Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Big Lost River Valley, Idaho - Part 3

The Big Lost River Valley is located in central Idaho and includes such towns as Salmon, Challis, Mackay and Arco.
Arco is a very small town of 995 people, located at the south end of the Lost River Valley and at the base of the mountain chains that surround this beautiful area.
It bills itself as the first town in the world to be totally lit by nuclear power.
That was then and this is now, and now Arco is a small community with a declining population.
There are no chain stores and no chain restaurants, and the main street lining the pseudo-downtown area is filled with used-to-be stores that now have "for sale" signs in the windows.
It is a quiet little town, and we found it unexpectedly while searching around for a potential home to buy.
Arco is hurting, but then so are many towns big and small across the country.
That includes even Cody Wyoming where many stores are closing and where so many others would like to close but can't, because they own the building in which they are located and can't sell it.
And so they cannot afford to close down.
Arco would be our home base for a couple of days as we traveled up through the valley exploring, getting the lay of the land, talking to locals and viewing a few homes.
We arrived in Arco mid-afternoon after what seemed like a very long drive from Cody, got settled into the motel, and then drove some more, eager to check the place out................
We had seen Number Hill while researching online, and I snapped these pictures not long after we set out to check out this little town.
Over the next couple of days, LC and I came to realize that Number Hill had the very same effect as Heart Mountain did in Cody.
It is a permanent part of the landscape no matter where you travel in the area.
It seems to follow you everywhere you go...............
Click on the picture and it will enlarge so that you can read the history of Number Hill.
The high school graduating class has been adding their year to the hill since the first senior class did this in the year 1920.
Which is no small task, because (as someone in town pointed out), many years located on the face of the cliff require climbing gear and some ropes skills.
I like this hill very much.
There is something both historical and at the same time whimsical, about students doing this, and for those who visit the area it is a must-see.................
I knew that it was here, but it was surprising to actually see it in person anyway.
A submarine tower located in the middle of high desert....................
The pictures of both the sub and the signs tell the history of this unexpected sight.
One story that is not included on the plaques though is a funny one.
Arco is 91% Mormon, and this town is a religious and extremely conservative town, so the number on the sub (which was the actual number of the submarine when it was in commission) caused some concern.
Apparently there were a number episodes of vandalism right after the sub was layed in its current location (in a small, town park).  
People painting over the numbers.
I have this image in my mind of high school kids surreptitiously painting the 666 into an 888............... 
After wandering briefly around town we drove back to the motel to drop Jamie off in the room.
It had been a long day, LC and I were both tired, and both hungry.
While Jamie and I wandered in the parking lot one last time before heading inside, I stood looking out over the mountains and the setting sun.
This place was quiet.  It was so very quiet.............
These pictures were taken from the parking lot of the motel.
Behind the motel I stood watching horses grazing in a pasture close to a home............
One by one the horses began to move from the pasture to my left and passed by me and my pup, who by that time was completely engrossed in sniffing out a mud hole.
One by one the horses leisurely walked by me, walked to the end of the fence and then walked into a second field so that they could continue with their evening grazing.
The sky was changing by the minute.............
My Mountain Boy and I headed to a trading post that we had found online called the Mountain Man, in search of food.
The trading post was open but the restaurant was not.
Curious about the building, LC wandered inside for a few minutes, while I snapped a few quick pictures of the area around me.
We had decided to eat breakfast at this place the next morning, and I wanted to take one more picture of Number Hill from a distance..............
The weather-worn 12 foot Mountain Man standing guard beside the road..............
Number Hill.............
One last picture before loading back into the truck and heading back the way we had come.
Wind River Canyon in Wyoming, mountain passes in Wyoming and Idaho, Arco.
It had been a long day.
A good day, but a long day............

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