Behind the Stories

Idaho, the Adventure State

By Bruce Reichert
February 11, 2014

“Adventure Idaho” airs March 6th at 8 p.m.

The online publication “Adventure Journal“ conducted a poll last year, and hands down voted Idaho the best state for adventure. And that's the premise of our hour long show, that the Potato State really could be called the Adventure State.

Getting camera gear down the canyon [Credit: Tim Tower]Dozens of books have been written on all the amazing adventures that have transpired in Idaho. Trouble is, still photos – when available – only go so far in the TV world.

So we knew we had to tag along on some new adventures with our TV cameras. We also asked our Facebook friends to supply us with their GoPro footage; and we searched the archives for our own adventure footage.

Erik Ryan Rappelling down a waterfall in Poison Creek.



We also interviewed folks like Cort Conley and Jo Deurbrouck, two Idaho writers who have tackled the adventure genre in their work. They helped us explore some of the state's ‘big ticket’ adventures – like Lewis & Clark and some of the famous boatmen on the Salmon River.

Two ‘big ticket’ adventures would have to be those of Edith Clegg in 1939 and Mike O’Brien in 2012. Clegg was a widow and socialite who decided, when almost 60 years old, that her adventure would be to travel cross-country, from the Columbia River to the Hudson River, via a water route. Just going upstream in Hells Canyon in 14 foot boats with 9 horsepower motors took them a month; and her chief boatman nearly drowned in one of the rapids.

Mike O'Brien plans another hike around entire state of Idaho

In 2012 Mike O‘Brien circumnavigated the state of Idaho, a journey of 2,500 miles; and he did it in about 100 days. “About 100 miles of that was me walking in circles trying to find out where I was going,“ said O’Brien; “so if I was to do it again, it would only be 2,400 miles.“ Can you believe he's going to do it again, in 2014, at the age of 70? Simply amazing!

Snow shoeing to summit of Vienna Peak in Sawtooth National Recreation AreaOne thing we discovered is that today's weekend adventurers use the internet to connect with like-minded folks. We joined two recent adventures, and both trips were planned online in about a day. One required a rappel down a 60 foot cliff to get to the Bruneau River. The other, on Super Bowl Sunday, took us into Poison Creek canyon to rappel down a waterfall. Many of these adventure types came to know each other via “Idaho Outdoors,” a Yahoo page that now boasts about 1,800 members.

Our hour-long “Adventure Idaho“ program will also profile two Wood River Valley characters. Ernest Hemingway needs no introduction. And Dick Dorworth is a well known skier, now in his 70's, who once held the world ski speed record.

We'll also feature Idaho's Search & Rescue team, the ones who volunteer to help the unlucky souls whose adventures go south on them.

And here's something we've never done before: we asked our Outdoor Idaho Facebook friends to send us their best adventure footage. And with the help of the musical group Hillfolk Noir, we created a montage of GoPro footage using the song “Don't Fence Me In.” It's a real treat.

This show seems – even to those of us feverishly working on it – to be a real potpourri of stories and ideas. But maybe that can't be helped, ‘cuz these days adventure in Idaho is all over the map.


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