thang front page banner.  For my entire online life, I have studiously avoided Adobe Photoshop.  To me, that gargantuan, world famous software is a giant Black Hole.  If you get sucked into Photoshop, people might never see you again.  Well, whatever.  The problem is that there aren't many ways to manipulate digital files unless you use Photoshop of one of its competitors.  Luckily, I found a freeware program called Gimp.  How perfect:  A Gimp for a Gruff Grump! Anyway, Gimp's learning curve was substantially steep but nothing compared to the Mount Everest of Photoshop.  Gimp helped me make the new banner.  I will be changing out the banner's photo at least once a month, probably more like every two weeks.  The one common element of each new banner will be the small inset photo of Susun facing the approach to Cronks Canyon.  That particular little photo adorns all of our online assets for the Salmon Thang.

Speaking of that Salmon Thang, it logged its 5500th page view yesterday evening.  Interestingly, we have been having some success with SEO--that's internet lingo for "Search Engine Optimization."  What SEO really means is that you hope your website isn't buried so deep in the results that no one will ever find it.  If you typed in "Salmon River Idaho" in Google search a few weeks ago, there was NO chance you'd find the website.  Well, we have been tweaking our SEO options and two weeks ago we moved into the Top 100.  Considering how many things come up with the keywords "salmon" and "river" and "idaho" we thought cracking the Top 100 was a big deal.  Lo and behold, while we were away last week doing absolutely nothing with SEO, we have managed to move up to #35 in the mix.  That means we are on Page Four of a Google search using those three keywords.  That's HUGE, if we do say so ourselves.  It would be nice to move higher than #35 but it sure it going to be tough competition at this level.  We're up against some serious heavy hitters at this level.  Naturally, we will keep you posted.

We're going to be particularly busy for the next two weeks.  We leave at 5 am August 19th to head up to Heather's Place at The Dream Ranch alongside the East Fork.  We'll remain in Salmon Country until the afternoon of August 23rd when we return back here.  It won't be any where near the type of trips we experienced June 16-23 and July 28-August 4.  Nope, very low key stuff.  We will, however, be in Stanley August 22 for the anniversary of Tricky Dick signing the SNRA into existence back in 1972.  Then we have to meet with the BLM in Challis the morning of August 23rd.  Most of the trip will be spent hanging out at Heather's Place, probably sleeping in a real bed instead of a tent.  We might even be able to get up and soak in the Bowery Hot Springs.

Here's some Karma Loop irony for you: It was five years ago on August 17th when we left Bowery to coe to Idaho Falls to take the RSVP job.  Now, five years later we will be going back up--at least for a few days. Older people always told me time would pass a lot faster as I aged.  Boy, were they sure right!  These past five years flew by in a wink.  We've now been retired again as long as we had the job in the first place--2.5 years.

Speaking of Bowery, Duane told us that the couple who signed on to volunteer there this year apparently quit early.  He said they passed through Cottonwood Campground a few weeks back heading north to Montana.  It's little wonder they couldn't hack it.  The big wonder is how Susun and I managed to survive out there for four summers.  It's just so complete and totally in the middle of absolute nowhere.  Looking back, we both shake our heads in amazement that we actually spent four summers there.  There's no way on earth we could even possibly consider such a thing at this point in our lives.  The mere thought is so alien to our beings.  Well, it got us to Idaho Falls--that's what counts--no doubt about it.  We sure love this place.

This is the time of year we look down at Ol' Airy Zonie and say, "Hum, it's going to be over 100 all week in Rimrock," or "Gee, it's 117 in Phoenix right now."  This time period in the summer is equivalent to the depth of winter in Idaho Falls.  That's when we are in Ol' Airy Zonie looking up at Idaho saying such things as. "Hum, it's going to be below zero all week in Idaho Falls," or "Gee, Island Park got down to minus 35!"  We are very fortunate and very happy to be able to be here when it's hot there and there when it's cold here.

Anyway, we started to talk about being busy the next couple of weeks and got sidetracked on a meandering tangent.  We're getting back into our pistol shooting hobby these two weeks.  Last year we attended 13 straight pistol matches.  This year, we're going to be lucky to participate in six matches...maybe.  Tow of those will be during these next two weeks.  Also, we have to finish our BLM project prior to August 23rd. No wiggle room there at all.  Plus, we need to get back into swimming and doing the stadium steps and hitting the treadmill.  We can sure feel the lack of exercise the last couple of weeks.

Now, if you think we have been wandering aimlessly through a tangled thicket of words here, please do remember this blog's subtitle: "Ruminations & Reminisces about Mundane Meanderings."  A post like this one is the epitome of the subtitle.  Once in awhile, it's good to go back to our roots.

