FINALLY we’ve got the little camper packed and the fifth wheel winterized for storage. Now it is just the long wait for Erin and Matt’s wedding tomorrow south of Grand Rapids. It’s not until 6:30. Most weddings are a drag and I don’t expect this one to be any different.
But I shouldn’t worry about that until tomorrow. Tonight we’re going out to Hightower for a Mexican type dinner. We’ll be with friends for our “last supper” so to speak. The Hunt’s, Heckman’s, Fairchild’s, Hornbrook’s, Kathy Lindsey, Tony, Kathy and Terry Herin and others were are all there and it’s a pleasant evening.
We spend the night at Joe and Lisa’s beautiful home.
I’ve always said, “The only difference between your wedding and your funeral is you get to smell the flowers at your wedding”. When the daughter of your stepson (Greg, the one who died in my arms at 39 yrs of age), your granddaughter who has a beautiful daughter, Lexi, that was 4 yrs premature (mistakes happen) is getting married to a fine young man whom she’s known from grade school you know it’s going to be a different type of wedding. During the wedding when her friend sang a beautiful song and then her cousin Ben and sister, Trisha went from the attendants up to the podium and sang a duet; I thought that was the grand finale. Was I off beam (Again)! The smiles plus the tears of the wedding duo we’re well received. The last event, just before the preacher announced the new couple, the groom called 4 yr old Lexi back up front, and gave her her own special ring. This was a complete surprise to even Erin. Three times in my life I have cried in public, my dad’s funeral, Greg’s funeral and Erin and Matt’s Wedding. We wish them the best!
As you get older it gets easier and easier to shed a tear. In fact a friend Del said as you get older your tear ducts and your kidneys "get closer to the surface".
But that is all behind us as we’re finally in route to Idaho. Rather than go all the way back to Hesperia from Byron Center we’ll continue on with our little camper. Approximately 10 PM we leave the celebration and head west toward our destination. About 2 AM we pull into a Cracker Barrel Restaurant (Joliet, Illinois) parking lot for a nap. At 6 AM they open and we’re one of their first customers of the day. West we go across Interstate 80 through Illinois into Iowa then Nebraska, where they’ve had a chance to plant corn and it’s up. It sure helps to renew your spirit just like every thing else does in spring. Finally Sunday morning at Sydney, Nebraska we’re impatiently waiting for Cabela’s to open. Well we just found out we’re an hour early. They open 10 AM on Sundays. Also they’re having some kind of special doings. Cabela’s is a letdown after being to Bass-Pro in Springfield, Missouri. We spend 1½ hours and ended up buying some mantels for the gas light in the camper.
Beautiful weather and everything is great except for the wind that’s coming out of the N.W. That puts the mileage right down to about 10 m.p.g. at 70 m.p.h. When we get to Wyoming the wind is coming out of the S.E. All go the way across Wyo. to the junction of U.S. 30 at Green River (at the 66 mile marker).
It jogs and runs north and West and we follow it until we enter the small town of Afton, Wyo. And finally find a place to stop at a Burger King. It was 10 PM. And they were closing. At 6 AM we’re off and running north through some of the most stunningly beautiful countryside that we’ve encountered. We’re not in the majestic “Tetons” but small hills in the 5,000 to 8000 foot range. Still snow on the upper reaches. Snake River in all of its glory is on the West side of the road as we’re going north. We pass several dams and hydropower plants before we angle west on Idaho 26. Finally mile marker 351 and a sign that says Ririe Recreation Area and Dam. We also find a sign that says “Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area 13 miles. The road is marked about as well as the road that goes to nowhere. At each junction Sally is worried but finally we see a house with somebody mowing grass. We stop and lo and behold it’s Walt Jackson the man who had our job last year.
