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Marie Smith
Lowell, Syringa

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Lowell / Syringa News: It’s been a rough winter upriver

Lowell Syringa News is back. Ace reporter, me, Marie Smith, has picked up her iPod, to report the comings and goings from Idaho County’s least populated communities. The winter has been rough, with rain, wind, snow, ice and dark of night. We had ice chunks floating down the Lochsa for eight hours last Friday. The river was up at least three feet. Our Internet has been out, our TV satellite dishes covered with snow over ice, and we are restless. Highway 12 has snow floor in spots and threats of avalanches with snow melting. The traffic passes slowly this time of year, and we depend on ITD to be forever clearing the highways for us.

February 15, 2017 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell / Syringa News: Guides are trained

Short and sweet upriver news. People are moving in and out around here. Campers going up Selway, lots and lots of them. D of L doing slash burns up the Selway River in the rain, smoke starting all over again.

April 27, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell/Syringa News: Kayakers crowd falls

Alan and Mary Hamilton of AIRE Boats down in Boise spent the weekend on the Lochsa boating, the river was right at four feet and such a perfect level for the start of the rafting whitewater season. Alan was saying the new boat or equipment of choice down in Boise is the Stand Up Paddleboard! Three Rivers Rafting took off on Saturday and Sunday morning with some new guides to get wet! Ten plus boaters had the most perfect weather, the most perfect water level, and almost perfect new guides!!!

April 20, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell / Syringa News: Fenn Pond to get a facelift

Fenn Pond, across from the Fenn Ranger Station is getting a new lease on life, with big equipment rolling in right now and working until May. They are digging, building, planting and then stocking fish – whoop, whoop, how great is that.

April 6, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell / Syringa News: Steelhead are jumping

Beautiful, glorious, healthy, steelhead are jumping up the river at Selway Falls. It’s such a sight to see. Drive slow, the last 10 miles of the road are a little bumpy, but what a great way to spend a day off. Sorry no cell service, no Internet, no “Big Mac,” and you can’t even plug in to charge your devices unless it adapts to a car charger, but a lesson in the beauty of the Idaho Wilderness is priceless. The Wilderness Inn is rumored to open this coming weekend, whoop whoop!

March 9, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell / Syringa News: ‘Those are rafts, Nana!’

White Clouds, blue sky, a truck next to every cabin, steelhead fishermen, fish and game guys installing traps, two couples on a getaway, one from Moscow, one from McCall, and even some kayakers from Boise. What a great time of year upriver. The whitewater season is about to begin and the phone has been ringing a lot.

March 2, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

LOWELL / SYRINGA: Live from Vegas ...

No Lowell news because headed to Las Vegas for my birthday. Free room, free buffet, cheap airfare! Had a Big Mac and shake for lunch (closest McDonalds to Lowell is 100 miles). There’s one right next to Harrah’s. Movies on TV are $17.99, using the Internet is $14.99 a day. A cup of coffee is $12. Life has been good to me, and Chewbacca is taking me on the new Ferris wheel!

January 27, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

LOWELL/SYRINGA NEWS: ‘Strong as an ox’ Marie

Nothing’s going on upriver, but then that’s normal. Dogs chasing cougars, followed by hunters, geese flying south after spending the night at the confluence, rocks on the highway, wild turkeys everywhere and snow still on the rooftops.

January 20, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

LOWELL/SYRINGA NEWS: Smith celebrates 35 years as Free Press correspondent

Monday morning, Jan. 4, up and at ‘em 5:45 a.m., breakfast: two brown home laid eggs fried over easy in coconut oil, sprinkled with turmeric and black fresh ground pepper, 1/2 banana, 10 red seedless grapes, one tablespoon of dill yogurt sprinkled with one tablespoon of chia seeds, one wonderful cup of coffee, full glass (eight ounces) water.

January 6, 2016 6 a.m. read more..

LOWELL/SYRINGA NEWS: Christmas list: ‘Electricity and Internet’

The social event of the year, our QRU Christmas party was a roaring success. Held at the Wilderness Inn in Lowell, the folks upriver came out of the woodwork, in this case woods, to help with funding the unit for another year. Thanks goes out to the participants on both giving and receiving.