And speaking of roots, you should see the Hilda Garden.  It's outrageously beautiful right now.  That garden always peaks in August--there's nothing new about that factoid.  But Dina's attention to detail and the ba-zillions of flowers planted so precisely there this year have combined to produce a brilliant display of color, diversity and just flat out mass beauty.

The city crew have been out doing their annual "judging" of the various flower gardens around town.  Susun and Dina aren't the only volunteers planting and maintaining flowers.  There's enough volunteers doing it to equate to a half-time paid staff member's expenses.  The city will throw a party August 15th for all those volunteers and announce who wins the annual contest for Best Garden.  I would expect Hilda to at least place in the Top 5, if not higher.  It's going to be real interesting to see.  This is a year when I will definitely want to attend this fun summer event.  Below are some photos of the Hilda Garden area taken yesterday during our Sunday Morning Bike Ride.  Well, that's all, folks.  Have a Great Day & Many Cheers, jp

PS--For those wondering where the "Go To Church" lyrics went--we moved them over to the Mesquites Rule blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

40 Years Ago

Forty years ago I was 24 years old.  I had quit my good paying job as Managing Editor of The Zionsville Times and rolled the dice to print a single sheet so-called newspaper called "The Zionsville Main Street" that sold for "one red cent."  That's right--we charged a penny per copy and, believe it or not, people actually PAID a penny and thanked us for being able to buy something of substance for a penny.

We will be talking a lot over the next few days about those days 40 years ago.  You see, the very first issue appeared on 8/8/72.  Forty years ago today, we were buried in all the esoteric details of starting a newspaper from scratch.  There was no such thing as digital back then.  Heck, photo-offset was still a gleam in rich guys' eyes!

What we did that made us "viable," if you will, was buy a very expensive IBM Selectric electric typewriter that actually typed in PROPORTIONAL letters.  In other words, when you typed something, it looked really good and not like all the stiff, corporate letters that were normally spit out by a regular IBM Selectric machine.  We painstakingly typed out our stories on stiff paper and cut them out with scissors and used old-fashioned glue to paste them to a page.  We took the "page dummies" out to a guy who lived in a corn field and had an ancient, 25-year-old AB Dick press.  He printed them out on 11x17 paper and then we folded those sheets into a four-page paper and  proudly distributed our "newspaper" to all comers for "One Red Cent."

Ah, The Good Old Days.

Well, fast forward to 40 years later and we have spent ALL day trying to make the Salmon Thang better.  If this isn't a Major Deja Vu, then we don't know what is.  We spent at least 8 hours today on the Salmon Thang, all with the same feverish zeal we remember so well from those youthful days of August 1972. Who knew history could repeat itself so well so many decades later?

Mom and Dad are long gone, of course, and with Mom went all traces of those Old Days.  She kept a lot of photo files and bound annual issues.  They all disappeared back in January.  It was tough to see them go but I had no choice. Too bad.  It would have been nice to have some reminders of those days.

At least I have fond memories from that time.  As noted, we will spend some more time doting on those pivotal moments so long ago.  But not too many moments..we have one heck of a lot of digital chores awaiting our attention on that Salmon Thang!

Have a great night & Many Cheers, jp

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Two Years Ago August 5th

Robert Turner will be 81 years old August 5th.
It was a kind of a strange day two years ago tomorrow.  I will never forget the day.  It was one of those days when the Voice of Intuition (VOI) does not speak softly or whisper.  It was a day when the VOI yells at you.  Loud.  VOI doesn't do that very often, that's why it's a real easy day to remember.  Trust me, when VOI yells. we listen.

We started out the day at the Cottonwood Campground--Duane's Place.  Our plan was to paddled from Elk Bend to the BLM Shoup Bridge Recreation Site.  That's a very long paddle but we figured we were in shape and could it.    By that time in our BLM Volunteerism two years ago, we were running our daily paddle trips like an old fashion railroad--you know, the one where the conductor looked at his pocket watch and announced the next whistle stop in a minute and--BAM--the train would pull up to the station right on time.  Well, we were running railroad-style paddle trips.  I told Susun we would be at Shoup at 4 pm sharp.

