Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Little Lost River Valley - Part 3

After driving away from the snowless and beige Atomic City, we turned off the highway and explored the Little Lost River Valley for the first time.
 We had found a very beautiful and isolated valley while also finding increasing snow.
When we finally turned back, we turned back because we had unexpectedly hit a totally isolated area that held no signs of civilization, and that was neither ploughed nor maintained during the winter.
Originally LC and I had planned on a short drive, but (as with so many other times that we have begun "short drives" and ended up exploring a new area for untold hours) this had turned into a welcome and unexpected and very wonderful adventure.
LC, Kory and I had been roaming for a long time and with no cell phone coverage, no emergency supplies, no signs of civilization and an unknown road in the winter, we erred on the side of caution and turned back the way we had come.
A couple more pictures of the abandoned and isolated area we found before turning around.............
In our ever-present eagerness to see "what was around the next bend in the road", we had blown right by a number of things that I wanted to take a closer look at on our trip home.
One of those things was this beautiful homestead.
As we slowly approached this place I looked over at the home, at the barn, at the snow and the mountains and the ever changing sky.
What a beautiful home.............
My ideal place to live............
30 minutes later LC pulled off the winding, two lane highway, drove for a minute down a gravel road and then pulled into one more campground beside the river.
The river was partially frozen, but in the relatively short time we had been back on the road the snowy wasteland where we had turned around was long forgotten.
There were still remnants of snow dotting the ground, but for all intents and purposes we were back in our familiar beige world again.
There was still much snow in the mountains, and we were still surrounded by mountains on both side of us.
There were no amenities at this campground.  Strictly primitive camping beside the river.
After sitting in the truck for too long, all three of us were more than ready to wander and stretch our legs.
In all the hours we had been in the valley we had only run into one other person.  
There was nobody walking or working in the fields, and LC and I almost felt as though we had the entire valley to ourselves............
A grave site seen right beside the road.
William Johnson.  1816-1899.
After all this time somebody was still caring for this grave.
Installing a protective fence.  Hanging a wreath...............

While doing cursory research on this grave after we made it home I found this additional picture, but no other real information on who this man might be:
Only two of five or six huge stacks of hay bales, found in front of one more cattle ranch............
By the time we had driven through the tiny community of Howe and were only 20 minutes from home, I looked up and startled to see movement on the side of the road.
LC and I had seen only two antelope in all the time we had lived in Idaho (almost 8 months now)
The first time was one lone antelope who was standing on the side of the road just outside the Atomic City limits, towards the end of summer.
The second was also one lone antelope, that ran out in front of us on the highway near the city limits and as we were coming home from Salmon last September.
After seeing only two antelope in all these months, it was a huge surprise to see a line of them speeding across the highway and disappearing into the sage brush on the opposite side of the road.
They were fast.  They were beautiful in that weird and funky way that only antelope can be beautiful.  
As LC braked hard and eased the truck over to the side of the road, I scanned the beige terrain in search of them.
And there they were.
Click on any picture to enlarge...........
They had run at full speed across the highway, and did not slow down until they were surrounded by the protective covering of tall sage bushes.
They turned as one to look around them, eventually found us and stared at us for a few moments.
We watched them, smiled at the sight of them, took too-zoomed-in and too-far-away pictures of them.
They were great to see and in that moment (and as with the wild horses and the buffalo) LC and I both realized just how much we had missed the sight of them since moving from Wyoming................
After a few minutes they turned, ran through the sage brush, eventually worked their way back to the road, and we watched as they sprinted and sprung across the road before disappearing yet again.
A wonderful and totally unexpected animal sighting.
A wonderful and totally unexpected trip.................
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware..............Martin Buber

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