Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Lost River Valley - Part 1

When I woke up yesterday morning and looked outside I knew instantly that I wanted to go........somewhere.
The sun was shining.  
It was already 32 degrees.  
And this woman (who has walked and walked and walked in tiny over-named Atomic City all winter as we hunkered down against sadness and against the cold, and as we tried to financially regroup from the money-slam we had faced head-on for months on end after we moved to here), wanted to see something different.
To begin to see some of the promise that Idaho held and that we had yet to see.
LC and I had talked a few times of driving some of the Little Lost River Valley.
By the time we finally left the house it was mid-morning and the endless sunshine when I had woken up had given way to variable skies and increasing winds.
No Karin........winter is not done yet, no matter how much the moderating temperatures promise that spring is just around the corner.
As we drove away from our tiny town and began the drive on flat and fast and empty highway, neither LC nor I had a specific agenda.
We would check out some of the Little Lost River Valley and when we were ready to turn back, we would simply turn back. 
With no specific distance or goal in mind other than to "see" for the first time, we were both eager to find something new.
Half way between Atomic City and Arco we turned right and headed towards the tiny community of Howe.
We had been as far as Howe before.  There is a church and a school and a few homes.
When I looked up Howe on Wikipedia, the site happily informed me in the total of two lines of description, that Howe has a post office and a zip code.
Which tells you just about all there is to know about Howe.
There really is nothing to see in Howe and we drove through it in the span of 30 seconds, and continued driving the Little Lost River Highway.
Almost from the get-go the mountains became more prominent, more rugged, more snow covered.
As we drove the first straight, and then increasingly winding road, it was very obvious that we were in a huge valley surrounded on both sides by endless mountains.
Also very quickly it became obvious that this was straight up farm country.
Cattle.  Horses.  Grain and potato crops in an endless stream of huge farms.
Many of these farms have been in the family for generations.  
And as we continued to drive further and further away from civilization and further into an area that held huge farms every 5 miles, I realized that LC and I do not live in an isolated area at all.  
THESE people live in an isolated area.
The nearest gas station, grocery store, bank was anywhere from 40-60 miles away............
When we saw the narrow and spindly river I asked LC to pull the Tahoe over so that I could take pictures.
While LC and Kory stayed in the truck I climbed out, pulled the zipper of my fleece sweater up a little higher, walked to the edge of the embankment and looked down at the river.
The mountains in all directions were beautiful.  The world was beige - monochromatic high desert plains, surrounded by pine tree and snow filled mountains.  The blue sky was rapidly changing.  It was cold but not freezing cold.  
After keeping my guy and my dog waiting while I stood looking out over the world, I snapped a few quick pictures, wondered absently if the river would turn into a wider and faster flowing river in the spring once the snow in the mountains melted, and then turned back.
It was time to move on..............

Aside from a few patches in predominantly shady areas, Atomic City now has no snow left at all.
There was a little snow in Howe, but as we continued driving east it became obvious that we were seeing more and more snow with each passing mile.
I have been living in such a self-imposed and isolated bubble for so long now that it never occurred to me that there would be so much snow in this area.
Up in the mountains - certainly.  
During this drive we had climbed a little but not much.  
And so it was with great surprise that I was reminded that winter is not over after all.
On seeing a sign for the Little Lost River, LC pulled the truck off the winding two lane highway, and turned onto a snowy and icy road.
We were in a beautiful place, and I was very glad that we had decided to go explore.
Reaching for Kory's leash I encouraged her out of the truck.  We had been driving for about 90 minutes and I knew that puppy would be eager to stretch her legs...........
LC walked in one direction and dug out his camera.
I walked with Kory in another direction and did the same thing.
Silent, beautiful place...........
Snow and ice covered every surface so it was hard to really know what this place looks like.
But THIS was a place to camp.  A place to fish.  A place to use as a jumping off point for trips into the mountains come spring.  
No nice, little, maintained and groomed campground with friendly restrooms and showers and convenience stores and power plugs.
This would be primitive camping.  Sleeping in the back of the Tahoe until we could afford a camper camping.  Packing in and packing out, digging your own hole a hundred feet from the river camping.
Yes.......a good place.............
After handing Kory off to LC I walked over to read the signs.
I looked out for a moment, admiring the mountains and then smiled as I studied this little ladder - a way to climb up and over the wire fence............
Snow covered river...........
We spent a long time in this one place, walking in the snow, taking pictures of the mountains and the snow-covered river, watching clouds slowly but irrevocably build in the sky around the mountain tops.
I loved this place.
Time to move on and see what else we would find in this isolated, completely quiet valley.............

Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.................Theordore Roethke

No comments:

Post a Comment