Montana, Idaho deserts, and wedding planning - November 14, 2020

Montana, Idaho deserts, and wedding planning - November 14, 2020

I haven't written in a couple months, but Elna and I are healthy and well! This post will mostly be a recap of what we've done in the past couple of months.

Saw family in Kalispell, met my niece Kallie, ...and almost bought a house? 🏑😱

Kallie and Boots hangin

Elna and I desperately needed a break from the smoke here in Boise mid-September so we dropped Scout off with Elna's parents in Burley and drove up to Kalispell. This was the first time meeting my niece Kallie and she's a little bundle of joy! Our visit lined up nicely with Courtney and Chad's work schedule, we got to see them quite a bit and my dad was able to take some time off work with us. Some highlights from the trip included Chad smoking some delicious brisket for us, mountain biking with dad, and visiting some of the breweries in the area. We had such a good time, so much so that Elna and I almost bought a house! We had been looking at houses in the area on Zillow for a few weeks beforehand, but even then it would have been a super impulsive decision. While talking with a realtor, we came to the decision that Boise has too much to offer to leave it on a whim.

Went on an overnighter in the Owyhee canyonlands

Speaking of things that Boise has to offer, a friend and I went on an overnight backpacking trip into a canyon in one of America's newest wilderness areas. Sam and I wanted to explore some of the Owyhee desert south of Boise, so we bought some guidebooks and set off exploring the wild west. It really is reminiscent of the wild west out there, as recently as 1981 there was an outlaw by the name of Claude Dallas who killed a couple game wardens which led to a 15 month manhunt. Some say he's still out there after being released from prison in 2008.

We spent the first part of the day trekking across oceans of sagebrush to find some abandoned homesteads. Bengochea Place was the coolest of the two we visited, the family homestead of a Basque rancher who became rich after starting a hotel in Mountain Home. There were some walls still standing, including one with a nicely framed window and another where we could make out an old fireplace used for cooking. Across the stream we found a nearly mile-long stretch of primitive stone wall with what looked to be foundations we imagine were used by indiginous people in the area.

Eventually we started our hike along the canyon rim heading towards the descent to the confluence of Sheep Creek and Mary's Creek. Along the way we crossed paths with a rattler which put us on high alert for a few miles until we found an old jeep trail. It started raining shortly before we reached the cattle trail down into the canyon and we worried about finding a dry elevated campsite down there, but luckily enough we found some trees and a flat area a couple hundred feet from the end of the trail.

Dan's Place
Window at Bengochea Place - Notice the higher quality brickwork here compared to Dan's place
Fireplace at Bengochea Place with hooks for hanging pots over the fire
Primitive rock wall across Mary's Creek from Bengochea Place 
Massive canyon walls along Mary's Creek, opening up to the confluence of Sheep Creek
We followed Tindall Trail down into the canyon, an old cattle rancher's trail which is now part of the wilderness
Following Sam as we begin our 600' descent into the canyon
Morning campsite views
Natural bench along Sheep Creek - spent a good amount of time after dark watching fish eyes light up from our headlamps
Quick breather to take in the views as we ascend out of the canyon

Covid tests, Caleb and Maddy got married, and Russell came to visit

One late October afternoon part of my mouth suddenly felt numb and I couldn't taste anything on half of my tongue. That night I proceeded to have a low grade fever, which prompted Elna and I to get tested for the virus. Our results came back negative a couple days later but my mouth still felt numb so we went to the urgent care. Turns out I likely had some minor form of Bell's Palsy, a mostly harmless disease that can cause half of your face to become weak or go numb. A week of steroids and everything was back to normal!

In the midst of all this, our good friends Caleb and Maddy had a lowkey wedding ceremony with close family, even surprising Maddy's grandparents who thought they were just going to a meet and greet with Caleb's family! With negative covid test results in hand, Elna and I attended a small celebration with them and Russell made it over in time to come with us. We spent the rest of the weekend with Russell before he continued on his journey in his van out west.

An effigy of Scout as Elna and I's patronus
Scout, thinking she's a lap dog hanging out with Russell
Russell thinking he's the king of the Greenbelt

Wedding postponement, but engagement photos coming soon!

We made the difficult decision a few weeks back to postpone our wedding, originally scheduled for August 2021. With all the uncertainty around whether there will be a widely available vaccine by then, Idaho having an uncontrolled spread of the virus, and the number of people who are important to us who we want to include in the wedding we didn't feel comfortable sending out invites and having everyone book lodging just yet. There's no new date, but we will decide on a new date by summer of next year. Anticipate a date in the late summer or fall of 2022.

However, we are still retaining our photographer and have an engagement shoot this afternoon! Stay tuned for pics!