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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Sunday, September 1
10:00 a.m. Buffalo Campground, Island Park, Idaho - The others are mostly gone, so Sunday morning is a fairly quiet time, even here in the middle of a commercial campground. Charlie and Paul are on the three-day hike with the trekkers, Bob V. is out taking photographs in Yellowstone, and Cheryl, Michelle, and Steven are doing a 10-mile hike northeast of here in the Targhee National Forest. I just had coffee and a chat with Amanda and Steven, the “techies,” about travel, computers, and a variety of other topics-including the pair of moose that browsed through camp just beyond my tent this morning. They (the techies) are volunteers just like everyone else, and they intend to hop on their motorcycles at about noon and head back to Denver.
We’ll be here for two more nights, and I’ll have to leave very early Tuesday morning to avoid road construction en route to the program I’m to present at Mammoth School, at the north park entrance. I met Ranger Robin Jenkins yesterday and scheduled a program for tonight here at the campground. Cheryl, Steven, and Bob V. accompanied me to Robin’s slide show last night to announce tonight’s presentation. It was dark, but I could see a large crowd in attendance-maybe 200. But Robin is accompanied by Smokey the Bear, who makes his rounds through the campground before the slide show and recruits people with children.
I’ve become acquainted with two places during the past couple of days. My visits were brief, but I had a chance to look around and speak with several residents. Here is what I found:
Dubois sits along I-15, a major north-south route that links Pocatello and Salt Lake City to the south with western Montana’s centers of population and Calgary farther north. Two multipurpose businesses perch near the interstate on either side of the town’s main street to serve the highway traffic with gasoline, convenience store goods, showers, an ATM, groceries, sub sandwiches, fountain drinks, lottery, film, hardware, a laundromat, and bus stop. At a glance, it would appear that these several enterprises make up the majority of the economy for this community of 450 persons. But the town is the seat of government for Clark County, and an attractive Forest Service headquarters building is situated across Main Street from the courthouse and post office. Newly poured curb and guttering on Main Street suggests that the people of Dubois (pronounced “Do-‘boys”) are interested in their community. That interest is even more apparent in the nearly-completed K-12 school, an attractive building that required that voters voluntarily increase their taxes to finance the construction.
The major economic activity turns out to be the several enterprises associated with Blaine Larson, ranging from the hardware store to the large acreages surrounding the town devoted to potatoes, hay, and wheat (“He owns about 85% of the county,” I’m told.), to the combination warehouse facility and potato dehydrating plant on the edge of town. The plant dices and dehydrates potatoes and produces potato chips. “There’s a warehouse in Hamer, too, and more farms in Montague,” the convenience store clerk says. And there is more. “Made of Wood” produces custom-made furniture and cabinetry, and “Dubois Leather” is “famous” as a specialized, custom boot shop.
Public lands? The clerk, until now very willing to chat and share her town with me, clams up. “I’d better stay neutral on this one,” she says. Outside the Laundromat, located in the basement of “Charlie’s R & R Diner,” a pair of bumper stickers reminds me of other fairly common sentiments. “Sportsmen for Bush” proclaims one, and the second reads: “Gun Control Means Using Both Hands.”
Northeast of Dubois, past thousands of acres of relatively flat, sagebrush-covered land, one oil drilling rig, several oil storage tanks, and multiple cattle guards, is an area called “Camas Meadows,” named for a plant of the lily family. The plant’s roots were used as food by Indians, and the modern-day inhabitants of the area raise cattle and grow hay. Nearby is the Targhee National Forest, a popular area for outdoor recreation.
The small settlement of Kilgore sits near the entrance to Targhee. Permanent population: one. “Well, John. He’s the only one who stays year ‘round,” Beva Horn, proprietor of Kilgore’s general store, tells me. She and her husband Del have owned the store and cabins for 24 years. “We usually stay open ‘til the first of December. That’s when the black powder season is over. Then we come back again in May, just before fishing season.” She smiles. She enjoys what she is doing. “We take care of the hunters and fishermen and campers.”
This is their busiest weekend, serving the swarm of hunters and campers who have temporarily caused a population explosion in the nearby national forest, just north of here. Patrons rummage through the incredible variety of goods and attractions in the small building. The walls are festooned with elk, deer, and moose heads; antiques; primitive tools; photographs; and the only copy of the “Kilgore Klarion,” an 8 1/2x11 sheet which contains the news of the day. It is handwritten and stapled in a prominent location near the door. I read that bow hunting season starts today, some damage from hail was experienced by local farmers, someone killed a bear, and several local folks have recently had birthdays.
I select a homemade barbeque sandwich from the cooler and warm it in the microwave. I find a seat at a tiny table, wedged between groceries, Kilgore caps, cleaning supplies, toiletries, gloves, a book nook, pool table, and small fountain area. “You should taste my malts,” says Beva, here eyes twinkling as she smiles. “They’re really good.” I do-raspberry. It is good.
Next door is “Kilgore School,” built in 1921 and now being dismantled by Del. The cedar shingles have been stripped and about half the rafters removed. Mel is saving the lumber for reuse. “I think I can get done before the snow,” he grins, pausing with his crowbar and wiping the sweat from his forehead. “That gives me a month.” He grins again and looks at the sky. With a half-shrug, he adds: “If not, it’ll be here next spring.”
for Sunday, September 1
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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