But a funny thing happened as we drove down river that day--VOI began yelling--DON'T GO TO SHOUP--STOP AT ELEVEN MILE!  Well, you know how the right brain argues with the left brain and all of that.  The right brains was fixated on going to Shoup.  Thus the argument began.  However, in this case, the VOI was yelling really loud like it hardly ever does.  So, we pulled over our two vehicles and had a conference.  I told Susun what was happening and she agreed.  She said she had been having the same feelings.  So we both agreed to end our daily trip at Eleven Mile and not go to Shoup, even though it meant we would leave a lot of river miles on the table and have to make them up yet another day.  We knew we would be "wasting" a few hours when we could have been paddling.  But we both agreed that our VOI's had the high card in the daily hand we had been dealt.

Thus, we did our duty and paddled to Eleven Mile and went back home to Cottonwood.  As we drove out of Eleven Mile we noticed some odd, very dark clouds in our rear view mirrors.

It was only the next day when we learned what had happened.  At 3:55 pm, the weather at Shoup was perfectly calm.  At precisely 4 pm, all heck broke loose there and trees just basically exploded and left the place looking like a tornado had gone through.  One giant cottonwood tree snapped off near it's 2+ foot trunk and crushed campground host Robert Turner into the earth.  Anything that would have been parked at the Shoup Bridge River access would have been totally destroyed.

If we would have paddled to Shoup, we would have arrived at precisely the same time the incredible microburst showed up.  Our truck would without doubt have been destroyed and it is entirely possibly we would have suffered grave bodily harm or perhaps even death.

I remember reading about poor campground host Turner and thinking, "But for VOI, that could have been me or Susun."  I remember we talked at length about the whole thing and it really spooked us.  We gave copious thanks for the blessings of our VOI and moved on with our lives.

Well, fast forward to the near the Summer Solstice.  Josh and I were doing the Shoup Bridge to Morgan Bar run and we encountered this crusty old coot at the ramp.  Something clicked and I realized it had to be the guy crushed by the tree.  Sure enough, he pulled out the photos to prove it.  I even had Josh take my photo with him and then he took a picture of me and Josh.

Well, fast forward to the past two nights when I have been camped at Shoup Bridge.  Yep, the guy crushed by the tree is the campground host-Robert Turner.  Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the day he was crushed into the earth.  It's the two year anniversary of the day we both listened to our VOI.  It's the day we both dodged an enormous bullet disguised as cottonwood trees going ballistic.

Robert Turner agree to do an interview this morning and I have just finished a lengthy article on his ordeal and return to being a campground host.  You can read all about it here:

Turner's whole experience is truly remarkable and inspirational and truly harks to the heart of that adage of our Mommies and Daddies, "When Life knocks you down, you just gotta get back up and keep on a going."

Many Cheers!  jp

Heading Home

Been 8 days on the road--time to go home to my Sweetie Susun and all of the fun stuff Idaho Falls has to offer.  It was a great trip.  We are emailing this fine Saturday morning from a piece of concrete in front of the Salmon Library.  Their WIFI works outside the building.  They don't open until 10.  Across the street, a Blue Bird Sun shines on the Lemhi County Farmers Market and Salmon's iconic Bear and three salmon frozen in bronze time.  It's a beautiful day here and a fitting time to sally forth onto the Snake River Plain.  Have a great day and Many Cheers!  jp

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chillin' in Salmon

We're hanging out in the Salmon Public Library this afternoon.  It's a great way to beat the heat.  We just put up a great article on Salmon River News entitled "Salmon Summer Bridges.  It's just so classic Salmon, Idaho.  We also moved the Carmen access project article back to the top and added a report on the July streamflows.  Anyway the bridge article is on the top right now.  Click here to go there.

So, here's a story.  While we were packing up at Site 7, somebody came over and parked a car right across from it and left the engine running and the lights on.  I thought that was odd.  However, it all became clear when I drove out of Site 7.  The guy practically burned rubber getting in right behind me.  Site 7 was vacant for perhaps 30 seconds, if that.  That's why it was a miracle for me to have received that gift on Monday.  I will always be grateful.  It was wonderful.

We took many hours to cover what most people drive in less than a hour getting down here to Salmon.  We had a great epiphany at Dugout Dick's Place.  We've been mystified about those giant rocks in the river.  They are downright Easter Island-ish in their abject strangeness.  Today we finally took the time to study them.  They are part of an epic, unimaginable, gi-normous, incredible debris flow of epic and mass wastage proportions.  As nearly as we can tell, a giant chunk of a quartz mountain simply exploded all at once and send those giant boulders flying like a major league baseball fast ball.  Once I began putting the pieces of the puzzle together, it all became crystal clear and I walked around in utter amazement at the intergalactic force of it all.  If there's not already a professional article or paper out about it, this event would surely be worth the attention of an established geologist.  The photo below was taken in June when Josh and I were driving downriver during high water. You can click on the panorama to see a much larger version and scroll back and forth.  Narrative continues below photo.
We were able to met a lot of new people today.  It was a very fun day.  We're going to camp at Shoup Bridge tonight.  it's a tight, cramped place right next to a busy boat ramp and an even busier highway.  But, hey, it's only $2.50 cents for the night.  Pretty tough to beat a price like that.

