I was born and raised in Idaho. The sagebrush, winding through the outcroppings and lava flows, were my playground in Shoshone, Idaho. A great bit of my time is now spent in the Owyhee’s on horseback, when I’m not in the Valley, and it reminds me of a more beautiful version of that sagebrush country.

I have always been a “Native” Idahoan and proud of it. By chance, someone sent me a ticket to Hawaii, as life has been a bit of a challenge for me these past 3 years.

“How did you like paradise?” I was asked when I returned. It was beautiful and I never grew tired of looking at the light blue color of an ocean I had only dreamed of. Watching sea turtles crawl onto a beach to lay eggs was a once in a lifetime experience, and the slow pace and carefree lifestyle was wonderful.

However, I found myself missing the rugged, brown mountains and hills of Idaho sheep and cow country where green sagebrush and scattered trees offer a refuge for the eyes. Then I made my way around the Big Island, and suddenly parts of it did look like Idaho as lush green foliage gave way to smoother ground and the jugged lava disappeared into grass-covered cinder. Cattle appeared and later on, sheep.

The other thing that reminded me of just how much I love Idaho — my friends. I’m older now, and my friends are my family—we have bravely, and sometimes not so bravely, seen one another through funerals, a recession with job losses, birthdays, anniversaries, and other successes.

We all pitch in when someone needs help; it’s what we call the Western Way of Life. I’m glad to be back home.

Cattle in HawaiiSheep in HawaiiSea Turtle in Hawaii

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