By Keith Gibson

Cutting lodge pole pine trees

One bright spring morning, there was someone knocking on my front door.  It was a friend of mine, by the name of Dan Bush.  We had lived a few doors from each other on first street in McGill, while growing up.  Dan was one of those very independent type individuals that did a little bit of everything.  He was very adept at building things. .  He liked to do leather work and made some great holsters as a kid and later as an adult, some beautiful saddles.  Two other things he became very adept at, was bending the rules and cajoling people into doing things they might not ever consider doing.

I knew that early spring morning that he was up to something.  He asked me if I wanted to go to Idaho and float and fish the Snake River during the KCC labor strike.   I knew that was the bait for doing something for his eventual benefit, so after some cajoling of my own, he admitted that the main purpose of the trip was to get a load of lodge pole pine rails to make corrals.  That didn’t sound to bad, so I agreed.

We left a few days later in his “cattle truck”.  He drove to Wendover and then I drove to Oasis and turned toward the northwest corner of Utah.  Just before crossing into Utah he had me stop so he could change his Nevada plates to some Utah plates.   I didn’t ask where he got the plates.    We stopped in Snowville, Utah, had lunch, gassed up and he switched the license plates to Idaho.   Seeing the curious look I gave him, he pointed to the lettering on the doors that read, “ Dan Bush Ranches, Inc.”  He explained that the cops in each state would assume he was a local rancher, thus he avoided buying commercial trip permits.

We arrived in a dense forest and set up a tent .  The lodge poles were so thick, it was impossible to see very far.  During the night I could hear a loud scraping.  He told me the next day that it was a bear marking his territory by clawing the trees.  I saw huge claw marks higher than I could reach.  He told me not to run if a bear charged, but to climb a tree.  I looked at the skinny lodge poles and noted the lack of branches for the first 20 feet of trunk.   He said, ”don’t worry, you will be able to climb it”.

A forest service man showed up and spray painted a ring around a hundred scattered trees, as per Dan’s permit.  The trees top branches  were so close together I noted that they would not fall down when cut and there was no way we could snake them thru to the truck.  Dan just grinned and pulled out a tool box.  It was full of different colors of spray paint.  He selected one that matched the forest service and proceeded to lay out a road.  Over the next two days we cut, limbed and piled up well over a hundred poles.  Dan announced that it was time to break camp, load the poles and head home.  I told him in no uncertain terms that we would go fishing first.  I knew him like a book and he knew it.

We drove into town, located his friend who had a rubber 4 man life raft and soon were floating the river.  We put in just below some huge falls.

As we got out into the swift current the friend announced he had forgotten the paddles and so it was a rather wild ride.  We bounced off of rocks and other stuff, but it was a thrill of a lifetime.  What beautiful country we went thru.  It lasted about 6 hours and I would do it again.  The fishing was great and we soon had our limit.  Dan said to keep fishing and I mentioned that we had our limit and that we didn’t even have an Idaho fishing license and might run into a game warden.  Dan and his friend started laughing and then explained that the friend WAS the local game warden.  Leave it to Bush to think of everything.

We stayed one more night and then loaded up and headed for McGill with and illegal load of poles , and illegal limit of fish and illegal license plates.  I vowed that I would never take any more trips with Dan Bush.