'Idaho Wilderness Considered'

If any lovers of Idaho backcountry are on your Christmas list, the new “Idaho Wilderness Considered” anthology is an excellent choice.

Published this month by the Idaho Humanities Council, the paperback grew out of the council’s reading and conversation series on wilderness, hosted in libraries and elsewhere throughout Idaho in 2014-15 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

With two dozen writers, this anthology of essays is part scholarship, part personal reflection, part political history and all Idaho. It’s an education on the legal issues of wilderness, but also a telling of hikes, fishing trips and exploration that shaped these advocates of Idaho’s vast wild places.

A sampling: Rick Johnson’s interview with former Gov. Cecil Andrus on his life in conservation; U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson’s essay on Boulder-White Clouds wilderness legislation; novelist Judith Freeman’s story of an orphaned bear cub; and journalist Mark Trahant’s memories of Yankee Fork fishing.

The center spread: eight glossy, color pages of Forest Service backcountry recreation specialist Ed Cannady’s photographs of the Boulder-White Clouds. And they’re stunning: day and night, under snow and blanketed in wildflowers.

I quickly found a favorite in William Johnson’s essay titled “Hiking the Selway at Night.”

“Rounding a bend I meet a lone backpacker resting on a log,” Johnson writes. “He has taken a sip from his water bottle and glances up half startled at my approach. He is bearded, younger than I, sweat glistening on his forehead. We nod at each other, but neither of us speaks. Civil pleasantries are unnecessary here. The wilderness is a bond of respect we share.”

Edited by Boise environmental attorney Murray Feldman and Ketchum Community Library director Jennifer Emery Davidson, “Idaho Wilderness Considered” is $15, plus sales tax and $4 shipping, at Idahohumanities.org.

Bring your helmet

Rock climbers eager to learn about local crags a bit off the beaten path might like to join a Southern Idaho Climbing Coalition outing this weekend.

Both new and experienced climbers are welcome at the new monthly “Climb with SICC” events, but they’re not designed for people who’ve done no climbing at all. They’re also social affairs — a chance to meet the coalition’s board members, talk about local climbing issues and ask questions.

“We will provide a few top ropes for folks, but feel free to lead and set up your own as well,” wrote host Shawn Willsey, the coalition’s chairman. “Helmets are encouraged. Contact SICC if you would like to borrow one. Overall, a very chill affair.”

The November climb is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Canyon View Crag, a south-facing cliff across the Snake River Canyon from the Dierkes Lake area. For directions, look up the Southern Idaho Climbing Coalition’s event on Facebook.

#returnyourrocks

If you’ve ever carried away a piece of lava rock from Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, it’s time for your conscience to kick in.

It’s against the law to remove anything from a national park site, Craters of the Moon reminded its fans in a Facebook post accompanied by a photograph of a few intriguing specimens.

“Lava rocks of all different shapes and sizes have been returned to the park after being collected by visitors,” the Craters staffer posted. “One of these was collected in 1989! All of these rocks have since been released back into the wild.”

Tip for anglers

While its priority is raising 1.5 million steelhead trout a year, the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery in late October stocked about 18,000 12-inch rainbow trout in Lake Walcott near Rupert.

Virginia Hutchins is enterprise editor of the Times-News and Magicvalley.com; reach her at vhutchins@magicvalley.com or 208-735-3242.

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