December 9, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell/Syringa News: Great-grandma here for Thanksgiving celebration

What a nice Thanksgiving weekend we all had here in Lowell. Great-gramma Martha was here for the week, the Mike Smith, Jr., family made it back from Las Vegas, Marty, Dani and Max Smith hosted the Apple Cup Buffet at their home up on the hill, even though the Cougars laid down and died about halftime, but the Seahawks were awesome on Sunday!

December 2, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Lowell-Syringa: Hunters go home

Best recipe for the Thanksgiving turkey yet, heard it on Saturday Night Live, “Just stick the bird in the oven ‘til it’s done.” Then, of course, there are 501 versions for pumpkin pie, and one read “if you use real pumpkin you will have to add more spices.”

November 25, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Hunting camps report ‘good luck’

Wind, rain and snow on the mountains all around us brings the chill of winter upriver. Shots ring out this time of year in the early morning as light, just enough for a good shot, presents itself.

November 18, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

On ‘edge of seat’ about fires

“Fire, fire everywhere and not a drop to drink.” I am on the edge of my chair as I write this as there are 20-plus fires in and around Lowell and Syringa.

August 19, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

It was a quiet Fourth of July

Not one single firecracker was set off in Lowell this 4th of July, and no parade, no birthday celebration or Independence Day party of any kind. It was 104 degrees upriver and has been for weeks.

July 8, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Some like it hot ...

Hot, hot, hot — if we had sidewalks we would fry an egg on it! Big family reunion this past weekend and not one single complaint about the heat or the dust or life in general!

July 1, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Taking the circus for a ride ...

It all came and went last Sunday, Father’s Day, summer solstice, first day of summer, Idaho County taxes due, highwaymen biker meet at Johnson Bar campground, Culpepper and Merriweather Circus in Kooskia, big controversial Selway River Timber Sale, and record-breaking water levels. Did we survive up here in Lowell and Syringa?

June 24, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Couple ties the knot at campground

News comes from my iPod this week. Its screen is cracked like a spider web, but that’s another story. It has been a busy month of June, but between Internet problems and record-breaking heat, the daily life upriver has been anything but normal!

June 17, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Williams spruce up town sign

Big project finished up last week, the Lowell sign on Highway 12 has been spruced up and rehung by Victor and Cindy Williams. Dave Shindel, Steve and Ann Ryan and Rick and Stephanie Moore also worked on the project.

April 15, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Nezperce mayor pays visit

The mayor of Nezperce was in Lowell for a visit. Steve Bateman was just checking out the spring thaw. He and his wife, Cathe, and daughter, Cherry, are summer dwellers along the river and it was nice of him to come up and say hi!

April 1, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Lulu is back home

News this week is brief. Two calls for the EMTs from Kooskia and Lowell/Syringa — one on Sunday, March 1, preparing for Lifeflight transport for Elaine Landry from the Selway River Road Bridge landing spot, and one next morning, Monday, March 2, for Dani Smith, transporting to hospital by ambulance.

March 11, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Horn hunters have good luck

It’s 21 degrees this morning as I write this, not a cloud in the sky, and the geese are either coming or going all day and all night along the Lochsa and at the confluence. They fly in flocks of 30 or 40 at a time (excuse me, it’s called a gaggle if they are on the water).

February 25, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

‘Mecca of activity’

It’s been a good week. Kayakers and catarafters are on the Lochsa. It’s up to five feet plus with the warm weather, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with questions about the level. The snow is all gone from Lowell and Syringa, and the sun is high in the sky today. It’s for sure we still have some cold days ahead before summer; I’m not planting my tomatoes just yet.

February 18, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Mighty Lochsa is on the rise

New week, new day, new news. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t pass an opportunity to look someone in the eye and ask them how they are doing, and listen to their answer.

February 11, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Salvage timber sale under way

One more newsy report from the communities of Lowell and Syringa. The month of January is almost behind us, the Super Bowl is right around the corner, and nobody is turning 70 this week. We have warm weather, we have cougar hunters, we have mud and slush, and we are happy within ourselves, and satisfied with our world, and welcome to it.

January 28, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Residents dig out of snow

First thing every morning when I open my eyes, I think, “Do we have electricity?” Once it’s established that we do, I can go on with life as we know it in Lowell and Syringa.

January 7, 2015 6 a.m. read more..

