The Art and War of Wilderness: Protecting the Bouder White Cloud Mountains

Once upon a time, Idaho’s forests were green, water ran gin-clear from the mountains and the sky was not cloudy all day. In those days, there was no need for political wilderness. But in the 1940s, 1950s and early ’60s, people like Mardy Murie, Bob Marshall, Howard Zahniser, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson and Wallace Stegner felt compelled to protect the last remaining wild places. Logging, mining and road building were rampant and wildlands were being diminished like “snow on a hot summer’s day,” as conservationist John Muir once said.

Hiking to Spangle Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness

I can’t believe I forgot my sleeping bag. I planned to hike sixteen miles from Atlanta, Idaho to see the ultimate headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Boise River at Spangle Lake in the highest, most stunning country in the Sawtooth Wilderness. That would conclude my hike from the Snake River to the top of the Boise River drainage and now the whole river would be below me. I sat on the tailgate of my pickup, drank another afternoon beer, watching this gorgeous, cool, day, aiming toward the end of summer.

In the Palace of Retail

In the Palace of Retail

By Mike Medberry

Hiking the Boise #3

Rafters crowding the Boise River

The Boise River through the city to Lucky Peak and Arrowrock reservoirs and the Ninemeyer wipeout

A rock, almost a boulder, stands beside an unnamed pond with these words inscribed upon it: “Celebrating the life of Cal Osburn.”  I did a double-take and reread it.  Cal Osburn was a friend of mine, a jovial man, father of John Osburn, one of the people I’ve worked with as a conservationist. Cal always struck me as happy, like Mr. Rogers on TV, a lover of nature and of people.  He worked on cruise ships as an Ambassador for many years and in Boise he seemed happy with his wife.

Walking the Boise River from Caldwell to Hwy 55

A Walk from Caldwell to Hwy 55


Walking the Lower Boise River

Perhaps more than ever before on this river, where the Boise meets the Snake, wildlife and farmers abound. Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Red-tailed hawks, Cinnamon Teal and American Coots, Canada Geese and Osprey, black Double-Crested Cormorants, Turkey Vultures, and a pure white Pelican are as common as house flies along the lower Boise River as I begin to hike. Deer, coyotes, and wild turkeys wander through the brush; Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Tiger Swallowtail butterflies provide elegance to the Cottonwood forest. As I walk to the confluence, a man fishes for bass or catfish.

Walking the LA River

Walking in LA: The Restoration of a Once Dead River

by Mike Medberry

III. "If you're go-ing to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..."

On the road to San Francisco

I drove into San Francisco a few days after the Supreme Court ruled that married same–sex couples are entitled to equal rights and federal benefits that other married couples received. The following weekend was set for the San Francisco Pride Celebration, which is the biggest gathering in the United States for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Unbeknownst by me. It would be a wild party as people lined up by the hundreds or thousands or some ridiculous number to file for a marriage in California.

II Auntie's Boostore and Planet Seattle

The insurance agent whom I talked with at USAA said that the company wouldn’t pay for the damage that I’d incurred on the road by Riggins, so I upgraded my auto insurance and went on driving with two major dents and a slightly dangling headlight. I washed blood off the truck and cleansed my mind with a good dinner in Spokane. The reading that night proved nearly perfect and several people in the audience asked thoughtful questions. Lois at Aunties set me up like the pro she is and several of my long-lost old friends came to the reading.

Taking it on the road

When you’ve read the book you’ve written before a group of people, you’ve read it, right? You’ve done your thing. It’s over. Big splash but hardly any ripples flowing out. No magic, no darkness, no joy, no big surprises, right? Well, that ain't been my experience. Here is the first of three of my road trip accounts. Look for them for the next three Fridays.


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