“Yankee Fork Gold Dredger”, the “Falconer” and “Custer Day”, Idaho

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Paragraphs of Daily Thoughts and much Mental Therapy. Photos. Sometimes Videos. Published Weekly or so.

On the Beach-3

“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 ~

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-2 xxx

Someone wrote me today that "If there is a God on Earth, he lives in the Sawtooth Mountains". How true. I feel as having stepped up the ladder these past days even if a run of bursitis is destroying my left shoulder. It is on to the Dr tomorrow. In Stanley, yes, population "60". There will be a Dr. Not much fishing and not much riding. Yet, the little we saw within this large space which seems to enlarge itself by the day, made me feel of a last frontier, a space still kept as it was thousands of years ago. And the most amazing feeling… "We are home". For only now. I know eventually we will get kicked out as the stay is 16 days and on one must move 10 miles away. I am not keeping track wondering if anyone is.

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho. xxx

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-5 xxx

What a feeling every morning to get up only when the sun is approaching the parameters of the tent as it is cold. My kitchen is laid out in the vestibule on this little folding aluminum table. The stove is fired up for the morning strong coffee as yet over the sound of the flame I can still hear Spirit snoring still bundled up in his own sleeping bag. These are 3 layer mornings. The pine trees and birds are my only witnesses within these times so peaceful, the forward passage of the new day, every day. The skies of a beautiful blue will slowly crowd themselves with puffs of cotton clouds. They will be part of our shade for later on the day.

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-9 xxx

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-3 xxx

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-6 xxx

How could we now live any differently? How can four walls again rise surrounding us as they have in the past for so many years? What will I do when I cannot do this anymore? Of course those thoughts are too far ahead yet, "that" Life and "this" Life are as night and day. The cup is now almost empty as a few grounds have made their way into it. I hear some movement and the snoring has stopped. Mr. Spirit must be ready himself to confront this new day. He knows too well nothing happens till after "coffee time". I did not train him. It is a mutual understanding we have developed over the years. Much Love and much respect towards each other. It works as the perfect relationship. Humans should also try it.

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-13 xxx

Custer-2 xxx

Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.-11 xxx

I got lucky and unlucky all at the same time today. The Dr only shows up in Stanley once a month. I even repeated not believing "Once a month?". Good Karma even if I could have gone 60 miles away to see him in Ketchum. A beautiful ride. The shot in the shoulder did not hurt as thinking how good it will feel soon. The bad prescription is of no riding and no fishing for at least 3 days. Combined with my trigeminal neck neuralgia the pain has yet to subside tonight. I guess, hummm… I have to follow orders of course while I caught 2 nice Brook Trout this morning waiting for my appointment and even being bigger than previous ones it is just not enough for dinner! I am already thinking, well, it is the left shoulder, I cast with my right arm. This was the first time fishing in fast waters (Salmon River) and I must say it was pretty exciting. Will see how early morning feels. Dinner remained 2…

Dinner xxx

I know… the “heads”!

Dinner-3 xxx

It is always "just when I was going to…". Of course. I had mapped out some new trails towards Lakes we have not been around yet. I had marked a turn off opening to a meadow carpeted with flowers of all different colors and heights. Sometimes Life is as such. Immobility is an aspect difficult for us. Maybe just for me as I know Spirit does not mind laying around for his daily sun tan. So much I can read and it is too hot to sleep during the day. So much I can also cook! We could be in worse places though. Our home here is nicer than nice and I got a kick out of watching an ant this afternoon going around and around on the smoking mosquito coil which I now burn daily when here. It does work by the way. It was a "Duh" moment when I discovered we are mosquito and fly free now after all these years fighting them with products which did not work. So like a mice in a maze this little guy was going around and around to no end. Reaching the center and then on backtracking, turning around an inch before the smoking hot spot at the end and again racing back. Finally he I think burned a few whiskers and jumped off. How boring? No… It was for a while entertainment. It is all in the details of one’s surrounding if we care to take the time.

The Dredge xxx

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The Dredge-8 xxx

The Dredge-4 xxx

All this is so much of a Paradise found and yet, as much as I try my mood swings are on by the dozen daily. I kick myself for going there, I have built up my strength and surely enough it deflates when least expected. Today is three months later, the images have not blurred out yet. I know they will stay sharp for a time longer than wanted. I am so tired at times, so filled with the tears of the moment and at times filled with the energy that has driven us this far. It is a confused state of mind more often than not. They are the thoughts we should get off the road for a while. Yet, do what? Where to go? Where to stay? Texas is too hot as often wishing it were winter times but is not. Such freedom one would think would open up the doors to new sights. It does. The desire comes and goes as there is no hiding from this truth. How redundant all this has turned out to be. I have some support which helps and of course also the other side of the coin from a few I wished would mind their own business. Such is Life…

The Dredge-6 xxx

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The Dredge-13 xxx

The area is growing on me. There is so much history. I am not a good "depiction" writer, (not a writer period), so the links and photos will suffice mostly, with a few words. I took a tour of the giant Yankee Fork Gold dredger which starting in 1940 made those ponds I fish in as they are channeled to the Yankee Fork River. It was used to extract the gold of the time. The size of a 3 story house it was built in 5 months, floated on 2 giant pontoons and was manned by only 3 workers. The fourth worker was the "Gold Man". He was the only one allowed near the gold and also by the vaporized mercury they used for the gold to stick to the chutes. A fine job. This dredger made it’s own way digging it’s own ponds for 5.5 miles and back. An amazing set up considering the working conditions with no insulation, an incredible noise level and a wet environment when winter showed temperatures as low as – 50. It is between Custer and Bonanza. Two Ghost Towns with each starting around 1870 had a population of 600. What a task to bring in such machinery. Truly a must as a tour.

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It was then on attending a presentation from David Skinner, a falconer. Another incredible and interesting hour and a half while he talked about his lethal hunting weapon in also the company of his young daughter. I was all ears.

The Falconer-2 xxx

The Falconer-6 xxx

The Falconer-4 xxx

It was dinner time…

The Falconer-5 xxx

There is obviously a lot going on here as today also was Custer Day. Shuttled to town this time because of a huge crowd and lack of parking, it was a day of Dutch Oven cooking, gun fight reenactments, home made ice cream, gold panning and much History learned. One tid bit was the fact that at the time the possession of raw gold was illegal. For that reason the gold from the dredger was simply wrapped in newspapers and shipped uninsured on the weekly coach. Stealing it was never the company’s worry. It was a good time and a good crowd with very helpful Idaho Wilderness Rangers, very friendly. “Thank You” all.

Custer-4 xxx

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"If you can dream, and not make dreams your Master…"
~ Rudyard Kipling ~

Stay well and safe.
                            Ara and Spirit

Spirit 200

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8 Responses to ““Yankee Fork Gold Dredger”, the “Falconer” and “Custer Day”, Idaho”

  1. Old Fat Man Says:

    Thank you for bringing back memories of a wonderful place and even better folks.

  2. Desert Scruff Says:

    It’s good to see you back on the road. It takes time, Ara, but one thing I have no doubt about and that is you will figure out the answers to your questions that have answers and will let go of the questions that have no answers. Nice photos as always. So your mosquito coil works. Is it citronella or is there another kind? I love the quote from Abbey. Enjoy the beautiful country.

  3. HoboPals Says:

    Ah, the Empire Saloon. I remember it and have pictures, too! And, the house next to it was owned by what was considered a man of wealth? Isn’t there a story about a little boy who had breathing problems for which his Mother always kept a pot of steaming water on the stove? The cleaning woman, unknowingly, used the water; the little boy had an attack, the Mother ran for the water and it was gone. The little boy is buried in the cemetery in town. Such a sad story. Seems like 40 years was considered old back in those days. There was a story about the Flag that I’ve forgotten, too. When we were there, the people who were restoring the historical town told us that a vandal/thief had stolen $200,000 of irreplaceable relics.

    Being immobile is driving me nuts, too, but how wonderful to read your blog and see the pictures. I smiled about the way Spirit and you have adapted to each other’s ways. Jack, too, knows I’m no longer an early riser and waits for me before getting up. I’ve become lazy. Hope your shoulder heals quickly. Scratches and hugs to Spirit.

  4. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Hi! It is just the generic green coil. I don’t have the package or I would look it up. Thanks for the wise words. Ara and Spirit.

  5. Upriverdavid Says:

    Well son-of a gun..I have some of the same photos…At the same day….Good to see you two..I went off to Bonneville Hot Springs…..
    Take care,

  6. Upriverdavid Says:

    I visited Grandjean while at Bonneville..You should check it out..I got two pieces of fresh home made apple pie for $4…..The campground is sooo far off you could probably stay there forever and nobody would know..The hot springs are sweet too..
    Again take care,

  7. texascindy Says:

    Sounds and looks like a wonderful time! You needed some time like this. Love the pics of the locals! Hope weather is being kind to you. Hugs and scritches and safe travels as always!

  8. LAguy Says:

    Amazing place. Amazing people. Amazing photos of a so-distant time.

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