Backcountry Books

NEW 03-24-04

This page will contain a review of some of the books in the Base Camp Library.  Information and/or links are provided for folks wishing to enrich their libraries.

Some Links for now…..

Click here: For a link to Lafe and Emma Cox's book:
Idaho Mountains, Our Home

Click here: To see a great book review about Lafe and Emma Cox's book.

Click here: for a link to the book about Deadshot Reed.

More to come...

Yellow Pine Cooks!  In The Heart of The Idaho Back Country
Published and Printed by Fundcraft Publishing PO Box 340 Collierville, TN 38027 - price $8
A cook book by the people of Yellow Pine - inspired by the Yellow Pine Enhancement Society  - Y.E.S. to benefit the community.  Currently this book is out of print, and no more copies are available.  If enough interest is expressed, Y.E.S. may have more copies printed.
This is a unique cook book - with good basic recipes, a sprinkling of local history, humor, and art thrown in.

       Chappy's Tuna Gravy
2 Tbsp. Margarine (more or less)
2 Tbsp. Flour (more or less)
1 can tuna fish
   Brown flour in margarine, stirring with a fork.  Add enough milk to make a gravy of desired thickness.  Add can of tuna fish.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over toast.
Larry [Mayor Chappy] Chapman

Yellow Pine Kids Cook Too!
                 Grilled Cheese
   Take a piece of bread and put butter on it, 1 slice on one side and one on the other.  Put on 1 slice of cheese and 1 more bread.  Cook on a grill at 3 for 1 minutes.  Then get it in your stomach.
Jason Waller - 1st Grade, 1980

Photos from "Idaho Mountains Our Home" by Lafe and Emma Cox - Copyright 1977 by V.O. Ranch Books

Webpage dedicated to Emma Cox - in memory of Lafe Cox

Life in Idaho's Backcountry IDAHO MOUNTAINS Our Home  The Life Story of Lafe and Emma Cox
This book is a "MUST READ" - An accurate historical account of life in the backcountry written by and about the pioneers who lived it!

Read some of the excerpts below (and on other pages) to learn what it was like to be a "modern" pioneer:
                        ~                  ~                        ~                  ~                        ~                  ~
"That first summer of 1944, we had thirty Idaho Power Company employees to serve meals for, while they finished constructing the power line from Emmett to Stibnite.  Lafe had a crew of six men putting in a telephone line away from the power line to cut out the noise on the line."
"I did a lot baking on the wood range each day.  I usually baked eight to ten loaves of bread, a lot of hot rolls (around 120 to 125 for each dinner), and for the desserts I baked six pies for the dinners and a sheet cake for the lunches.  I was glad the men took lunches, as it seemed I was baking all day.  The main thing was never to let the fire go out, but if wasn't long until I know how much of a fire should be in the fire box to heat the top of the stove and keep the oven at a certain temperature.
"Before the electricity we used lanterns and lamps for lights.  After a few years we installed a gas Kohler plant for lights only.  He had to shut it off each night after everyone had gone to bed.  So you know who was the last to bed.
"We had no refrigeration, with the exception of ice buried in sawdust.  In the winters, another important chore -- besides cutting wood and feeding cattle and horses -- was cutting and storing ice.
"We cut ice under our bridge and loaded the blocks on a sleigh pulled by the team, just as Clark had done.  The blocks would be sixteen to twenty inches thick.  They weighted 90 to 100 pounds.  We had an "ice house" of sawdust on the back of our cellar as a storage house for the blocks.  Some of the ice would keep until early fall.  We buried all our meats and some other food in the sawdust.  We used large tongs to handle the ice."
Pg. 124-125 "Idaho Mountains Our Home" by Lafe and Emma Cox - Copyright 1977 by V.O. Ranch Books
                        ~                  ~                        ~                  ~                        ~                  ~
I hope this whets your whistle for more of their wonderful stories.
This book is available at the Yellow Pine General Store. 
You can also go to the VO Ranch website by clicking here. 
To read a review about this book, click here. 
This next link should take you to a story about the Cox family in the Idaho Statesman archive, click here. 

"The Idaho Rambler" by Betty Derig and Flo Sharp

Excerpted from "The Idaho Rambler" Copyright March, 1982 by Betty Derig and Flo Sharp
ISBN 0-9609754 Printed in the USA by Lithocraft Inc. Boise, Idaho

"Four miles from Yellow Pine a road marked "Stibnite 9, Monumental Summit 14," leads up to the old mining camps of the Thunder Mountain District.  These mountains produced Idaho's last great mining excitement and the story reads like fiction.

"In the summer of 1896 the four Caswell brothers (Dan, Lou, Ben and Cort) prospected up Monumental Creek.  After a while they decided that their luck was down and decided to pull out as soon as they tracked a stay mule.  The prodigal led them along an unnamed creek where they found fabulous outcroppings of core.  They called it the Golden Reef.  An appropriate name because it turned out even better then the goose that laid the golden eggs.  Every spring they took out a water bucket full of nuggets.

"In the meantime other prospectors came to stake claims and in 1900 Colonel Wm. Dewey, of Nampa and Silver City, bought the Golden Reef for $100,000 and renamed it the Dewey Mine.  A picture of the check made out to the Caswell brothers was printed in the Idaho Statesman and prospectors rushed to Thunder Mountain like it was the fabled El Dorado.

"They swarmed in from all directions to make a fortune in this wild and rugged Salmon River country that even today is know as the Primitive Area.  They came afoot, horseback, muleback, with endless packtrains struggling up one side of Monumental Summit and down the other.  A good many of them camped at the base of the summit where Mule Creek meets the crashing waters of Monumental.  Here the lively settlement of Roosevelt grew.  It was a typical mining town, rowdy with gambling and saloons and high-priced flour.  Food prices soared and men made good money packing flour in at $30 a sack over the 6 miles between Warren and Thunder Mountain.

"Most of the rich ore came in ledges rather than in simple placers, a kind of mining that required large sums of money for heavy machinery.  Every nut and bolt had to be packed in on the backs of mules.  Colonel Dewey bought in a successful ten-stamp mill and most of the $350,000 taken from the region came from his mine.

"By 1907 most of the inhabitants had drifted away and two years later, the whole town of Roosevelt disappeared.  A landslide slithered down the mountainside, dammed the waters of Mule Creek and gradually drowned the town with Lake Roosevelt.

"Later on, settlers traveled to the lake to "fish."  This meant building a raft and poling out on the water to hook a pot, pan or other useful item.  Adelia Routson Parke remembered that the large and cherished mirror on their Salmon River ranch was fished from the lake.

"Discovery of gold at Stibnite came with the Thunder Mountain Rush of 1902, but the town took its name from an ore called antimony.

"Remote and overshadowed by Roosevelt and Thunder City, Stibnite got a slow start.  The Bradley Company developed open pit mines here after 1927 and took out enough gold and antimony to stay in business.  However, the real boom came during World War II when the pinch was on for strategic minerals.

"The U.S. Bureau of Mines sent in drillers who found much-needed mercury and tungsten.  Subsequently a boom town grew in the wilderness as Stibnite because the leading Tungsten producer in the United States and runner up in the production of mercury.

"Today the old town is a heap of crumbling buildings, rusting machinery and ghosts of days past.  However, alongside these old scars changes are taking place.  The town was recently reborn when the Superior Mining Company sent in 60 workers to build an open pit gold mine.  They expect the ore deposits to last about ten years.  The waste from the new mine as well as some of the old eyesores will be covered up with soil and planted to grass…."

More books coming soon!