Painted Porch Ranch where Walt & Sue worked
I don’t recognize him and he’s telling me I’m late and blah, blah, blah when it dawns on me who he is. I start laughing and we shake hands and his wife comes-a-running out of the house like a woman possessed. They’ve been at that ranch since April 27th and I don’t think he’s let her go to town (JOKING). He tells me I’m going the wrong way. They’ll guide us to headquarters. I had only missed it by one turn and soon we’re there and we start meeting all of the folks and etc.
This evening May 20th we’re both like whipped puppies. Maybe it’s because the temperature reached the low 80’s today. We do have the camper unpacked, got the generator running, refrigerator (gas) was on when we got here and I turned the water on. In fact I was trying to light the water heater when the ¾ inch plastic line popped loose at a fitting. It feels like mountain glacier water, I was going to take a shower anyway.
Tuesday- - May 21st
Such a welcome yesterday with all of the great weather, nothing today except drizzle, sleet, rain and snow. Typical mountain weather that we can expect a little of, all summer. Temperature is in the 40’s and the snow is quite a refreshing sight on the hills. At least that’s what I tell Sally. She’s not a happy camper to say the least. She wants summer and she wants it now.
With this sloppy concoction of snow and rain nobody is driving anyplace without four wheel drive and chains. All of the workers are up in the shop doing rainy day work and anxiously watching the skies. It’s pretty hard to see the sky because the snowflakes are in the way.
I’m just setting around doing nothing, I’m really good at that and thankful that Terry took me around the 30,000 plus acres yesterday and showed me more or less where and what I’m supposed to do. We’d never made it around today; even the moose and elk have put on their chains.
I go up to the shop and shoot the bull and invite them all for lunch. Earlier there were 3 workers and now there are 5. We all have an enjoyable lunch and find out one is leaving today for a new job in Utah. Soon we’re saying goodbye and they’re installing tire chains so they can leave. It is hard for us “flatlanders” to understand why they’re putting on chains. Four-wheel drive is no-good when the tires are full of mud. They always chain up the front tires so the chains can pull them through the mire.
It continues to be a drizzly-type of day. The wood fires feels good and we are really quite comfy in our new home.
I did forget to mention that all of a sudden the generator didn’t sound right. At least that happened during lunch when everybody was here. Nobody took a look at it though. It’s still running this evening and we’re able to watch a basketball game.
Wed- - 22nd
Another glorious morning, more snow. As long as we’re comfortable I’m okay. Sally is quite perturbed doesn’t like the wet and cold at all. Generator won’t run so the gas furnace won’t work. It’s not too bad we’ve got the wood stove and it is quite efficient.
Sally, Travis and I are the only ones here. Travis is a college student from Orange County, California working here for the summer.
Each generator is in its own iron housing which in turn is bolted to a cement base. By removing a padlock, the top of the housing is removable for major inspection otherwise; there is a door for oil and etc. I get Travis to help lift off the cover as it is very awkward to move around. After lifting it off I immediately spot the problem. Now I’m not a teacher or an expert on anything but I ask Travis what he thinks is wrong with it and he has no idea. So I automatically become a teacher.
The sparkplug is lying at the base where it has fallen I grab a 5/8 in. socket and replace it, all the time telling him how the lucky we are the threads aren’t damaged in the aluminum head, install the wire an it fires up but is very noisy. Two bolts on the exhaust manifold have come out completely so it’s very loud. I point out the problem and with his 22 yr old eyes he spots the two bolts down in the workings of the generator. He is right into to it now and slides the gasket into place and tightens the bolts. We fire it up and there’s a big smile on his face. I believe it’s the first time he has ever helped in anything, like this.
8:30 AM two pickups come into the yard with mud about 3 inches thick on them. Craig, Trent and Matt are here to work. No Travis, it seems he went to town last night and didn’t make it back. All day I’m out in the shop and helping a little and trying to learn the ropes. We install a hose reel on the spray rig. Charge up the batteries on the 6X6. Hook up the mower to the John Deere and other trivial things that need to be done. Lunchtime they all come down to the house and inhale the goulash that Sally had made. It is interesting to listen these young men and their many experiences. A lot of which is foreign to our way of living. They’re all Latter Day Saints and they tell of their missionary experiences.
