Summer is officially here! It’s very hard to believe that Alexi and I have been living in Shoshone for almost three months now. When we first got here we were both a little uncertain about living in such a small town where not much seems to happen. We thought our time here would just creep by. But once we did a little research and some exploring, we realized how awesome it is that we live in Shoshone. We even made an Idaho Bucket List on a small white board that we keep in the kitchen.
Our Idaho (and surrounding areas) Bucket List
We both got fishing licenses and plan to catch a lot of fish this summer (although we have yet to catch our first one, haha). We’ve kayaked on the Snake River with our Twin Falls CLM friends.
Kayaking on the Snake River outside of Twin Falls, Idaho
I joined a coed soccer league an hour away in Ketchum, Idaho and do that every Wednesday. We’ve checked out Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, which is only an hour away. There’s so much to do in the surrounding areas and we have been very good about getting out on the weekends. That’s the key to living in a remote area- keeping yourself busy, planning trips, getting away for the weekend! This always seems to accelerate time.
Go home bee, you’re drunk (with pollen)
My latest weekend adventure was running my first trail race- The River of No Return Endurance Run in Challis, Idaho. There were three distances: 100km, 50km and 25km. I just did the 25km (15 miles) since this was my first time doing a trail race. It was an exciting race with about 4,000ft of elevation gain and right next to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the second largest protected wilderness area in the lower 48 (second the Death Valley)! Wolves, mountain lions, bears, elk and deer are often seen in the area where the race was held. The finisher’s t-shirt said on the back, “Run fast, everything else in these mountains does!”, with shoeprints followed by wolf paw prints underneath. My goal was to finish alive and with some dignity still left and somehow I managed to place 38 out of 113 runners and was 4th in my age group. I also beat my goal of running it under three hours.
But enough of tooting my own horn- what I found truly amazing about this race was how positive and supportive and awesome everyone was. During the race almost every person I passed (or that passed me) said words of encouragement even if they were completely out of breath. So I started joining in and gasped “Good job!” to everyone I passed. This has never happened in a road race, because 1) normally there are way too many people and 2) in endurance trail races people are just happy to finish and there isn’t the competitive attitude like in road running, where people are constantly checking their splits and pace. After the race I sat by the finish line and watched other 25km runners come in, then the 50km runners and eventually the 100km runners. I came to the race alone and camped alone the night before, but by the end of the weekend I had made so many friends. I met a guy who used to work for my CLM advisor back in 2008. I met an awesome family while on a $10 race-discounted rafting trip on the Salmon River. And I ended up camping with an Irish guy and his friend that ran the 100km race at Challis Hot Springs. My new friends were all trying to convince me to run a 50km race, which would count as an ultramarathon (an ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon). We shall see. Endurance trail runners are crazy people. They enjoy pushing their bodies and minds to the limit, they don’t mind getting really dirty, and they are fearless. I hope to join their ranks one day.
Trail running on the Pioneer Cabin Trail outside of Sun Valley, Idaho
So that was my exciting weekend. Today I’m heading to the Grand Tetons to do a backpacking trip for a couple days. And then Alexi and I are planning a backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho for the Fourth of July weekend. The weekend after that we are planning a trip to Hell’s Canyon on the border of Idaho and Washington and Oregon. We actually stress about not having enough time to do all the things we want to do. Like I said, we keep ourselves busy.
Eriogonum ovalifolium in Craters of the Moon NM
Indian Tunnel in Craters of the Moon NM
Now I know not everyone is that gung-ho to go out and adventure. Here are the major excuses:
1) I don’t have anyone to go with.
Then go alone! I’ve had some of my greatest adventure camping and exploring on my own. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and maybe you’ll finally finish that book you’ve been meaning to read. And maybe you’ll make new friends along the way
2) I don’t know where to go.
Most of y’all probably work in offices where people could give you recommendations. Or check things out online. Or find a local outdoor gear shop and ask people. Or buy a map and pick a point and go!
3) I don’t have the gear.
Get an REI membership and look for their huge sales. Look on Craigslist or backcountry.com. Go to a sports consignment store. As CLM interns you can get prodeals at Outdoor Prolink (http://www.outdoorprolink.com/) and Promotive (https://www.promotive.com/) as long as you have a government email and ADP Pay Stub.
4) I don’t want to spend that much money on gas
This is the one that will sometimes make me hesitant since money always seems to be tight. But I’ve often found that I don’t regret it at all. The drive is almost always worth it. You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you go and check it out. Twenty years from now you won’t remember how it cost you $40 worth of gas money and 6 hours of driving, but you’ll remember jumping into the ice cold alpine lake and how it literally took your breath away.
5) I don’t really like camping and being outside
Well then you’re in the wrong line of work!
So go explore- get lost, sweat profusely, get grimy, exert yourself, talk to strangers, get wet, do something you’re not good at, get scared, surprise yourself, get uncomfortable! Don’t be lazy botanists. Nobody ever looks back on his or her life and thinks, man I wish I played it safe and did less. Most CLM internships are in some incredible places or near incredible places. You’re in the Wild West, take advantage of it while you can. Take a drive, take a hike, get out and go do!
Killdeer chick outside our office
Brewer’s sparrow eggs hidden in the sagebrush
Mentzelia laevicaulis (Blazing Star)
And here’s another Edward Abbey quote for ya:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” ― Edward Abbey
Until next time,
Shoshone BLM Office