Sunday, May 4, 2014

Selway elk trapping

Steve has hundreds of stories about his experiences in the outdoors, he is finally sitting down long enough to get them on paper and I will do my part and get them on the web, so here goes:

It was late April or Early May of 1968
Lewis Gifford had been hired by my father of help us with some ditch work in preparation for the irrigation season. It was my job to assist Lewis. We found our place working as a team, I was 17 years old and had known Lewis since I was a 12 year old scout- Lewis was the assistant scout master. I had grown to appreciate Lewis' quiet nature and this gave me a chance to share some stories as we worked together on a quiet Spring morning. My shovel scooped up the shorn off chunks of sod and loosened soil and I rhythmically placed them atop the bank of the ditch. We were talking about Lewis' upcoming job of working for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; trapping elk in the Selway wilderness. Since he had the same job the previous year and the time was drawing near when he would have to leave town, I took advantage of questioning him about what it was like and what he expected to experience this year.

Lewis paused his shoveling and I continued and caught up with him, we both stopped shoveling, he spoke, "your father and I have been talking and we both think that it would be good for you to come to the Selway and join me for a week as soon as school is out."  I watched one of the chunks of sod roll down the ditch bank and land atop some emerging barley- backlit in the morning sun, my thoughts began to race.... And I saw myself entering into Lewis' story in a remote part of  central Idaho's wilderness.

I leaned on my shovel and listened: "you could get an early start, 3 am on the appointed day, I will mark a map where Guedney Creek campground is and I will meet you at noon" he went on to tell me that it would be a long drive for me and a 4 mile hike down the mountain for him. He told me I would need a backpack, a sleeping bag and some food along with enough clothing for the week. "I think you will like it " he suggested.

Our conversation moved on as we took up shoveling and my new found delight kept pace. Because of this day Shoveling ditch would never be the same. By the time our job was completed and Lewis had gone home, I went back and the wayward chunks of sod from the emerging barley filled with anticipation- those tiny barley plants and I were going to grow!

Lewis left for the Selway and plans were made for me to join him. It was my first road trip. I had avoided driving due to the fact that my brother Brent and I had been in a near fatal accident and sustained significant injuries when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and the motorcycle we were on slammed into his vehicle. I found it difficult to even desire to drive around town let alone a long trip to a place I had never been. This would be 10 hours and would require  me to meet Lewis at a place where I had never been. I was motivated though and my parents came up with a plan that I went along with.

No comments: