Archive for the ‘jarbidge nevada’ Category


He was born in Buhl, Idaho, on May 27, 2007. He died in his backyard in Oregon City, Oregon, on September 1, 2017. The dash between those dates contains a full life, a lot of heart, and many friendships.

He came to live with his family in August of 2007, when the Jarbidge country south of the Idaho border was going up in flames. The fire was known as the Murphy fire, for Murphy Hot Springs. Between the fire and the funny blaze on his forehead, Murphy had a crafted AKC registered name, but he was only known as Murphy or Murph. He also answered to “Dammit!” and “Stop it!”

Murphy was always the darling of his human father: they learned how to hunt upland game birds together, they hiked, they did trail work, they camped out. No dog has ever been as excited to see the orange shock collar than Murphy: it meant only one thing: an adventure somewhere! He loved to hunt Chukar in the Steens Mountains.

Murphy had a checkered history with his human mother, from the moment he rode home in her lap and ate her hairbrush. He ate her glasses in a show of affection one night. He didn’t understand hierarchy, and had to learn that he was Number 3, after Mom. Mom frequently referred to him as “Dammit!”, “Getoutoftheway!”, or “Stopit!” Murphy was always excited to see her, and could sometimes coax her to play “stick” with him, a sort of fetch game he made up himself (“Catch me if you can! combined with Okay, now you have to throw it!”).

In June of 2010, Murphy helped adopt his little brother, Harvey. They were instant packmates: Murphy, the Alpha, and Harvey, the lackadaisacal. They had few disagreements, and only one spat: gravy. When it came to gravy, Harvey was the Alpha and Murphy walked away with blood on his ears. Murphy tried his best to teach Harvey how to play, and even succeeded to a small degree. The week before Murphy came down ill, he tried to get Harvey to play, but the Harvemeister has lost all energy for such trivial pursuits.

It was expected that Harvey would be put down long before Murphy would. The sudden onset of congestive heart failure in Murphy stunned everyone. There were no classic warning signs: Harvey has the signs, but no enlarged heart and no arrythmia. Murphy went from a dog with an acute sense of humor to collapse within the span of seven days.

In his lifetime, Murphy made his first retrieve in the same spot he would later die.


He discovered snow, pools of water, and the freedom of the wide open spaces. His first emergency room trip was due to anaphylactic shock after running into a nest of yellowjackets while hiking: he forever held a grudge against all bees, wasps, and hornets. He loved beer, and would sing for it. He considered it an honor to sleep on top of someone, preferably a human (Harvey was something of a grouch about that). He ate tissues and paper towels, sticks in the yard, and probably something poisonous at least once. He was ever on guard against cats, rats, moles, gophers, crows, tweety-birds, people walking on the street past the house, and anyone not watching their plate of food at a camp-out. He loved to roll in smelly things, but he learned to draw the line at skunks – but only after the third bath in hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and tomato sauce.

He adored Charles (his human dad’s hiking buddy), Chrystal’s various boyfriends and eventual husband, his human grandchildren, and anyone’s crotch. Yes, sorry, that had to be said. he adored crotch-sniffing. That may be when his mom called him “STOPIT!”


In his youth, he joined Trail Advocates with his human dad. They spent hours with Charles, locating and documenting hundreds of old CCC trails, USFS trails, and Native American trails throughout the northern Cascades. Murphy was a better “bird dog” for finding trails than any human (possibly because he was lower to the ground and could go under rhododendrons). He will be sorely missed by his comrades.

He made his last trip to the Doggy ER on August 31st. The attending veterinarian gave him a choice: die now, or have an EKG in the morning to see how damaged his heart was. Murphy declined both, indicating his preference to die outside, in the open, with family. Murphy collapsed during the night, and his human dad spent the night with him in the same spot he once made his first retrieve.

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A wake was held on the morning of September first. Attending were: his human dad (Donald), his human mom (Jaci), his little brother (Harvey, who now outweighed him by ten pounds), and two rufous-sided hummingbirds. The hummingbirds were especially curious and close.

Murphy is mourned by many. The outpouring of love on Facebook, Instagram, and by email has been overwhelming for his family. The hummingbirds don’t know what to make of their new-found freedom at the feeders. Murphy’s hiking buddy, Charles, wept openly on the phone when he heard the news. Only Harvey seems unaffected by the loss, and that is possibly due to the fact that he is a dog and self-centered. He does know he hasn’t been challenged for a dog biscuit in three days and that noone has bugged him to try to play recently.

The Presleys have actively avoided being home for the weekend, so they didn’t have to face the empty house and quiet backyard. The crows tried to entice a fight with Harvey, but left disappointed. The honey bees, bumble bees, and wasps have gone on doing their thing, unaware of how close they came to annihilation during Murphy’s lifetime.

Guests may now enter the Presley home without a TSA-level crotch sniffing.

Murphy has been cremated and his ashes spread to whatever wind. The veterinarian who made the house call announced after doing a heart check, “There’s no one in there now” and “he’s off chasing chukar in the Steens now.” There’s no better epitaph than that.

Thank you to all who supported us during this time. We know Hurricane Harvey (so mis-named as Harvey is in no way a hurricane nor a storm) and the threat of wildfires, Hurricane Irma, and North Korea are considerably more than the loss of a dog. But a dog is everything. Anyone who has been privileged to be loved by a dog so loyal knows.

