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Magical Mystery Journey
by Doug Hawley

I had been told that there was a strange land just miles east of me. My life as an actuary had been such a bore; I decided to see if the legendary land would knock me out of my funk. I had been told there were rubies, opal, gold, silver, garnets, jade and topaz there for the taking, as well as strange people practicing strange rituals and religions1.

After only a few miles I found a beautiful lake with boats surrounding the shore. According to local experts, the lake had been formed from a catastrophe of monstrous proportions millennia ago2. The people there assured me that the stories I had heard about their land were true, and I should beware of people that looked like me, but were full of hate and evil3. Unbelievably polite, but strange talking people were rumored to live a little to the north4. I was fortunate that the natives that I saw on my journey were quite friendly.

I decided to travel south first. Unbelievable – I experienced time travel. On my way through country that was beautiful, but largely devoid of humans, time leaped ahead an hour in only a minute5. Either that or I had become unconscious for an hour while still driving.

At last I reached human civilization not that different from what I was used to. Many people lived along a reptilian river6. I learned that everything along the river had a volcanic history and the possibility of future earth ending eruptions7. Despite no large cities, the region had atomic power going back to 19558.

On our way east along the river we passed through an unworldly and hellish volcanic landscape which was so alien that it was compared to the surface of the moon9.

We finished our explorations by continuing east to the City Of Rocks10, consisting of rocks which a somewhat whimsical observer had likened to buildings, and others took for granite, accurately as it turn out. The only habitants appeared to be a variety of birds, lizards, snakes, mammals and a few amphibians. There were unconfirmed rumors of humans climbing on the rocks rather than living in them. I was happy to learn that the territory harbored some marmots. In addition to being entertaining animals, my sister’s ex-husband once referred to my father as a marmot.

Truly impressed by this magical place, I asked a native what the land was called. Rather than tell me directly, he first said that it was a made up name which was falsely credited to an aborigine group11. “We call it Idaho.”

1. The narrator started this trip in Spokane, Washington, USA. The aforementioned gems and metals are all found in Idaho and all religions are strange to him.
2. Coeur d’Alene Lake was formed by the gigantic Missoula Floods.
3. North Idaho has been the location of some white power groups. They may be gone now.
4. Canada, eh.
5. North Idaho is Pacific Time, South Idaho is Mountain Time. The narrator forgot that he had a car clock that was kept correct by wi-fi.
6. The Snake. The name is a misunderstanding of the Shoshone sign for salmon.
7. The Snake River Valley was formed by the potential super volcano that is now under Yellowstone.
8. Arco, Idaho.
9. Craters Of The Moon National Monument And Preserve – Where astronauts were trained to explore the surface of the moon.
10. City Of Rocks National Reserve. Rock climbing has been prohibited, but then so has running red lights.
11. Shoshone

Short Bio - The above story is only partly autobiographical.