Friday May 25th-
Today is my first full day of work from 7 AM to 8 PM, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I go on my first patrol and get completely bewildered as to my location. I’m not worried as I’m getting paid for this. I see my first Idaho cow moose with a newborn calf. It is very wobbly on it’s very long legs and is probably less than a day old. The roads are still very greasy from the rain and snow and I use the 4-wheel drive most of the time, even going down hill for control. The scenery is stunning with names like Indian Fork, Meadowcreek, Dave’s Cove, Ritter Bench, Porcupine Creek and hundreds of others.
Walt and Sue Jackson stop by and we fix some burgers on the grill.
After they leave Sally and I go for another patrol. We find a few campers and get completely bewildered and end up on a main road just about 40 miles from headquarters. Not bad for a flatlander.
Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend;
Out on patrol for three hours and then back eat breakfast and then mow grass. We’ve got a John Deere with a 45 horsepower diesel 4-wheel drive and pull a finish mower (rotary) behind it. The ground is very rough from all of the ground squirrels. I mowed for a couple of hours in 5th gear but have to slow down to 4th because it’s killing my back. I’m probably mowing about 15 or 16 acres and there is NO easy way to mow it. There isn’t a straight line any place for a guide. I stop about 4 PM and tell Sally I’m going out on patrol and rest up! Again talking to a few campers and exploring Ritter Bench. It’s a high plateau and runs about 8 miles.
It’s nice sitting in the old Chevy ½ ton pickup it’s a gutless wonder but it really rides nice. Up over the hills and mountains and taking every little trail I come across. Going as high as I can until the snow forces me to stop.
To say I like the land would be an understatement. This land of gently rolling mountains and deep canyons would be a horseback riders dream. On Tex Creek property motorized vehicles are allowed only on the roads. Horses and hikers can go wherever they want, just about.
Thursday, May 30, 2002 (Lost a few days)
Oh how times flies when you’re having fun. Finally finished mowing Monday and of course it needs to be mowed again. I think I’ll just do 4 or 5 hours per day. That way I would get it done by Monday. Today we went into the town of Ririe (pop. 697) to get e-mail at the library. Computer doesn’t work. I took Sally up to the upper end of Meadow Creek. The Dance Ranch is bringing in 400 head of cattle and I’ve got to start checking for trespassing critters from them now. Yesterday we saw 3 elk near there and today 1 coyote. Catch you all later Darrell and Sally .
Sunday, June 2, 2002
I heard an old song which goes something like this “When I enter His Cathedral I pause to pray and ask, am I worthy?” That is the way I feel every morning when I step out side here at Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area. I thank God that I’m able to enjoy a little of his creation. We are going to try and take some pictures but we don’t think they’ll do justice to this area.
The flat land is at a 5000 to 7000 ft elevation interspersed with great canyons from floods thousands of years ago. These canyons at the bottom are from a few ft wide to over a mile in different spots. The hillsides are littered with great pieces of rock strewn there by volcanoes. The edges of these canyons are at all angles from 90 to 10 degree angles. In places where there are little canyons (draws) inside the big canyon is where the aspen trees grow. Aspen is like a cross between our poplar and birch trees. At the elevation we’re at these “draws” contain the elk, moose and deer with their young. The large natural meadows interspersed with aspen trees in the small canyons and up on the plateaus (benches, they’re called here) is where the ranchers grow winter wheat, barley, alfalfa and closer to the Snake River “Idaho” potatoes (for irrigation). On the edges of these canyons is where the different grasses and shrubs are planted for the animals. When you top a hill you can see for miles in any given direction. Way off in the distance, 25 or 30 or even 40 miles, you can see the snowcapped mountains of the Rockies in any given direction.
