I thought nothing, no matter how hard it tried could come close to the magnificent Wasatch Mountains jutting out of the high valley desert views from my window, nothing could capture my heart like red rock canyons or steal my breath like a grand slalom through the perfect down of an Alta power day. I thought nothing could enthrall my soul more completely than wandering through deserts, across streams, over prehistoric lakes and petrified forests. I was the quintessential Utah girl … my roots are there, my heart is there.
When I had to move north for a new job, move away from my beloved lake and mountains, I was bereft of spirit. It was a new adventure and I’m all for new adventures, but I was leaving my life. Leaving my world. I moved from foothills with majestic views of Utah Lake and the towering purple mountain majesties into suburbia. My view is my neighbor’s rooftop. The mountains are only a dream and miles away. And … I resisted. I compared. I whined. I looked back and I pined.
I have a confession to make. It took me three years to find a hair dresser in Idaho, I would drive back ‘home’ to ‘my’ hair dresser in Utah. It took me 7 years before I would alpine ski in Idaho, seriously. It has taken more than 12 years and today I think I can admit, yes, it’s taken a while, but Idaho has grown on me. I’m still in suburbia, but escape to Sweetie’s home on the range only 20 minutes from the mountains. I still yearn each winter for the soft, downy powder of my first love, Alta, but there are good powder days at Brundage too. I miss the red rocks and always, always my family, but I have Sweetie up here and friends … Idaho has grown into a piece of my heart.
Last week instead of heading south for our annual camping, hiking, or fishing trip my friend Jill and I went north into Idaho’s panhandle. North through valleys so narrow I felt I could touch the mountains on either side of the road. I loved the tiny towns and villages tucked into the only flat spots along rivers and the farms and barns scattered like bird seed through the wheat fields surrounding the Camas Prairie, Nez Perce. I lost count of the number and names of the rivers and creeks we passed or stopped to wade through, tossing one of many, many different flies in search of the elusive native cut throat trout.
You’ll love this … and it’s not a fish story either … after setting up camp and relaxing after the 6 hour drive from Council, a fellow camper dropped over and offered us firewood. He and his grandson brought it over, helped to stack it and even cut some into kindling for us (maybe they felt sorry for us old ladies). The fire put a smile on our hearts. The next morning, I pulled my lovely little Sage fly rod from its case and the handle fell off, it just dropped into the dirt when I started to put on the reel. Well, I didn’t have any glue and I didn’t think white cloth bandage tape would help much. I remembered the fellow who gave us wood said he tied flies to match the hatch. I took my poor little rod over to their camp and of course he had some super glue. Sadly, the handle just wouldn’t stick. As I thanked him and was heading back to use my secondary rod, my dad’s (but it’s short for these rivers), he offered to let me borrow one of his rods for the week. I took him up on it and had great days fishing.
So how do you thank someone who lends their fly rod to a stranger and shares firewood too? Words just seemed too small. I thought of the small fairy I was working on and figured I could make two … so I finished the small fairy and made a little fly fishing dude wire sculptures for his grandchildren. I think they liked them. On another note, when I checked my fly rod I found that the super glue finally cured and the handle was securely in place.
Idaho people are the best. There, I said it … Idaho is more than potatoes and long drives from here to there.
Utah, I hope you understand, my loving Idaho doesn’t change my love for you. I’m a UTE, through and through!