Merry Christmas from Lowell

So Christmas is here with some wind and some wet, our shopping is done and dear Santa we met! We put up the tree, and the wishes are free, we’ll open the presents all wrapped to a tee.

December 24, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Program brings neighbors out

Right this minute it is 9:10. a.m. and 11 seconds a.m. on 12-13-14, a very interesting date, but not as great as 012345, which happens to be my birthday!

December 17, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Party is ‘event of the year’

The social event of the year was the Lowell QRU holiday party at the Wilderness Inn last Saturday evening. It was a grand party with folks coming out of the woodwork to donate at the auction and enjoying a delicious potluck, with lots of mystery meat and homemade dishes.

December 10, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

QRU party is Dec. 6

It’s cold, power was out last Sunday night for five hours, but as always they got it back on before the school bus came.

December 3, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Women take on Las Vegas

It’s colder than a well drillers behind in Montana, only we’re in Idaho, so I guess it would be an Idahoans behind. Anyway whoever’s backside, it’s cold.

November 19, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

ROW closes for season

River Dance Lodge (ROW) at Syringa is closed for the season. Their huckleberry pie is homemade and the best ever, but you’ll have to wait ‘til 2015!

October 22, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Sparse news week

News is sparse this week. I could tell you I saw a big dead moose in the back of someone’s truck last weekend, or that I saw a dead beaver in front of cabin #10, but it’s all been reported before. The flies are bad and the bees are gone. The river is low and the turkeys are everywhere. Everything else is just about the same.

October 15, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

‘Life is good’

The Johnson Bar Fire is winding down with less and less smoke for the incoming hunters and fishermen, less and less meals to cook, less and less yellow shirts running around, and more and more sprinkles and yellow leaves falling.

October 1, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Fall, fires and fishermen time

Fall, fires, FAOL (Fly Anglers on Line) fishermen, and fly tying: the five F’s of September. It seems to be the talk of the town. The fishing has been phenomenal regardless of the smoke.

September 24, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Toad warts? Maybe ...

There was a big toad hunkered down in the corner of my office this morning when I opened, and I thought, with all the fires around us, trucks and firefighters in and out, and with fall coming on fast, this little guy is just a survivor.

September 17, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Still feeding firefighters

News is happening right here in River City; we are in the middle of a mecca of activity, the fires, weddings, memorials, birthdays and don’t forget football.

September 10, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Fire on the Selway

It is important to first address the Idaho County Sheriff’s Department and USFS and fire crews who have moved in to protect us all upriver from this raging forest fire all around us. Know that we appreciate all you have done and continue to do.

August 20, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Smokey celebrates his 70th

Smokey the Bear had a 70th birthday party last Saturday, and that night at about midnight a lightning strike came down along the Selway River and started one of the worst fires we’ve seen here in many years.

August 13, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Just ‘livin’ the dream ’

Sitting in my office this past week, grateful that I have an office here in the wilderness, a guy walks in and I asked him, “How ya doin’?”, he replies, “Livin’ the dream.” It brought a smile to my face, and so from now on I’ll use that as my comeback, I am livin’ the dream, and here’s what was in my dreams this week!

August 6, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

‘Highwaymen’ are on the Selway

Official start to summer is this weekend. Better start to dry up a little so we can get sunburned. Also property taxes in Idaho County are due on June 20, save up, smile, count your blessings, and be kind to your neighbor.

June 18, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Watch for madness on the Lochsa River

Watch out for Memorial Day Madness on the mighty Lochsa River. The boaters are lined up for miles to hit the water as it rises to maximum height; it’s a good thing and a bad thing, but everyone is ready!

May 21, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Major rafting, great weather

News short and sweet. Major rafting weekend last Saturday and Sunday, everyone had a great trip, the Lochsa River was 5-1/2 feet and rising, the sun was out 80 percent of the time, the lunch was great and everyone was happy. What’s not to like?

May 7, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Guides are back on the river

Massive amounts of chocolate cream filled Easter eggs have been eaten upriver this past weekend; we had sunshine and green grass on the big day, as well as colored eggs hidden between the stacked rafts and catarafts. It was a mighty fine day along the banks of the Lochsa.

April 23, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Get on the river

Get your taxes finished, put your sandals on, unroll your rafts. The river is rising, the sun is out, and there will be dancing in the streets!