Last night it rained maybe a ¼ of an inch and so it will temporarily stop the dust, which has been so prevalent here the last few days. The dust here is a thick type, which can raise havoc with just about anything mechanical. It reminds me of breathing comet cleanser or bon-ami, not pleasant at all. Today I went up to the top of Meadowcreek and Indianfork to check on cattle trespass. All of the critters were out in the woods someplace probably eating some dust free grasses. There are a lot of the Mountain Bluebirds in this area and their bright blue clash with the Canaries, Robins, Meadowlarks, magpies, hawks, bald eagle, golden eagle, and hundreds of others that we’ve seen. The mountain Bluebirds are out in large numbers today and are quite a dazzling sight to behold. As I was coming back, in 4-wheel drive, I was wondering why I’d only seen the bluebirds today when, out on our lawn, about 100 yards from the house, was a Canadian goose. One lone goose, it makes you wonder what happened to its mate? They mate for life and to see one all by itself leads you to wonder.
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
Been busy mowing grass and helping Craig with his farm equipment. He has been seeding hundreds of acres of land to the wild bunch grasses that are native to this area. Interspersed are a few fields of alfalfa for the deer. Today I was following Craig with the pickup while he was transporting the “rodweeder” from one area to another. He pulls most of the equipment with an articulated 4x4 tractor with duals all the way around. As he rounded a curve the left wing fell. Of course it fell where the road was the narrowest and where about 8 ft of it was out in space that dropped down about 100 ft. The bank was to steep to work on and my experience with hauling machinery, the tow-trucks and recovery work really came in handy. Only took 2 hours to fix temporarily so we could get it off of the road and another 2 hours to fix it. Another nice thing is we didn’t have to worry about blocking traffic, as we were the traffic.
The weather is beautiful with the temperature in the 70’s with a 15-mph breeze and dusty. One thing I found out about Idaho, where we’re at, is if it’s not muddy it’s dusty.
The rain last weekend sure helped the grass to grow. Down by the horse corral it grew about 8 in. not bad for 5 days, eh?
Took Sally last evening on one of my patrols. I enjoyed it immensely but she didn’t like it, to well. We did see 2 elk and a lot of backcountry. We had the truck right down in granny gear and 4-wheel drive. Only went 22 miles but it took us almost 3 hours. It was very scenic and rough. We went from WMA land to BLM and Nat Forest and back to WMA land again. All in all it was very enjoyable. Got home about dark.
Today Terry, the head biologist, asked Sally to fix a lunch for 6 guys. She fixed about 4 gallons of goulash, salad, and garlic bread topped off with a Texas Sheet Cake. Very little was left over and it was good. It was so good I suggested that we do this every Wednesday, didn’t pass.
Friday, June 7, 2002
Today is another hot, windy, dusty day. They say we’re in the midst of a drought and I believe them. It’s now to dry to plant anymore. The seed in the ground will germinate next spring if they have enough of the winter snows. Sure hope so as they have over 200 acres planted waiting for rain. It is forecast for Sunday.
Day before yesterday there was a kidnapping in Idaho Falls. Man snatched a 14 yr old girl off of her trampoline. Somehow later in the day she escaped and led the sheriff’s Dept. to the culprit’s house. After a high-speed chase and one deputy shot (leg), one K-9 killed protecting his handler, the man committed suicide. There wasn’t a newspaper to be had in over 50 miles of the surrounding countryside.
Did a patrol today and saw 1 golden eagle, 2 coyotes, 1 sheriff deputy and 2 guys in an old beater type car. No trespassing cattle were spotted. Also I went on a Canadian Thistle spraying detail within the Tex Creek compound. They have quad-runners set up with 25-gallon sprayers on the back and a handwand for spraying. Out here Burdock, Canadian Thistle and hounds tongue is a grunge on the environment. None is welcome either by wildlife or man. In this dry soil they out-compete the grasses for moisture.
Sally just said rain is forecast for Sunday.
