Just as you get to the outskirts of Arco there is a turnoff to the right.
There are no signs indicating where you're headed after you turn off, and for 10 or 15 minutes you feel as though you are in the middle of flat nothingness and nowhere.
Which, in fact, you are.
At this time of year the land is brown.
Arco is at the base of the Lost River Valley and the Lost River and Lemhi mountain rangers, but Arco is a town in-between.
At the base of both the mountains and the desert.
And so on this day in early September (while LCs' brother Gary was still visiting), and while the land around us was still groaning from one more predictably dry summer, we slowly drove one gravel road after another, until we came to this place.
Pulling to a stop in the middle of the empty and silent gravel road LC, Gary, me and Kory all climbed out of the Suburban and looked around at this seemingly abandoned place.
On one side of the road was a house that looked empty the last time we came this way (well over a year before) and still appeared to be empty.
A little further down the road on the same side, were a couple of silos (one resting crumpled on its side).
On the other side of the road was one more empty house, a huge metal storage building, and a huge expanse of corrals.
All of it at the base of Arco Pass.
This had been a working farm at one time.
Now...........simply empty. No For Sale Signs. No people or vehicles or farm equipment.
For a few minutes we all four wandered around the front of this property.
It was a curious place and we explored curiously,.....................
As LC and Gary looked inside the open doorway of the huge metal building I scanned the area in search of my dog.
She was fine. Quietly exploring the area, still relishing in the freedom of being off leash as we roamed the silence of mountain passes in our area.
She loved where she was and she loved what she was doing and I loved watching her.
Knowing that she was fine and close, I turned my attention to quickly snapping some pictures.
After taking some of the homes and metal building, I looked a short ways further down the gravel road we had been traveling and smiled when I saw the silo.
It wasn't one of those huge, tall, majestic metal structures you see across the center of the country and that are usually attached to corporate farms.
it was just a small silo, but it was lying in a heap on the side of the road and for a moment I looked at it and wondered what had happened to it.
Very likely the wind caught the empty silo and sent it flying.
Yes..........they can get that strong here................
With our short stop at the abandoned farm complete, we all loaded back into the Suburban, eager to begin climbing up into the pass................
LC and Gary stayed in the vehicle while I let my eager pup out again while I took pictures part way up the climb..............
THIS is what I wanted to take pictures of.
On a clear day you can...............you know the rest.
There is something astonishingly beautiful about this type of desert environment when you see it from elevation.
The sheer vastness and emptiness of the terrain is wonderful.
So is the uncomplicated, wide open, endless expanse of hills and valleys that lay before you.
I like it very much in a way I would not have expected only a few years ago................
Until the week that Gary came to visit us, Kory had only had the windows all the way down in the Suburban while out on BLM land in back of Atomic City.
She had had a tendency to run. We had seen her jump out of the Suburban window while at the house one day last year, to bark at one of our neighbors who came to the house.
In short...........we didn't trust her.
Also in short, we were afraid to lose her (lots of people up the valley lose their dogs while in the mountains and we didn't want Kory to be one more statistic).
But during this week LC and I had made the decision to trust her ties to us, trust her knowledge that we were the alphas in the pack, and trust in her willingness to stay in proximity to us.
Enjoying the hell out of rolled down windows, and enjoying the hell out of slowly winding our way up to the top of the pass......................
Top of Arco Pass................
The guys seemed to be happy wandering around on the top of the pass and chatting on what was a beautiful, sunny and warm early September day.
After snapping a few pictures I approached LC and told him that I was going to walk down the back side of the pass with Kory and would he pick us up in 20 minutes.
With that sorted out I called to my dog and she happily started to bound down the hill ahead of me.
She pleased me.
The sheer pleasure and freedom that she obviously felt in that moment pleased me.
And as I headed down the hill behind her I (for the ten thousandth time) thought back to the very first picture I had ever seen of Kory.
The one of her sitting on a bed in a cage in a shelter in Florida, with two days to go before they were going to put her down because nobody wanted her.
She was looking up at whoever was taking her picture.
Her ears were pulled completely back, she looked thin, and she looked so damned sad.
I'll never forget that sad face.
A face that had given up on life and that had given up on anyone every loving or caring for her.
Now here she was - 13 pounds heavier, with a family who loved her, and here she was roaming around a mountain pass in Idaho, with all the freedom she could epossibly want...................
Dogs do speak. But only to those who know how to listen...........Author Unknown