The Journal of Leonard M Hawkes

A New Water Era Begins for Beaver Dam, Box Elder, Utah
08/16/2012 06:05 a.m.
It's been an interesting summer. The past 48 hours sum up its uniqueness, I think. On Monday afternoon I went to Idaho Falls. My destination really was Kilgore, Idaho, but due to my late departure from Beaver Dam and my fondness for the South Tourist Park, I camped the night at the South Tourist Park. It's located on a dammed portion of the Snake River--a lovely lake really--just over 100 yards wide. It's grassy with trees--appropriately named a park. I slept "under the stars" (though there were none--too much smoke in the air from the many wildfires here in the west--we're surrounded by them) not ten feet away from the river.

I went on the trip because I was bored, lonely, and it's the end of the summer (school meetings start next week); it's become a tradition for me to go to Kilgore this time of year. Actually, I spent my first night in the Kilgore area at a windy desolate rest stop just west of Dubois, ID (on I-15 just south of the Monida Pass), and I've yet to spend a night camped at Kilgore. On the way up, I kept hoping for a hitchhiker for some conversation, but when I got to the Tourist Park and settled in, I encountered two guys I'd met on an earlier excursion (one, I actually met the first time at Stinky Springs. I was intrigued by him because he had obviously had two hernia surgeries, like me), and then I met "the old guy from Texas" (the phrase offended him). He took a liking to my "obviously educated level of experience and sophistication" (I was complimented by his phrase).

Tuesday I got up early and was at the trail head for Aldous Lake in the Centennial Mountains of Idaho-Montana by 9:30 a. m. My intention was to hike the 1.3 miles to the lake and back for my daily walk. But no one else was there. As I checked the trail head log, no one had been there for several days. I rigged a "bear bell" out of a tin and some gravel and started along the trail, I suppose I had gone about 1/4 mile when I started "feeling creepy" and remembering the stupidity of hiking alone in bear country, so I turned around and went back to the parking lot and finished my walk in that general area--all 2 1/2 miles of it, asking myself if I was "chicken" or "wise." I next drove back to where I had driven last year (I came up Cottonwood Creek this year, East Camas Creek last year)to Hirshi Flat (named for Jan's great-grandfather) where I spent the next two hours making a pastel sketch of the scene across the flat looking east toward hazy mountains (again, the wildfire smoke still is thick enough to almost give me asthma). I had been in the mountains the entire morning and had seen no one. But overall the mountains were very friendly (it's funny how Nature can welcome you or turn you the cold shoulder. I felt very welcomed). The area is similar to the Yellowstone country I know and love so well, but dryer. Most of the conifers are Douglas Firs--one of my favorites from here in Utah. I take pride in the fact that the old part of our house is built from rough cut "red pine"--Douglas Fir.

When I had exhausted the possibilities of a good sketch, I stretched, looked around, and then drove back down the East Camas Creek Road to Kilgore (about 20 minutes) and then west to Spencer, where I bought Jan some junk opal for her 2nd grade rock unit. From there, after a brief (I was starving by then) stop in Dubois for snacks, I drove back to Idaho Falls where I had Mongolian barbeque and then went to the book store (always looking for Herman Hesse, good poetry books, and mysteries by Ellis Peters (and found all three). By the way, I listened to some thunderous classical music and some John Denver as I was driving.

Back at the Tourist Park, the old guy from Texas (whose name I never asked for nor received) was still there and for the next hour or so, he about talked my ear off. He was full of both stories and opinions. In some ways he reminded me of Delose--though he did swear, not really a lot, but more than I'm used to. It was about 8:00 p.m. and I wanted to walk off some of my Mongolian, so I made and excuse and drove downtown Idaho Falls and walked a good mile. The river walk there is pleasant (though under construction). I think that part of Idaho Falls is perpetually under construction. The river itself was under construction for years, and now they're doing something to the road. When I returned back to the Tourist Park, I set up my bed in the back of the truck, talked with a young fat-ugly kid (though he was sincerely friendly), visited again with the hernia guy who was passing through, but then ended up again listening to the old guy from Texas. This time, however, in the end, he made the excuse and drove down by the boat dock. I finished getting ready for bed. Just before I actually turned in for the night, he came by to say good by and thanked me again for my good company. "I've talked to you so much, I've almost lost my voice!" I took it as a sincere compliment.

This morning I got up at 5:00 a. m., packed my simple camping gear, bought gas and a portable breakfast at the Maverik, and headed back to Utah as fast as I dared. I got home about 8:00, showered, shaved, and got ready for the Student Council Meeting at 9:00. About 8:15 I got a text that said the meeting would be at 10:00 and that we would make "Welcome Back Posters." That gave me an extra hour, so I took a "power nap." I needed one. I was at the high school by 10:00 a. m., got them making posters, and then left for Brigham. I had a "date" with my mother at 10:45. Aunt Anna (a favorite aunt) was up from Phoenix, AZ. She comes up seldom, and often just visits her son Valden in Salt Lake City, and doesn't do more than call Uncle Grant. But this year, we met at the Bejing Buffet ("The Bug Place") in Brigham. The core Bowen Group was there: Ellen and Ruth Anne, and their terminally ill brother and his wife, Marie and Darnell, Linda and Donald, their brother Bryce, Uncle Grant and Aunt Lu, Cousin Cathy and her twins, and Lawrence and I and Mother. Aunt Anna came with both Valden (and his wife) and Cory (who I haven't seen in years). I saw her fighting back the tears twice as she visited with everyone. She made it a point to visit with everyone. The food was good. The spirit was good. Only Mother seemed a bit "up-tight." It was an appropriately pleasant Bowen gathering.

This afternoon, after I took mother home, I came home and slept in front of the air conditioner. I really didn't sleep well that first night in the Tourist Park. Last night was just short, but I only woke up once in the night. I gazed out over the water toward downtown--the temple dominant in the skyline. It was cool in Idaho. There was a breeze along the river, and I do think the park was more quiet than usual.

Morgan stopped in after work (about 3:30 and updated me on his progress with his noise and supplemental props for the production "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Jan got home about 5:00 and then went to Zoomba (she's working on her weight). I watched the news, checked the computer, (yes, dozed a little too), and then went walking down along the canal just after 8:00 p. m. I have little tolerance for the heat of the day. In my mind I kept comparing this walk to walking along a canal in the Netherlands. We're so dry here this year. I saw no one, heard nothing but birds and water and farm noises down in the fields along the river, and also thought about what scout fun we could have in some of the places along the canal. I walked 3 miles.

When I got back home, it was nearly news time. I watched the 10 o'clock news, watered the plants in my planters on the porches, took out the garbage (tomorrow morning early the garbage truck comes), and finally filled up two jugs of water for tomorrow--at last they are going to hook up the new water system. Tomorrow begins a new water era for the community of Beaver Dam, Box Elder, Utah (meanwhile my yard's a dried out mess from undependable water and water pressure all this summer, what isn't dried out has been eaten by inch-and-a-half-long grasshoppers or dug up by the process of putting in the new water line--I told Aunt Anna, all of those bad things they say about Beaver Dam were true this summer), and yes, school meetings start on Monday--the "real end of summer."
I am currently Tired
I am listening to air conditioner noise

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