Sunday, June 9, 2002
The weather forecaster was wrong no rain, SNOW, white glorious SNOW! It is gorgeous 1 ½ in as it clashes with the bright green of the fields. Of course it mixes with the clay and will make driving perilous so we won’t drive for a while. We built a fire in the wood stove and it’s quite secure in here. The generator is working and the satellite dish is going strong. So we’ve been to TV church and are now getting ready for the Nascar Winston Cup Race.
About 6 PM I went on patrol. I went up to upper Meadowcreek and Indianfork. Nobody’s been around here all day. The only tracks I saw were moose, elk and coyote. Not even a bear track. Slipping & sliding up and down the hills but I didn’t see but only one lonely ground squirrel.
Monday, June 10, 2002
Weather today is a cold blustery 40-degree type of day.
Today is one of my days off. I went up to the shop at about 8:30 AM with the intention of inviting the guys for chili for lunch. And didn’t get back until a little after 12 noon. I helped Trent transport some farm equipment from one end of Ritter Bench to the other. He and I were the only ones around so we went down to “pig out” on the chili. As luck would have it the other 3 showed up about 10 minutes later, such is life.
After lunch I trimmed a little grass (gets to be old) and showed how to do the replacement of an axle shaft for the 24 ft. disc. It took about 3 hours but at last it’s outside out of the way now. It is amazing how God in His infinite wisdom can prepare us for the future. The years with the tow-trucks and auto repair have sure come in handy up here working with these college kids. Some have no practical experience at all on anything but partying.
6:30 PM time for a patrol and I asked Steve if he wanted to go. I got a very affirmative answer. We headed for Kepps Crossing from where we explored roads looking for Cloward’s Crossing. All of these places are marked on the maps but most of the roads have NO markings. With superb navigation (asked a farmer out in a field) we found Cloward’s. Terry (boss) wanted me to check out the 2 tracks around there so we did. The last one I started up in first gear and soon stopped and put it in “granny” and 4-wheel drive. All I can say the last 100 feet were very steep. I told myself that I wasn’t going back that way. If we had to go back that way either Steve could drive it down or we could call the boss and he’d drive it down. I’d watch. Again the Lord was with us as I stayed on a barely visible trail. It was a wonderful trail. It took us right back out on the main road near Kepps Crossing. From there we headed east by north east (I think) to check on some cattle up near Skyline and Bull’s Fork Roads. Lots of cattle and about 40 we’re out. I made a note of it and will contact Terry tomorrow morning. It was getting dark and I told Steve we’re going to see some country now. I headed north through the Croft, Stucki and Ferguson’s ranches. Steve said he didn’t realize there were so many gates as he had to get out to open and close them. We went down NFS Road #157 then through the ½ mile long “big muddy”. I told Steve we should be okay as long as we’re going down hill. Well by keeping it in 4-wheel drive and a little prayer we did fine. I managed to keep the mud off the windshield but the door windows we were unable to see through. We continued on down past all of the beaver ponds all long ago abandoned (lack of water) and now temporarily brimming with water, down towards the big pond where there should be moose. There wasn’t any though so we continued on and lo and behold in a field of alfalfa were two elk. Looked like a yearling and a very pregnant cow elk. So it wasn’t a total loss, especially for Steve who is doing an internship for experience for his college degree that he is working for in Wildlife Management. Someday he hopes to work for the State of Idaho. As we drive along he tells me of his last 3 summers of how he worked with the forest fighting crews and has helped fight fires in several different states. He has nothing but admiration for the “smoke jumpers” as he told me story after story of how they came and saved the day for him and the others.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Another crisp cool morning and Sally was determined to have a wood fire so she lit one. At noon when I came back she had her face hanging out a door and had every window open. Seems like it got quite warm in the kitchen while she was baking. All I could do is laugh at her. I told her it was warming up outside. Last night she was cold and she stuck a log in the stove and I was in a sweat all night. Tonight 9 PM she wants to light a fire and we had a vociferous talk about the temperature. These buildings that we’re in are very well built.