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
Dean Koontz

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
Will Rogers (actor, Connecticut Yankee [VHS]

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
Gilda Radner (comedienne)

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)

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We’re getting ready to leave for nine wonderful days of camping. I’ve arranged for the housesitter already and the list of things to take is getting short as we cross off things.

I’m excited for several reasons. the first being: I really need the time off and camping really clears my mind and settles my spirit. The second being: we’re picking up The Dog. And the third being: we might actually drop down into Jarbidge, NV. Don was perusing hot springs we might go to on our way to pick up Fido in Filer, and he saw Murphy Hot Springs. Well, I just happen to know that place well – or I did some thirty plus years ago. It’s just a hop from there to Jarbidge.

I grew up in Jarbidge. That’s not a claim many can make. In 1957 my dad was assigned to the Humboldt National Forest, destination Mahoney Ranger Station (that’s a long O sound). We also stayed at Pole Creek (say crick, not creeeek) RS. In 1959, my little sister was born in Elko, NV, but they printed Jarbidge on her birth certificate. I have vivid memories of Jarbidge and we visited for years after we moved away. I think the last time I was there was in 1970. My dad still owns property there.

My brother and I ran away in Jarbidge. I was actually the unwilling partner, just a toddler sitting in the little red wagon as he huffed and pulled us away from Mahoney. He was mad at my mom and told her we were going to go live with someone else. So she followed us at a respectful distance in the car, eventually going on ahead to wait for us to arrive in town. Me, I was terrified. I sat in that little red wagon and I could hear bells in the aspens and all I had to hold was Teddy. My brother assured me the bells were just the bells on the cows a local owned. I knew he was right, but it scared me anyway.

We kept in touch with neighbors with a crank phone. My mom would crank it a couple times and then talk to the operator. After they finished gossiping, she’d be put through to her party. Yes, I am that old.

I was terrified of the Ranger’s office at Mahoney. I just knew bears lived under it (my dad worked for Smokey the Bear, after all). I should have been more afraid of the rattlesnakes, but I honestly never saw one. Everyone else watched me walk blithely past a few while we lived there, but I never saw them. Our dog killed a few (and rubber boas and bull snakes), but I never saw a live one. I was also terrified of the inside of the barn at Mahoney: my dad kept traps set there and once my brother and I sneaked in and I saw a packrat in the trap. It was far from dead and pretty ticked off (not nearly as mad as my dad was when he found out we’d been in the barn, but at least he didn’t use the .22 on us. Only the packrat).

I was never afraid of the remuda. I remember looking up through the legs and tails of horses into the surprised and suddenly fearful eyes of some hand tossing hay from the loft into the corral. I was probably 2 at the time and I just wanted to be a horse. I never did it again, so I probably got a whalloping.

Pole Creek was another special place. My brother ran into a moose on the trail once (he was just as surprised as the moose and both went the other way rather speedily). We had horses there, too, and my dad’s favorite mustang mount, Smokey. But it was special for more than that. Every summer we’d visit Jarbidge and the surrounding areas and this particular summer when I was 11, there was a reunion of sorts at Pole Creek. One of the rangers got out the horses and started giving kids rides. Of course, I was thrilled. And I stood in line, waiting my turn. But when my turn came, he declared the horses were tired and the fun was over, and I was the only little girl left out. My sister even got a ride!

While the other little girls followed the horses to the other side of the pasture to continue the fun (smart horses: they booked for the far side as soon as they were free). They stood and hand fed the horses and giggled little girl giggles.

Me? I was steamed. I knew it meant more to me to be able to ride than it did to any one of the other little girls (selfish creature that I was), and I felt it highly unfair to decide right before my turn that the horses were “tired.” More likely the dad was tired.

I followed a footpath that led between sites at Pole Creek, losing myself in the aspens and the lighting. I could hear the revelers below and I knew where the other girls had gone, but I was alone in the woods. Then I heard other voices coming down the path. Deciding I did not wish to speak to anyone or to be observed, I slipped off the path into the woody seclusion of the aspens. There, in the filtered light, I could watch people walk by, but they would likely not see me.

And there he was. A big mule deer buck, standing still in the mottled shadows, head up and ears forward, watching me. I froze and stared into his deep eyes. He was taller than I was (I was pretty small at age 11). Probably a three or four point buck, I wasn’t counting. I was only noticing how close we were and the way his sides moved in and out with his breath.

Then he took two steps back into the underbrush and disappeared. It was as if I was watching a magic show and the magician made the lady disappear: the buck vanished into thin air. I blinked. He couldn’t have simply vanished! I let out the air I’d been holding in my lungs and slipped forward to see if there was a track. There was: I had not imagined him.

While my sister regaled about hand feeding the horses that night, I had a better story: I had the encounter with a buck, just feet from me, and just a few more feet from the path. I like to believe he came, just for me.

I don’t know how I can relate all these emotions surrounding Jarbidge to my husband, but I so want to go there. I don’t expect it to be the same. George and Youra are dead, the Murphys have moved on, and the SLOW CHILDREN sign is probably long gone as is the Rocket (a pile of junk on the south end of town), but the memories hover and echo in the ruins of the mining camp. I can hear the clink of chain against a pole at the old abandoned school yard and smell the gas fumes mixed with oil at George’s garage. Butterflies gather around the mud puddles on the street and june bugs rub their legs together to create a raucous noise. As night falls, the bats swoop down.

And somewhere in those mountains, the giant Tshawhawbitts is buried in a cave. Wonder if he was a Bigfoot?

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