Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Driggs, Idaho Summer '07: Heat, Smoke and Fun

Ironically, in a town known for snow and cold, my first blog entry is about the heat. And smoke. Fires burning to the west (Ketchum) and south of Teton Valley have frequently cloaked the valley in a veil of smoke this summer. It hasn't slowed down our daily quest for adventure, but it has certainly tempered the usually brilliant blue days of summer. So, while much of the year is spent wishing for warmer temperatures, we found ourselves praying for snow in July...and still hoping for relief now as we enter September.

Regarding the quest for adventure: it's been stellar, as always around here. Yes, winter brings great snow for skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and even snow biking (more on that this winter). But, after 12 years in the valley, I can tell you that summer is where it's at. There's no place on the planet I'd rather be from June-September, with no end to the outdoor options. This week alone, between my wife, myself and a few friends, the activities have included horseback riding, mountain biking, golfing, fishing, hiking, boating, floating, softball, bar-b-queing and swimming. The outings are epic, along clear streams, in quiet forests, with endless payoff vistas. Makes it difficult to stop playing and go to work.

Driggs is booming (much more on that as time goes on), but the trails are still relatively empty. Just a few minutes from the pavement and you're alone with your thoughts, the breeze and the ever-present Tetons. As the valley continues to develop at a stunning rate, I will chronicle some of the issues this growth entails. A short time ago this was rural America; hay, barley and potato fields filled the valley and lent a pure feel to life. Evenings were spent watching the sun set over the Big Hole mountains to the west, as sprinklers worked their magic on farmers' fields across the valley. But, that scene is quickly giving way to golf course developments, condominiums, expanding gravel pits and even traffic. The growing pains become more acute by the week, and our planning & zoning committee, county commissioners and city councils are faced with the nearly impossible task of managing this explosion. Hopefully, it won't become an implosion.

So, we go about our days making a more and more conscious effort to remember why we moved here: the mountains, the snow, the trails, the adventure, the like-minded friends...and last but not least, the authentic old-time ranchers, farmers and cowboys. We'll enjoy it all while it lasts, 'cause they just don't make people or places like this anymore.

Now, back to praying for snow...


Lisa said...

Hey Rick,
I love this-way to go!! Your photos are beautiful, and your writing is equally beautiful!! Youa are such a gifted writer! I'm excited for you to have this.
Love, Lisa

Rick LaBelle said...

Thanks, sis! You can live a little Driggs each day this way ;-) Cheers, - Rick