They have 2x6 wall studs on the exterior walls with Styrofoam insulation and thermo pane style windows. Which make it very tight and quite easy to heat with the little wood stove or the built in propane furnace. So I’ve won this one, I think. I told her get an extra blanket if she was cold.
The cows that were loose last night are still loose tonight; it looks like they’ve called in reinforcements and now they’re spread out over a ½ mile. Terry told me to get the brands off of the cattle. Some of the cows have 3 or 4 different brands. Some of the calves aren’t branded and the one that are I can’t find in the Idaho State Brand Brand Book. Tomorrow expert Terry will have to show me who the cattle belong to.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Temp at 1 PM is high 80’s and a10 to 15-mph breeze. WARM!
Where has the week gone? The boys have been keeping me busy repairing anything and everything. They even brought me a new “Handi-Jack”. It’s almost like a house jack. The one I had in the truck didn’t work when we went to use it on the “rodweeder”.
The whole crew is in today and they’re all doing repairs except for Matt and he is spraying the yard for weeds, it is a never-ending job.
Saw my first Bull Snake today about 4 ft long, out in the road. He was still very sluggish just as if he’d come out of hibernation. I was on my way out to check on some smoke on the horizon when I saw it. I let the snake go, as they tell me they kill rattlers. The smoke turned out to be a farmer burning some grass about 10 miles to the south of us and I was happy for that.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Where does all the time go? Each day is filled with the workings of the WMA. I never knew that it took so much time to raise this grass. They are spraying 2-4-D in some places and roundup in others. The little quad-runners make several trips each day with their 25 gallons of spray each time. The tractor comes in a couple of times to refill its 250-gallon tank.
The next project will be placing the bugs for the biological warfare with these weeds. I never hear any griping from the kids as they go about their work, maybe that is because they’re at least 1 mile away.
Thursday, June 20, 2002
I just found out my grandson Lance Corporal Phillip Higgins is flying into Grand Rapids tomorrow. We wish we could be there. Our hearts and prayers were with him when he was in Afghanistan and surrounding areas and I’m sure he knows our prayers are still with him.
Darrell & Sally
Sunday, June 23, 2002
As I sit here fighting off wave after wave of nausea, brought on by the Minere’s Syndrome, I start feeling sorry for myself and then the good Lord reminds me that there are many more people worse off than I am. The worse thing in my case, to me, is the lost of hearing which I guess is permanent now. The dizziness I have just about conquered but at times I must just go lay down until it passes. The cacophony of sounds in my ears all but drowns out normal conversation. It can wake me up out of a very sound sleep and at times I swear I’m hearing music and it is just the pressure on the inner ear that makes some of the strangest sounds. I still remember the Dr. saying “ you’re one of the lucky 30%, you’ve now got Minere’s in both ears. I thought it was bad before just in one ear now it’s twice as much fun. I keep reading about miracles and through life I’ve received some, now I’d like one to restore my hearing. Just being able to join in on the singing or listen to music in the background and hearing conversation at the same time again would be a miracle. I have the rest of my senses like touch, sight, smell and most of my memory, usually.
As we were getting the latest issue of our adventure ready last night we ran out of mailing-envelopes and ink. We believe we got a bad ink cartridge as it did less than 20 pages and was kaput. Still it means 30 miles to Rexburg (1 way) just to get the items needed. Of course I found a ready volunteer in Sally. She was ready to go in the middle of the night I think.
The little bit of rain we had yesterday did help to keep the dust down and it cooled down into the 70’s. Today is going to be HOT, I imagine around 90 or so.
I’ve just installed two solar powered security night-lights. What’s really nice is you can put them anywhere.