Have a great evening & Many Cheers, jp

Moonshine on The Salmon River

Oh, Salmon River moon, I miss her so tonight.
Tell her to return, shine down with her light.
Oh, Salmon River moon, if I should hear her feet
When she comes close to me, my heart would skip a beat.
With my guitar I croon, Oh, Salmon River moon,
My sweet love melody, bring her back to me.
Oh, now the shadows fall on my windowsill.
Salmon River moon, I am waiting still.
Oh, Salmon River moon, down the trail, I'll be there.
On a cool summer night, I'll know you still care.
Oh, Salmon River moon, there're tears in my eyes.
Does she wait for me still, just on the other side?
Now my love I assume, Oh, Salmon River moon,
You're coming back to me, I'm your destiny.
Now the moon's going down along the winding hill.
Salmon River moon, I am waiting still.

Song by Dugout Dick (1916-2010)

By the dawn's early light the moon set over yonder rugged ridge.  A bald eagle flew low over my camp and two perfect "V's" of Canadian geese honked their way down river.  Fish rose to feed on The Salmon River's surface.  A gentle breeze tickled the cottonwood leaves as Bambi browsed contentedly on the far shore.  The August Blue Moon has been spectacular here at Duane's Place.  It will be next year before we get another chance to savor the splendor of that bright white orb floating so gracefully overhead here.  Ah, Cottonwood, let me count the ways...

We're moving on down river today with a long litany of MOAN Country whistle stops: Ellis, The Pahsimeroi, Deer Gulch, Cronks Canyon, Colston, Kilpatrick, Elk Bend, Waddington Creek, Dugout Dick's Place, Eleven Mile, Shoup Bridge, Salmon City, Island Park, Carmen, Morgan Bar, Tower Rock, Red Rock, Bobcat Gulch, Wagon Hammer and, finally, North Fork.  Who knows what we will see and learn along our winding way?

Yesterday we had 16 whistle stops and chores on our "to do" list.  We managed to actually cross off 12 of them--that's a .750 batting average for you baseball aficionados.  Perhaps our most productive visit was with Ben Roundtree, Jeff Christenson's replacement as the Challis BLM Recreation Planner.  Ben was just started his third day on the job when we showed up at his door step.  We had a productive one hour meeting and feel that our BLM river guide project is finally going to get somewhere--at least within a year or two.  Anyway, our part of it will be mostly over and done when we return to Ben's office August 23rd for our final meeting of this 2012 Idaho Season.  The other 11 stops in Challis were fun, too, but we really got lucky meeting with Ben.  We didn't even know he had been hired and hadn't even called ahead for an appointment.
Monday's "blow up" from the Stanley Ranger Sta.

The people of Challis and Salmon Country have grown up with forest fires every year.  Unless the fire is right at their doorstep, a forest conflagration is a real yawner to them.  Dense smoke?  Yawn.  Near zero visibility?  Yawn.  Burning eyes?  Yawn.  The smoke from the Halstead Fire overwhelmed Challis yesterday and at times dropped visibility so low you couldn't see any of the mountains or hills around the city.  The Halstead started by lightning 18 miles from Stanley as I was sleeping at Sunny Gulch.  The initial attack by 14 smokejumpers could stem the firey tide so Smokey called in the heavy artillery when the fire blew up on Monday.  Now it's a major motion picture with a national level incident management team and all the usual bells and whistles a big fire brings.  It's grown to well over 5,000 acres and the commander said yesterday, "We won't put this fire out soon or easily."  That's code talk for "This fire will burn until it snows."  Meanwhile, Smokey will probably wind up spending a million or more messing with it too make sure it doesn't sneak over and snuff up "high value assets" near Stanley.

If you want to enjoy the pristine beauty of Salmon Country, be sure to visit before fire season starts.  Once the smoke starts rollin' round these hills and valleys, cool, crisp views will have to wait until fall's first snows arrive.

It is with a tinge of sentimentality that we drive away from Site 7 this morning.  We have been mightily tempted to "stay & play" here for the next couple of days.  Alas, we must go.  Responsibility beckons.  We shall return again Oh, Dear Cottonwood!  We know you will be waiting.

Now the moon's going down along the winding hill.
Salmon River moon, I am waiting still.

Many Cheers!  jp