NOVEMBER – HOLIDAY THEMED
ANTHOLOGIES/STORIES


11-25 Australian Author - Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, July 6, 2015

Finding Story Everywhere by Paty Jager

On my birthday a week ago, my hubby woke up and asked, "What do you want to do today? Once I check on the pivots we can take off and do whatever you want."

I suggested heading to Nampa, ID for a movie and dinner. He didn't look to thrilled. Then I suggested we have lunch at my favorite cafe in the area, Narrows, and drive the scenic loop over the Steens Mountains. I'd only been to the top once and we hadn't taken the loop. We'd just drove up to the highest point and turned around and went back down. Hubby liked my idea.

Narrows restaurant on hwy 205
We headed out about 10:30 and arrived at Narrows a little after eleven. It is only 17 miles from our place to Narrows, however, all but five miles is gravel and lots of critters and sights along the way to keep us at a slow pace to see everything. There were antelope with fawns, horses with foals, and cows with calves. Not to mention hubby scrutinizing everyone's fields and crops. ;)

We left Narrows after a wonderful lunch and a chocolate ice cream cone (my birthday cake) at noon and headed to the Steens turn off. As we meandered our way up the north side, wandering in and out of all the campgrounds and lakes, the scenery changes.  We went from desert plants to Quaking aspen trees and wildflowers. The higher we meandered we encountered more flowers and less trees. Until at the summit of 9500 feet we were in alpine terrain.

Looking down into the deep gorges it was breathtaking. Hubby doesn't like heights and kept asking me to step back away from the edge. But the best photos were from close to the edge to show the sheer drops down to the gorges and valleys below.

Kiger Gorge
Staring down into Kiger Gorge I could imagine the Kiger mustangs hanging out in the lush grasses and under the aspen trees, breeding and growing the herd until they were discovered. To learn more about this check out my post on Cowboy Kisses on July 20th. ;)  I could also imagine a strong-willed woman trying to keep the mustangs from extinction as the army and people who sold animals to the army started rounding up the sure-footed horses with stamina. Yes, a historical western story came to me as I stared down into that lush gorge.

The top with patches of snow
We continued on up to the peak. The 9500 ft alpine level. On one side of the road was Little Blitzen canyon, a drop of a couple thousand feet to the floor of the canyon. Groves of aspen trees dotted the terrain as well as jumbles of rocks. On the other side of the road was the sheer thousands of feet drop down to the floor of the Alvord desert.  We'd ventured along the road on that side of the mountains a couple weeks before. Taking the grandkids out to explore Alvord desert with it's cracked surface and winds. Before the desert I'd noticed a canyon that snaked up the mountains. At the base of the trees and what looked like a stream sat a building. In my mind it was a homestead.  Standing on the top of the Steens Mountains looking down that canyon and spying the same building another story idea hit. This time one with a strong woman with two kids, trying to keep the homestead she and her husband built for a legacy for their children. Rustlers were stealing her cattle and she didn't trust anyone in the area. Her only hope is a marriage of convenience to save the homestead for her kids.

Looking down the canyon toward Alvord Desert
We continue on down the south side of the Steens. Hubby was impressed with how well the road was maintained. He'd heard rumors it wasn't a very good road. While trekking down this side we encountered even more wildflowers. The paint brush flowers stood taller than the sagebrush making an colorful splash among the dull green sage. We also discovered another canyon that looked worthy of a trail ride some day and an equestrian campground with corrals. I sent an email to my daughter saying we would need to check this out the next time she's down.

Wildflowers on the south side.
I have lots of research to do now that I've found two locations and the main characters have settled firmly in my mind. I need to look up the homestead information for this area, the army and horse buyers, where the closest towns with good supplies would be and much much more so I can start writing the stories that are now brewing in my brain and waiting to get out. This was definitely one of my best birthdays ever. And I owe it all to my hubby who is patient while I take a million photos and stand staring into a canyon conjuring up new people in my head.

www.patyjager.net
Writing into the Sunset  

9 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

What a wonderful birthday! a day to do as you wish - with an added bonus of more stories to tell. And spending it with someone you love and who loves you back makes an even more special day in my story-telling mind.

Looking forward to reading these stories!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Judith,
It was a really good day. Saw beautiful things and had a fun time. I agree nothing better than a day spent with someone you love and you both enjoying every minute of it.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Beautiful scenery, story ideas, and a devoted hubby too--glad you had such an awesome birthday! :-)

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Lynn! It was a fun day. Now I have to find the time to write the stories!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Lynn! It was a fun day. Now I have to find the time to write the stories!

Diana McCollum said...

Oh, Paty, what a lovely, lovely birthday! Happy late birthday! Isn't it great when ideas for stories show up like that? Thanks for sharing those awesome pictures.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Diana!
It was a lovely birthday! You're welcome for the photos. I took a ton!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Your post and photos allowed me to enjoy this trip too! Glad you had such a wonderful day!

Paty Jager said...

HI Genene! I'm glad you took the trip too. Thank you!