Also today I went up to patrol cove creek, mainly to check for trespassing cattle. There must be 2 or 3 miles of fence and the owner doesn’t keep it in good repair, he believes in open range. It is really a very scenic 4X4 drive up and over hill & dale or whatever you call it. On the way I spotted a large patch of burdock and got my trusty shovel out to dig them up. After about 10 minutes I thought there must be a better way. There were in the back of the truck 5 Indian back sprayers and by dumping what was left from each into one I had about 2 ½ gallons of round up and whatever else was in them. I sprayed until my heart was content (dam sprayer finally went dry) and in a few days the burdock should be a thing of the past. At the farthest juncture of the land I could see some cattle milling about. Being nosey I went over just in time to see 2 heifers break down the fence. I stepped on the gas and blew the horn and they whirled about and jumped back over onto their side of the fence. So after spending an hour spraying burdock I got about 1 ½ hours fixing fence. Tomorrow I’ll have to go back up there with a quad-runner and fix more fences. If I’m lucky they’ll give me some help otherwise you know how it goes.
Monday, June 24, 2002
What a beautiful day NO dizziness!!!!! NO nausea!!!!! So I took the quad-runner, Suzuki 350 with on the fly 4-wheel drive, and proceeded to go up Cove Creek. Only 9.6 rough two-track miles to the fence that needs fixing. Cattle were at the gate milling around trying to get up courage to barge through. About 25 head were there and I sent them stampeding the other way with my Smith and Wesson, it was just like the movies, “they were moving on.” I reinforced my previous days repairs and nailed up some “PLEASE CLOSE GATE” signs. Then proceeded south restringing and stapling up barbwire as I went. All went well until I was going up the hill (mtn.) and came across a deadfall, Aspen. Right across the fence and path and no way around it that I could see. I walked beyond the deadfall probably 30 posts or so and returned to my trusty “steed”. I started it up and put it in super-low range 4-wheel drive and reverse when a nightmare became reality. When you shift these suckers you lift up on the shifting lever, which automatically activates the clutch until you let the lever down about a ¼ inch. I didn’t let it down. I was freewheeling in reverse at an amazing 100-mph (it seemed) until I hit a tree and stopped. I got off and checked my underwear it was ok. Took my bottle of water and took a swig and told the Lord thanks, I needed that wake-up call. By pushing and pulling and thinking back to snowmobile days I said, “This is fun?” Thankfully the only thing hurt were my feelings and I managed to turn it around and moved forward at a much slower controlled pace, 2 or 3-mph. Circled around the hill ( mtn.), and approached it from the other direction. I followed the fence for another mile or so and finally said that’s enough. Unbeknown to me on the cliffs I was passing by were two Sandhill Cranes. As I was passing underneath they took flight over the top of me. They have the most terrible call anyway and when I heard them and felt their shadows over the top of me and then saw there 5 ft wingspans above me I thought I was in “Jurassic Park” and was going to meet my maker. I’m glad they’re not meat eating creatures. I now know my heart is in good condition because it was stressed out twice within an hour. Now I can laugh?
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Another scorcher the boys are starting at 6-AM now. They’re pulling weeds in the “plantations”. Large pieces of black plastic probably 60 X 100 ft. Last fall they took an auger, made holes and put in various bushes. This plastic is the same as you use around swimming pools, it lets the water through but the weeds can’t come through and it’s very effective. I haven’t been out to any of the plantations but the boys say it is hot.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Another scorcher today, Idaho Falls forecast is for 99 degrees. While we’re usually a few degrees cooler, it’ll still be in the 90’s.
