It's Hard to Believe . . .

by Jim Peck

Jim freezing on a mountain out of Stanley, Idaho

Hard to believe this show is so old. 25 years.

Let's see . . . 25 years ago it was . . . 1983. Wow. That seems like yesterday. And that just means I'm the old one.

1983 was a good year and I remember it well. In 1983 I was living in Los Angeles and still in high school. Back in 1983 I would have been a lot more likely to do all the things I'm doing now, working on Outdoor Idaho. But back then I was more interested in fast cars and girls than I was in camping, backpacking, sleeping in the dirt, getting rained on, freezing on top of a mountain, eating freeze-dried something in a foil pouch . . . yeah, things were different in 1983.

That's definitely one of the things that working on OI does for you; it keeps you young. I mean, just look at Reichert.

Wait, maybe that's not a good idea.

Alberto Moreno, Jim Peck and photographer Mark Lisk at Elephants Perch in the Sawtooths

Just look at how much energy this show has after 25 years. Much more than I do on a given day. It actually has the spark and spirit of, well, a 25-year-old!

For the 25th Anniversary program I put together a little video piece with some of the interesting things I've done during my time on OI. When I watched it when it was finished, I realized how much fun I actually have doing this show every year.

I have always loved being out in the field and this show gets me WAY out in the field. In fact, I have been in more darn fields during the past seven years than ever before in my life.

And more woods and deserts and rivers.

>Director Alberto Moreno and Jim Peck wading in Swan Valley, Idaho

One of the things I really have to watch out for is what I call "place dropping." It's like name dropping, but with geography. I'll find myself in a bar in someplace like Yaak, Montana (because there is almost nothing else in Yaak, Montana) and I'll hear myself telling some local about the time I spent a frigid/boiling/sopping wet/starving night in Elk, Idaho.

I have to stop myself because if I don't, we'll start trying to top each other. And in places like Yaak, Montana, that can end up coming to blows. People in places like Yaak and Elk and Panther Creek (say "crick") and lots of other places like to think they're the only folks out there who know the small spots on the map, or even off the map. And I have to remember that they don't like to be one-upped by some punk who just might be from California.

But I do enjoy the fact I have spent some wonderful/horrendous times in many far-flung spots. I just have to not try sneaking them all into conversation.

I really could go on and on about all the places, people and experiences that have fallen into the lap of my life since working on Outdoor Idaho, but I won't.

If you watch the show you'll know about them anyway. And you'd just end up telling me about all the places you've been. And pretty soon it would come to blows.

So just enjoy the show and forget I ever even mentioned Yaak, Montana. Or Elk, Idaho. Or Panther Creek (crick). Or this one time, during a snow storm, when I was way up in the Lemhi . . .