April 9, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Brotnov has the chicks

So now we have April upriver, and the real cure for cabin fever is sunshine. Get out, get moving, get your boots and garden gloves on, get on your game, (whatever that means) we are free. The Wilderness Inn is open for breakfast and lunch, Cougar Canyon is open during the day as well, we have construction going on and gravel being delivered. The bulbs are sprouting (not sure if that’s the right garden term, but sounds good). It’s finally spring in Lowell.

April 2, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Park is happy spring person

The kayakers are moving in, the river guides are heading this way, the river is coming up fast, the USFS got out their brown paint for signs and posts, and Memorial Day madness will be here before we know it.

March 26, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Activity springing up in communities

Spring has sprung, what I see here in Lowell is not green grass, it’s not the sun shining overhead and locals basking in it with a fish on the end of their hook, it’s not butterflies and tulips, or robins finding worms and singing from the tree tops, it’s not tank tops and bikinis on our beautiful bodies, or even shorts and flip-flops, none of those things are happening in Lowell.

March 19, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

First boat on the Lochsa

Here’s the news, short and sweet. Three Rivers Rafting had the first boat on the Lochsa in 2014, Liam O’Neil was out and about after the highway opened for a few hours.

March 12, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Ace reporter finds the news

Lowell and Syringa, just up the highway from Kooskia, on the banks of the Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers, first week in March, this ace reporter decided nothing was coming in as far as news, so go on out after it. Friday, put on my boots, gloves, scarf, hat, jacket and ski pants, up the Selway River I walked. No trucks, no fellow walkers, no snowmobiles, not even a jogger. Spotted four turkeys and about 25 geese. Saturday, same routine, only it’s raining so took umbrella, same four turkeys and some cougar tracks, no sign of the geese. Sunday, and this time it’s snowing to beat the band, the wind is blowing and it’s a whiteout. No other living human being out and about, no turkeys, no geese, and the cougar must have been heading out of town, no more tracks. Even a cougar sighting or attack would have given me a reason to get up the next day. But nothing, I was “one with the earth,” and the earth was frozen and cold as well as this reporter, I mean ace reporter.

March 5, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Off the hook ... Phone ringing for whitewater

So this morning I got up to no Internet, no news because no TV, the telephone is out, and even my coffeemaker didn’t work, my truck is buried in snow (slash slush), my boots are still wet from yesterday’s digging out, and I can’t find my cat. Highway 12 is closed again due to landslides, and the guy plowed the Selway road about 7 a.m. We do have electricity, thank goodness, and the school bus showed up at exactly the right time, so life goes on in Lowell.

February 26, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

‘Nothing happening’

Nothing is happening upriver, no businesses have opened back up yet, no big parties, no rafters or kayakers yet, not even any hunters, and I refuse to stoop so low as to report about rocks on the road or dead raccoons again.

February 19, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Count blessings in the deep snow

Count your blessings, count your blessings, this keeps going over and over in my mind. The snow is deep, the icicles are five feet long, the temperature is dropping, and they didn’t call a snow day at school. Every picture I take is like a whiteout. The traffic moving along Highway 12 is going slow, but it’s going and so are the snowplows.

February 12, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Bridge crew moves on in

Stock up on hot dogs, chili and football supplies, ‘cause Super Bowl Sunday is on the way. If the power goes out I’m going to shoot myself on the foot! My money is on the Seahawks, but I don’t have much of it to bet!

January 29, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

Taking ‘one step at a time’ with iPod

Written on my iPod from Lewiston because of a family emergency. I never thought in a million years I’d be typing with my thumbs and making reservations for the resort 100 miles away from Lowell. It’s like living on the moon!

January 22, 2014 6 a.m. read more..

EMT party set for this Saturday

Snow, sleet, cold, and dark of night will not keep us from the EMT Christmas party this Saturday at the Wilderness Inn. Bring your dish, bring your auction items and bring your snow tires, it starts at 5 p.m.

December 11, 2013 6 a.m. read more..

Muzzleloaders hunt on

Rocks and trees down all over Highway 12 today. The poor travelers coming home from the big weekend are having trouble getting from here to there.

December 4, 2013 6 a.m. read more..

No news is good news?

The biggest news in Lowell and Syringa is that the river is still running, the birds are still singing, the highway still runs east and west, and we are all still breathing in and out.

November 13, 2013 6 a.m. read more..


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