Monday, October 26, 2020

How a Tale Unwinds

River and Ranch started out so simple. Merely a tale of two Special Ops guys back from overseas missions that stumble into more of the same in a domestic setting.

And then.....

I continued enjoying serendipity. This led me to Nancy Hatch duPree. It led me to Buddhism. It led me to a Deseret newspaper article about a hidden meadow untouched by modern uses. And so much more.

All of which led to a larger story for the R and R world, backstories fleshed out and enlarged for other characters, and the gradual replacement of simple kinetic violence one would expect from Spec Ops guys with a more cerebral, religious, and historically aware pair of (still lethal) Spec Ops guys that see more than just dustups with the bad guys as they search for life's hidden meaning and acknowledge that there is likely far more they do not know, have never heard of, and will never understand.

gotta love long run-on sentences jacked up with dependent clauses, right?

For some reason, I wanted River and Ranch to end on a cliff hanger. Instead, what I now have is a series of books going backward and forward in time from the R and R setting, showing a much larger world with connections from the past explaining events and people in the present. Watching this spring forth from my keyboard is SO MUCH better than watching TV!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Idaho Roadblock? Guard Cow? Future hamburger?

future hamburger blocking the road to Lemhi PassNew Grass Growing picks up where River and Ranch leaves off. It continues the story of Cale and Dana and their daughters. Lane is right there along with Myra, who is hard to describe but well worth the effort. Family, friends, and maybe even some New West intrigue of all sorts.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a word that almost did not come to me. I was aimlessly meandering through the aisles of my brain trying to freely associate with anything meaningful that started with a "Z". I was having no luck. Then a tune from Jimmy Buffett somehow made its presence known in my head. "Zanzibar" is in the lyrics of the song and there you have it, the provenance of my final word in this 26 day challenge.


Before I go any further, the image is taken from the stylehiclub.com website. This is a fascinating site. It looks like a young couple and their kid are documenting their travels on this site. It's really quite well done. Check it out for yourself, it's worth a few minutes.
It looks to me like this little island archipelago may have been one of those places where ancient middle east (aka Persia) met up with ancient Africa (aka Swahili coastal towns). In more modern times, Zanzibar was a possession of Portugal for almost two hundred years. As usual, Wikipedia does a bangup job collecting facts and describing the myriad aspects of Zanzibar, both past and present. It's exotic, in my mind fitting in somewhere in the fringes with Jimmy Buffett's song playing in the background. I'm sure reality is different.

This ends a 26 day A-Z challenge. One of the more interesting word challenges I've ever done.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yellow Pine Bar

I remember Yellow Pine Bar as my favorite camp on the whole Main Salmon, although some of the other big white sand beach sites come very close. What I remember as upper Yellow Pine Bar does not show up in the guide book I have. But we sure aimed for that site alot. There was a hike up to a high point where you could look down on Big Mallard which was the every first thing you ran the next morning. It was always in the deep shade from the adjacent mountain shadow. The water was dark and almost steaming sometimes.

That camp was (and likely still is) fabulous, assuming it's still there after 25+/- years of floods and runoff and who know what else.

It turns out that the history of the Bar up above the campsite is extensive as well. A school, gardens, homesteads, and an airstrip all exist on the Bar up above the river. As usual, Conley and Carrey do a bang up job describing it in their book, River of No return. I cannot improve upon it and therefore will not repeat it. The work they did with river history in their books stands alone.

So next time you come around the corner after running Split Rock, pull in at upper Yellow Pine Bar, if it's still there. Enjoy the camp. It's wonderful, at least in my memory. Hike up to the overlook for a look at Big Mallard and enjoy the view.

When you see them in the dark of the night dancing under the full moon, honor those ghosts of the people that came before you. While it was and is beautiful, I'm sure it was hard living on Yellow Pine Bar.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenolith

Xenolith is a big fancy word for something fairly simple. Basically a xenolith is a piece of wall rock that falls into the soup of molten rock moving past it. Think of lava moving up through its mountain. The xenolith has a high melting temperature, so it remains a solid and a separate mass (think ice in a glass of water) in the surrounding molten rock. As everything cools that foreign rock piece is "frozen" in place where it fell in the newly solid, formerly molten rock mass.

This is not specific to rare earth geology. It does however, satisfy the requirements for being an "X" word on this the 24th day of the A to Z blog challenge.

The Idaho batholith is in the midst of the terrain where both River and Ranch and New Grass Growing take place. The Idaho batholith is a large granitic intrusion in central Idaho, where just the right scenario exists for the creation of xenoliths.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for wilderness

Wilderness. A big space full of wild lands. If it is large enough, some would say an "intact ecosystem". The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is just that place. I'm not sure where the boundaries are and there is also the matter of adjacent wild areas like the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area. It's big. Not a whole lot of level, lots of land on a slant. There's probably still a few valleys that have never seen a human. In the lower 48 there's no other place like it. It's the largest roadless area in the lower 48 states and we have an Idaho Senator named Frank Church to thank for it.

Wikipedia (see link above for complete entry) says, "..In 1964, Church was the floor sponsor of the national Wilderness Act. In 1968, he sponsored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and gained passage of a ten-year moratorium on federal plans to transfer water from the Pacific Northwest to California. Working with other members of Congress from northwestern states, Church helped establish the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area along the Oregon-Idaho border, which protected the gorge from dam building. He was also the primary proponent in the establishment of the Sawtooth Wilderness and National Recreation Area in central Idaho in 1972.
Church also was instrumental in the creation of Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness in 1980, his final year in the Senate. This wilderness comprised the old Idaho Primitive Area, the Salmon River Breaks Primitive Area, plus additional lands. At 2.36 million acres (9,550 km²), over 3,600 square miles (9,300 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the nation outside of Alaska. It was renamed the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in 1984, shortly after the diagnosis of his pancreatic cancer. Idaho Senator Jim McClure introduced the measure in the Senate in late February,[21] and President Reagan signed the act on March 14,[22] less than four weeks before Frank Church's death on April 7.

From small roots as an Idaho kid, he grew to do great things. The wilderness, named after him, is a testament to doing the right thing at the right time. As a guide in Idaho during the summers of 1989 and 1990, I benefited from his efforts. Those of you that like roadless wild places are still benefiting. Thank you for wilderness Frank Church.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vinegar

Mile 299.9. One of the biggest drops on the river. Vinegar. The name is applied to the drop at this point on the Main Salmon, as well as the creek that enters the river close by. I was always so focused on the drop, I never even looked for the creek, but it's there. Somewhere.

This is near the end of the line for a Main Salmon river trip, but if you like size, then the river has saved the best for last, as many think this drop is the biggest on the whole trip. Or at least that is what I thought when I was guiding on the Main. Seeing the horizon line and the occasional spray being thrown up where I could see it, always helped me focus. Alot.

It's the end of the trip. The guests know it and are already starting to put their game faces back on. Flights, connections, the mountain of email waiting for them. Although I have to interject here that email did not exist when I was guiding on the Main. Funny how things add up and become a staple of life in just a few short years. Say 25 or so of them. For me, assuming Vinegar passed without incident. Vinegar meant that it would soon be time to aim fo the landing at Wind River and look forward somehow to the sweat of packing up after the end of a trip and heading back to the top end to do it all over again.

I do miss those days. I hope those guides that have taken my place know how lucky they are to sweat under the sun at the Wind River takeout.