Idaho on the weekend

by justin on March 4, 2013

in Writing

Snowmobiling in Island Park, Idaho

It was just getting dark by the time Gheen and I reached Rexburg, and Christian was all packed up and ready to go. We drove to to the grocery store and bought food for the weekend: pancake mix, bagels, pork chops, carrots, eggs, sausage and a cucumber for a healthy snack.

The little town of St. Anthony is on the way to the cabin, so we decided to stop at Chiz’s for dinner. It was Friday night and packed, but it only takes 20 people for it to be packed. Still, this little diner is crowded nearly every night. We waited a few minutes before we could sit at the counter. Everyone sits at the counter. There aren’t any tables. Inside, the place hasn’t changed in 30 years. It looks like the sort of restaurant that would sell chicken strips and fruit cocktail from a can. Instead, they serve delicious steaks, shrimp, and Chinese food.

It’s not my cabin, but I’ve got some stories here. Like the very first time I visited. It was built in 1985 and the next year, Christian asked us if we wanted to go up there and watch some movies. The road to the cabin wasn’t finished and there wasn’t a TV or VCR up there, so, in the dark, we hiked about 1/3 of a mile from the main road, taking turns carrying a giant TV and some movies. We also carried a giant jug of water. At that time, the water wasn’t hooked up, either. Also, the place hadn’t been carpeted yet. I remember my brother Jeremy was with us and our friend Chris Hancey.

Ten years later my brother got married. I told his new sister-in-law we were going to a cabin for the night. I asked her if she wanted to come with us. She did, and I don’t remember much of that trip, other than I was surprised she said yes, and the next day we ran out of gas while a bunch of us were piled into Christian’s Land Cruiser doing some exploring around the area. While Christian walked back to the cabin for a gas can, that gave me some time to try and charm this girl that later, and temporarily, broke my heart.

Another time, another girl–a few of us came to the cabin in the winter. Christian and the others wanted to take the snowmobiles down to Island Park. I wanted to stay back. So did the girl I was with. So while everyone was away, we kissed a little, then I wanted to take a nap. She wanted to watch TV. I woke up an hour later and the TV was fuzzy and she was sitting there changing channel after channel. She said she couldn’t figure out how to get that TV to work. That had been going on for a full hour. That there, if you ask me, is a girl that’s determined to watch some TV.

A couple years ago, Gheen, Christian, and I all came up for what we called a work retreat. We all had long to-do lists we needed to tackle, so we came to the cabin to block out distractions like the internet and phone calls. We also came to snowmobile. And eat good food. It worked, mostly. We got up, did our work, then went for long rides on the snowmobiles in the afternoon. Worked more. Ate a good dinner. At night, we watched movies.

We all agreed it was time for another trip. So here I am again. I’m writing, Gheen’s working, and I don’t know what Christian’s doing. He’s still upstairs. We’ll eat breakfast soon, work some, then maybe take the snowmobiles to Sheep Falls, or Warm River, or Bear Gulch, or Jackass Loop. It doesn’t matter where. Getting out is the goal, not the place we go.

It’s been 27 years since the first time I came up here. It’s good to be back. It’s good to get away. It’s good to stay friends with someone for that long.

Idaho landscape photography

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Steurer March 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I love to read your entries, Justin. I want to read more of them. You transported me right to the cabin (the photos really compliment the writing). You have a wonderful way with words and storytelling, much like Garrison Keillor. I hope you’ll share more writing with all of us.


justin March 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Thank you, Geoff. That’s very kind of you to say. I hope to write more, too.


Loni March 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Justin, I totallly agree with Geoff; you are a masterful writer….Want to quit your day job and be a writer? Well, actually, both crafts blend so well together, but you definitely should write more.

Have fun, and enjoy that cabin. I spent some time there once. We were there in the early spring and there were a lot of wasps stirring about. It brings back fond memories of the cabin, but even more, the marvelous family who owns it!


Joy March 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Oh, I love this post. It feels cozy, as I imagine the cabin to be. I love all the memories you’ve created there. Beautifully told.


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