Into East Idaho Outdoors

Published online: Apr 05, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle Emily FitzPatrick
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Do you ever read a story that changes your view of the world? In my spare time, I read just about anything I can get my hands on. Some recent favorites of mine include The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Educated by Tara Westover. (If you’re ever in need of a book recommendation you know who you can email if your local librarian is out to lunch.) 

While preparing for our East Idaho Outdoors issue, one story by journalist John Krakauer has been on the forefront of my mind—Into Thin Air. I picked up my copy of the book at a library sale at the Idaho Falls Library. I’d known the basic premise—a journalist takes a dangerous trip to Mt. Everest and people die. He survives to write about it. What I didn’t expect was to feel myself become immersed into a story to which I already knew the ending.

For days, I sat in my head with John and the other adventurers, watching what was—in his opinion—an avoidable tragedy occur and wondering why someone would choose to put themselves in the life-threatening situation of hiking a mountain that clearly doesn’t want anything to do with humankind. 

These hikers weren’t ignorant to the possibility of death or severe injury when they set their eyes on reaching the coveted peak. They knew the statistics. They knew about the storms, including the one that would eventually play a part in the loss of eight hikers on this particular expedition in 1996. But they journeyed forward anyway in hopes of getting to the spot where few people have the chance to step. 

What possessed them to do this?

In his account, John tried to explain the pull a number of times. At one point he writes, “It was titillating to brush up against the enigma of mortality, to steal a glimpse across its forbidden frontier. Climbing was a magnificent activity, I firmly believed, not in spite of the inherent perils, but precisely because of them.”

Climbing Mt. Everest is something few Idahoans will ever experience, but perhaps we can all relate to the feelings that drive those hikers into the way we dive into the outdoors. There is never a guarantee that all will be well when we enter Yellowstone National Park or camp in a space normally occupied by other creatures. Still, we take the risks anyway, because they are minimal compared to the joy we know we will find in spending time in the great Idaho outdoors.

Luckily, there are many tools to help us stay safe and make the most of what little time we have to explore our area. One of those tools is East Idaho Outdoors. In this issue, you can find places to safely hike and camp, read tales of experts chasing their own version of Everest and so much more! Most importantly, we hope you will find the motivation to get outdoors and conquer your own dreams in our great state.  

Click here to read the April issue of Idaho Falls Magazine.

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