I lived in the Sawtooths in Central Idaho, near the headwaters of the Salmon River from 1991 - 2004. This picture was taken from my front porch on a -20F morning. The moon was setting to the west, and the sunrise was hitting the east side of the Sawtooth Mountains. This photo reminds me of the beauty and grandeur of the Sawtooths. I had decided in 1991, after my daughter was born, to quit my job and move to a private hot springs ranch in the Sawtooth Valley. The 2 room cabin we lived in is now gone, torn down by the new owners. We had many experiences of adventure and survival during those years, but I felt then (like I do now) that I have been preparing for challenging times like this my whole life - how to go for long spells without having access to a grocery store for instance. What if the power went out? What if the roads closed due to avalanches? What if the snowmobiles or cars wouldn't start? We were 20 miles from the nearest town, and 3 miles by snowmobile from the main road. But, living like that was a choice. We were young and healthy. We had the skills passed down from our elders like how to can & store food, keep extra lamp oil on hand, be ready for the unexpected. But nothing has prepared me for this, a global pandemic. I'm definitely practicing those helpful skills passed down by my Grandmother during "stay at home" orders by our Governor. Thankful for the knowledge that my Grandmother passed on from growing up during the Depression, making something from nothing, learning how to manage under less than optimal living conditions.
I'm also thinking of our friends in the Sawtooths right now who just experienced the second largest earthquake ever recorded in Idaho. Everyone is alright, thankfully. Some suffered broken dishes and pantry's that look like they were hit by a hurricane. They will be okay. Sometimes, isolation is a choice rather than an order. There is a difference. I don't know how this will end, but I am hopeful that we will be able to return to a society that can greet each other again with hugs and handshakes, have gatherings and celebrate birthdays and births together. It's time to hunker down now. Stay safe, and stay healthy.