My Dad in the Valley of Fire

That time my dad let a man live in his car

An anecdote about my dad A while back, my dad noticed that his car had begun the curious habit of generating cigarette butts. My dad didn’t smoke. No one who he rode around with smoked in his car. He’d go into work with a cigarette-butt-free vehicle, and by the time his shift ended, there waiting […]

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The sublime majesty of cyanide

ScholarDay has been writing recently of a proposed open pit cyanide heap leach mine proposed in the Centennial Mountains in Eastern Idaho: the Kilgore Project. We’ve talked about how the Centennial Mountains are the only remaining wildlife corridor connecting large mammal populations (including grizzly bears) in Yellowstone National Park to populations in central Idaho and […]

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The metaphysics of wildlife underpasses

Before things get out of hand, let me state unequivocally that I support wildlife underpasses (and overpasses, fish ladders, canopy bridges, and all other infrastructural devices that unite wildlife populations across man-made barriers). They have been shown many times in many places to work effectively in reducing roadkill numbers. This means, of course, fewer humans […]

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A Roadtrip: An Inventory

In 2014, so many years ago already, Alex and I had a summer full of road trips. I was based out of Lafayette, Indiana, for reasons that I will not go into. Alex drove his 2012 Toyota Corolla out from Moscow, Idaho, and we planned an ambitious month of hittin’ the road from that crossroads […]

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Open Pit mining in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Timeline of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s Open Pit Apocalypse

The Fickle Business of the Open Pit 1930s: Blue Ledge Company sets up underground adits, potential prospect pits, and a foundation for a mill that will never end up getting built. 1983 – 1994: Bear Creek Mining tries some exploratory drilling then sells to Placer Dome US (1990), which after trying some exploratory drilling sells […]

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an effable backpacking thought is rare but sad in such beautiful places

Yet another example of an effable backpacking thought

The ineffable backcountry For the most part, when we escape to the hills or wilderness or backcountry or whatever wonderful name we give the beloved pristine, what we escape from includes the easily describable. Nature’s magical knack at rendering us mute both connects us to our wordless roots and gives us exactly what we wish […]

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Keeping Track of Which Side of the Map I’m On

In the last year, I spent a lot of time staring at two sets of things: maps of Idaho and Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes by William T. Vollmann. Alex and I were planning the “exact” path that we would take on the Yell-to-Hell, a peak-bagging thru-hike in Idaho which we’ve discussed […]

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Reading on Location: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion In 1950, a troubled acolyte burned Kinkakuji (the Temple of the Golden Pavilion) to the ground. Then he tried to kill himself. Is it wrong to say that I would have liked to have been there, in Kyoto, for that first part? I visited Kinkakuji during the height […]

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upcoming backpacking season means planning backpacking meals

Some backpacking meals that won’t break the bank or your back

Bears yawn low in the valleys; snow pack climbs the hills; streams wet their beds; buffalo teach newborns the joy of dirt; the wild’s new generation grow close to their mothers; Poetry offers its one free issue; magnets press wedding invitations to the fridge; graphic designers wrap up their Earth Day posters; outdoor outfitters wear […]

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Birthday Sarah in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area

We Could All Learn A Thing Or Two From Birthday Sarah

Happy Birthday, Sarah! Here I was considering myself the bee’s knees for creating the Yell to Hell, a 900+ mile hike from Yellowstone to Hell’s Canyon, while Birthday Sarah’s over here lapping the sun for a 24th time! That’s a distance of 584,000,000 miles x 24 = 14,016,000,000 miles. And since she’s too humble to […]

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