Left about 8 AM with the John Deere and the mower to mow the campsites. They’re not used very much, don’t know why, and the grasses are very high. Terry told me they usually mow them in July and I was rushing it. I said lets have them spruced up for the Fourth of July. So I mowed them. I didn’t have any way to carry my bottle of water and when I returned 4 ½ hours later I was “purty dry” as the cowboys used to say. One nice thing about it out here is you don’t sweat, YOU MELT. (Just kidding). Around 3 PM I decided I’d go up to Cove Creek and check on the cattle trespass nothing to report. I think those cattle are still running. On the way back I spotted a bull moose probably in the 900# class, a very nice size bull I might add. Horns are still in the velvet and likely still growing. About 5 PM, it got real cloudy and cooled off about 10 degrees. I decided to mow the weeds in our “yard”; about the only thing growing is the dandelions and alfalfa. Well after the mowing I was in a dire need of a shower, but the lawn does look better.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Today Trent and I went back to Cove Creek to fix the fence where it goes down in a gully. Somebody tightened the fence above and it has now pulled the other posts right out of the ground. I found some 8 and 10 ft metal fence posts wire clips, staples, barb wire, 3 lb sledge and wire pliers and off we went like a heard of turtles. Trent has a newer Chevy p/u and likes to baby it. Finally he got it stuck and I told him I’d drive. Drove it out and told him he needed driving lessons. We got within 200 yards of the repair site and carried the stuff up, over and around juniper trees, sagebrush and bitterbrush. Only took about an hour and then we started looking for the other place where I needed help and we couldn’t find it. I’ll have to go back with a 4-wheeler and a GPS and mark the position and then send the kids out to fix it. They’ll like that, ha, ha. Sally went to Rexburg today to get some needed items, mainly heavy socks for myself. My feet are really quite sore from the calluses I trim them every other night with a razor blade and they’re getting better. Temp to day was only 96 degrees.
Friday June 28, 2002
I finally talked Sally into going with me up to Cove Creek. She went with me once didn’t like it at all. She had a ball this time, as I was able to show her all of the new wildflowers that are in bloom. Beautiful pale lavender like a daisy with a yellow center and tall purple flowers almost like lupens. Many different kinds and shades of yellow flowers, a white flower almost like a poppy, wild roses of different hues and many more too numerous to describe. Also she could drive the truck through the gates while I opened and closed them.
Monday, July 1, 2002
One thing I’ve neglected to tell you all about is the sky. The sky is a bright clear blue not unlike the ocean sky. Off to the north and east is the Snake River probably 15 miles by air. Not a cloud in the sky until it passes over the Snake. Once there great clouds 1000’s of feet in the air form from the moisture. The awe-inspiring clouds are the whitest of whites against the bright blue of the heavens. At night it is an astrologers retreat and makes one wonder what kind of a God could have the powers to make all of these beautiful things and then have such a sense of humor to make you and me?
Where does the time go? All weekend I was busy putting up new Tex Creek WMA signs and trying to do the trimming at the campsites. On Friday I thought that as long as I had to go on patrol I’d take the sign materials, “weed whacker” and trim around the fire rings and hitching posts at the campsites and put up new signs. Sally went with me and we went clear up on Meadow Creek replaced a sign then came down to trim a campsite. It was nice Sally could pickup any trash and I could trim and etc. Well we went to the next 2 Campsites they’re side by side and the “weed whacker “ would not run. We might have won WWW II but the Japs are getting even with us now. I have to admit I was thinking very un-Christian like things as I tried to get that thing running so that I could trim the sites. There is a reason for everything you know and someday I’m going to find out WHY THAT THING DIDN’T RUN!!!!!
Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Last night while reading a Reader’s Digest “America the Beautiful” I came across these two paragraphs that I believe can say more than I can about this state.
“Perhaps more than any other state Idaho has retained much of its wild character, with a minimum of destructive intrusion by man. The beauty and purity of its forests, lakes, mountains, rivers and canyons have become far more valuable a resource today than mere minerals and logs. Perhaps it should be called “the last wilderness,” for its wild lands and rivers and lakes are unmatched by any other state except Alaska.
Idaho is the eternal American dream of new and untamed frontiers, the challenge against which our people was formed. But now there is a fundamental difference: When its last forest is cut, its last river dammed, its last mineral dug up, our nation will be poorer, not richer. It is possible that Idaho might best serve itself and the rest of the country by remaining relatively undeveloped and unchanged. This could prove to be the greatest glory of the state whose name in Indian means BEHOLD THE SUN IN THE MOUNTAINS.”
Darrell and Sally