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My Life in Custer County by kathy piva, Challis

You can watch "Land of the Lost River Range" at https://video.idahoptv.org/video/land-of-the-lost-river-range-8d1pff/

I was born and raised on a ranch in the Pahsimeroi Valley. This valley borders the beautiful and majestic Lost River Mountain Range. My family, like most other families in the valley, has spent a lot of time in those mountains.

Kathy Latimer Piva as a youth.

The mountains provide many recreational adventures, such as the challenge of seeking out a new lake or hiking Mt. Borah. We also hunt the plentiful wildlife and range our cows in this rugged and diverse landscape.

Three generations of Pivas gather for a photo.

My husband, John, and I decided to raise our family in Challis, which is on the south side of the range. The small community of Challis offers so much to those who call it home.

Selling a load of trees from our tree farm.

What I love most is the basic, simple lifestyle with my family and friends. We have had to be creative and diligent to figure out ways to support ourselves here in Custer County. Our children left the area for college and work. They, too, seek the simpler way of life and have chosen to make the sacrifices to move back home.

Grandchild with homegrown poultry.

My Grandma Dell used to raise a huge garden and about 300 chickens every summer. Many days were spent canning the vegetables and butchering the chickens. Now, three generations later, our grandchildren are learning to grow their own nourishing food. Our freezers and pantries are stocked with these home-grown goods, including pasture-raised beef, pork, and poultry. All this, raised and harvested in this pristine setting.

My son with his children.

Challis still has the genuine feel of the West. For generations, we have made our livings here as ranchers, farmers, loggers, business owners, and miners. The abundance of beautiful sunny days, clear nights and the clean mountain fresh air to breathe is hard to deny.

Grandkids on a horse named Sunny.

This area has a way of drawing you in, with the amazing scenery, rich history, and the endless opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and exploring.

Grandkids on the ranch.

For me, it is all this, along with the connection to my past and my hope for future generations, that makes living here so rewarding.

My youngest grandchild.

(Cover photo by Bruce Reichert.)