A Human History in the Wilderness

I had made an appointment with the Nez Perce National Forest archaeologist in Grangeville, Idaho, two hours east of my house, a direction I didn’t want to go: the roads were narrow and winding, and the dusty little towns were few and far between. I arrived at a one-story, bungalow-style building that I would come to know as standard Forest Service architecture. Inside, the offices had low ceilings, industrial-blue carpeting, gray linoleum, and laminate desks. Men and women strolled around in jeans and fleece vests. Cindy, the archaeologist who met me, wore a Forest Service khaki uniform with a gold name badge. She kept her head bowed and didn’t smile. I wasn’t sure if she was cross with me for taking up her time, or just introverted.

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