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Goat Lake, in the Pioneer Mountains, is Idaho's highest named lake. 

Courtesy photo via Troy Shreve

KETCHUM — Positioned between Sun Valley and Craters of the Moon National Monument, the Pioneer Mountains are — for many — just a blank spot on the map. This year, the “Outdoor Idaho” crew set out to change that — exploring the valleys and the highest peaks throughout the seasons. Along the way, they interviewed ranchers, geologists, outfitters, biologists and explorers of all kinds.

The result is “Into the Pioneers” which airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on Idaho Public Television. It will be available for same-day streaming at “Into the Pioneers” will take viewers through a region rich in mining history and diverse wildlife.

“The Pioneers became, for us, a real challenge,” host and producer Bruce Reichert said in a statement. “We knew so little about this special place, but our team found people who did know. We journeyed with them in every season. Together, we’ve created a show that should delight all Idahoans.”

Geologist Paul Link has spent 30 years exploring the Pioneers.

“They’re the heart of Idaho to me,” he said in a statement.

Ketchum residents Bob Jonas and his wife Sarah Michael trekked two-and-a-half months through five mountain ranges this past summer, saving the “Pios” for last.

“They’re the beacon — the siren that first got me into the high country,” Jonas said.

The Pioneers Mountains are also home to sheep and cattle ranchers like John Peavey, who initiated the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. World champion cyclist Rebecca Rusch has established a bike race there, through Copper Basin and the Pioneers. This is Idaho’s second highest mountain range, and is home to North America’s fastest land mammal — the pronghorn — whose closest relative is not the antelope but the giraffe.

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