Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Sweat Boxes

Yesterday morning I looked out the front window and instantly saw that the world outside was incredibly clear and beautiful.  
And then I looked at the temperature gauge, and it read 2 degrees.
Really?  Two degrees?  On November 22nd?
Sighing at the sight of that very little number, I walked into the kitchen and hit the ON button on the coffee maker before getting bundled up to take my pup outside to do whatever it was that pup needed to do.
It was going to be a very long winter................

An hour later it was 15 degrees and Kory, the newest member of our family, was doing her now-regular dancing and prancing around the house.
She had given me enough time to drink coffee apparently.
Let's go for a walk Momma.
As I bundled up in layer after layer of clothing I smiled at this sweet girl who I like very much, watching her barely able to contain her excitement as she impatiently paced and danced and pranced and barked, waiting for her human to get her act together.
Within minutes of stepping outside the front door I was kicking myself for not grabbing a thicker pair of gloves............

Crossing the road from the house we walked a short ways and then turned left, picking up a flat, double track trail that is black from the abundant lava rock in the area.
As soon as we turned left onto the trail I looked to my left, and next to one more empty and run down house I saw the giant boom box.
In the middle of nowhere, and hidden in back of an abandoned home, this thing just screams questions at me.
I don't know who and I don't know why.
But questions aside, I find this thing highly amusing.
A giant boom box that has been converted from an old box truck, and that now sits without wheels but on blocks. 
It is SO wasted where it sits.
It is not visible from the road.
All the tourists who blow through this town every summer (and there are a surprising number of them who have either seen the town on line or who see the sign by the road - ATOMIC CITY - NO SERVICES, and drive through out of simple curiosity) never even see this thing.
Kory and I inspected it together before moving on.
My hands were freezing....................
A look back towards town as Kory and I continued our walk............
I was very cold and as we walked the trail I made the decision that this would not be a long walk.
If we stayed on this trail we would eventually hit the highway leading to Arco in one direction and Blackfoot in the other.
Not wanting to walk that far I decided to cut across country and take pictures of the sweat boxes...........
Between the trail and the sweat boxes is a large piece of property that belongs to a resident in town.
Over the past couple of months he has encouraged LC to take much of the scrap lumber and metal that is stashed in random piles on this land.
Happy to get some of it cleared off his land.
LC has been happy to oblige with that request, and has used some of that lumber for projects that include a snowboard bench and ski picnic table.
In back of the house we also have posts for a fencing project in the spring, and bricks for a future outdoor patio.............
A week or so after we first moved to Atomic City, LC and I found these buildings.
I didn't have my camera with me at the time (and kicked myself for it, because we wandered this place very late in the day and the sunset that filled the sky that evening was one of the most beautiful that I had ever seen).
Curious about these two small structures we parked the truck, climbed out, inspected them and then wondered just what exactly it was that we had found.
I don't know if our neighbor was pulling our leg at the time, but she told us that these tiny buildings were used in the past to hold town prisoners until the local Sheriffs Dept could pick them up.
A few weeks later we went out to look at them again.
Armed with supposed intel from our neighbor, we couldn't believe that these were actually used to hold people.
I could picture people (maybe) being housed here in the 20's or 30's but NOT in the 50's when this town really came into its own.
But there were remnants of old metal spring beds laying haphazardly on the ground outside each one of them.
Maybe...........LC and I couldn't believe that the story was true.
As we wandered around the small buildings I had images in my head of the deadly sweat boxes that were so common in old prison movies..........

A few months later we mentioned the buildings to another member of the community, and we heard the story that these buildings had been used to store dynamite...........
A look back towards town, with Big Butte and the lower and more spread out Cedar Butte in the background..............
A couple of hundred feet behind the taller concrete structure is one more, smaller, and even less well ventilated building.
Kory didn't like either of the buildings.  She walked briefly into the larger of the two and then quickly walked back outside............
The temperature was slowly starting to climb, and although I was still cold, I was no longer freezing cold.
The day was gorgeous.
Calm.  Sunny.  Cold.
But after walking a couple of miles and inspecting and taking pictures of the two "sweat boxes", we picked up another trail that I knew would take us around to and in back of the raceway.
It was time to go home.
Momma needed more coffee and we would walk again later in the day when I knew that we would find deer and a beautiful sunset.............
Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless...........Terri Guillemets

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