To: frog report
From:Zelda Queen of the Night<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Idaho City
Wednesday, July 15, 1998
This morning we are camped at Massacre Rocks State Park in
eastern Idaho, next to the Snake River. The Snake has begun to
feel like an old friend, we must have crossed it twelve times
yesterday and two nights ago we camped at Farewell Bend State
Park, which is also next to the Snake. That night we slept in
a facsimile of a covered wagon ($27.00). I wasn't going to pay
it, but Chris pointed out that it was probably the only chance
he was ever going to get to sleep in a wagon and then too it had
a real mattress, 4 inches of foam, that's really what decided
me. Then we went up to Idaho City. Idaho City is an old mining
town in the mountains above Boise, it now has a population of
350, but at one time the town and surrounding area had a population
of 20,000. We went up there because I wanted to go to Boot Hill.
Somehow I had the idea that Doc Holliday was buried there and
I wanted to pay my respects, he's always been my favorite outlaw.
As it turns out he isn't. The most famous outlaw buried there
is a fellow named Ferd Patterson. Most people have probably never
heard of Ferd, I certainly hadn't , but Idaho City is mighty proud
of Ferd Patterson. He robbed the bank in Idaho City and probably
would have gotten away with it but he came back to shoot the sheriff
who by that time had given up chasing him anyway. In the process
he managed to shoot himself in the jaw and it took them a month
to get him well enough to be hanged.
At Idaho City we also visited a junk store where we picked up two things we had been needing badly, a percolating coffeepot that goes on top of the stove instead of the drip through top to a Melita coffeemaker that I have been using, and a large coiled plaster rattlesnake with glass ruby eyes.
That night we camped at a forest service campground called Ten
Mile. It is next to Ten Mile Creek which is (surprise!) about ten
miles north of Idaho City and there we had a close encounter of
the bear kind, something I had hoped to avoid completely this
trip. It was not that close but close enough for me. We were setting
up our camp when the campground hosts, a very sweet elderly couple
with an equally elderly white miniature poodle came around and
gave us a trash bag. They explained that there was a bear hanging
out there lately and so there were no dumpsters at the camp, we
were to keep all our food shut up in the car and they would be
around later to pick up any trash we might have. I asked them
if the bear was hungry enough to break into the car (thinking
of the ones at Yosemite, and also of Chuck's car, I'm not sure
if his insurance policy covers bears) and they assured us, no,
no he wasn't. As we were getting ready for bed Chris decided he
wanted to sleep in the car, I persuaded him that sleeping in the
tent was better than sleeping in the car surrounded by delicious
foodstuffs, he saw the sense of this and we turned in. Chris was
still awake when I finally fell asleep, he's been staying up later
and later and I think the thought of a hungry bear wandering around
had him worried. I was woken in the middle of the night by car
lights going by and couldn't go back to sleep for a while. There
seemed to be something happening but I didn't get up to investigate.
The next morning as I was having my second cup of coffee a Forest Service ranger drove up. He was so soft spoken and laconic I had difficulty understanding what he was trying to tell me for a few minutes, but as it turned out what had happened was that the bear had smashed in a car window at number 13, a few sites up from us, during the night. All the bear had gotten out of it was a banana. I told him the bear should have come down to our place where he could have pigged out on chocolate chip cookies and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. When Chris woke up he told me he had seen the bear crossing the creek and going up the hill opposite. I don't know if he really did see it, the line between fantasy and reality is pretty thin at seven, but there were a bunch of broken saplings so maybe he did.
Massacre Rocks is very nice. The country here is very rocky and high desert-like and the Snake runs through a wide gorge below the campground, deep and swift and cool. There are quantities of rabbits hopping around and a large population of white pelicans, which I have never seen before. They are beautiful in the air, huge and graceful flyers with the lower part of their wings black. We took a walk around last night and saw all sorts of birds we had never seen before, yellow-headed blackbirds, grebes and western kingbirds. There are lots of juniper trees and so the air smells of juniper, I think I'll take some and keep it in the car.