As stated before, over the summer of 2009 my girlfriend Sarah and I rode our bicycles from Grand Rapids, MI to Portland, OR via the Transamerica Trail. During this trip, we rode through Northern Idaho, which unbeknownst to me is one of the most beautiful, remote places in America. We rode alongside the Lochsa River coming down off Lolo Pass, and into the Bitterroot Wilderness. We didn’t see a gas station for days, and in the thick of it met a man named Stacey who has been living off his bike for years (by choice), drinking water from these same rivers, fishing for his meals, sleeping on BLM land, and drifting where the fair weather does. We stopped at a small stand of cabins, and camped one night at the adjacent National Forest Campground. The cabins were packed, teaming with excited white water rafters and guides, the Lochsa roaring just across the road. In the morning we grabbed breakfast at the mess hall, and I bought this book in the lobby.
The Ridgerunner: Elusive Loner of the Wilderness by Richard Ripley:
“During the early 1940s in Idaho’s expansive Selway-Bitterroot wilderness, a few items disappeared from a tent camp, a lookout tower, and a ranger station. Eventually, the continuing loss of food and supplies at such isolated sites confirmed the presence of a mysterious solitary. For years no one saw him, even though he entered Forest Service quarters while employees slept. In the winter, when he did leave tracks, they were found on the most inhospitable ridges and earned him the regard of locals who appreciated the cost of survival under such circumstances. Once apprehended, the Ridgerunner proved to be both witty and ornery – a man who said he simply wanted “to live like a coyote,” and who was so woodswise and contentious that he vexed the government and a major timber company for the next 20 years.”
I’m just about to read this book for the fourth time. Grab it.
Photo: Moreland (The Ridgerunner) raising the flag in front of his shelter at Milk Creek.