Two-Mile Mountain

Two-Mile Mountain & Other Stories by Donald Stephens Evans

The cliff-faced mountain (Two-Mile) is located two miles south of Malad City, Idaho, and thus it is named. Homesteaders from the Ozarks, North Carolina, and Tennessee, looking for land to settle, chose the lee side of Two-Mile Mountain. This rocky mountainous land was familiar to them. The Richardson, Greer, Thomas, and Robatell families marked their homesteads. The land is picturesque for grazing but not very suitable to cultivated agriculture. In the spring, a pot or snow lake arises on the Greer place of about one-half an acre. It has many tadpoles before disappearing. They hauled rocks and there are piles of rocks everywhere. The Robatell family had a harness and saddle shop in Malad.

A custom in the Ozarks is to free range hogs. Emmett Thomas grazed his hogs in Two-Mile Canyon. You can imagine the consternation that caused to the cattle and sheep man. He worked for Malad City as custodian of the city cemetery. He was a fine man and together with his wife, raised a large, beautiful family. Jeane Jones, the philanthropist of Malad and Reno, Nevada, is a niece. Emmett, supposedly when he lost his land, went after the man who foreclosed with a gun, but nothing further happened. All the homesteaders lost their Two-Mile properties to foreclosure during the 1920’s.

Moroni (Noan) Reese, supposedly, had the distinction of distilling a fine whiskey prior to World War I. The moonshine had such a high alcohol content that it had to be deluded one-half with water before it could be consumed. Noan was destined to make money with the advent of prohibition in 1920. He purchased the David Jones homestead in Cherry Creek, Idaho. He also purchased three of the Two-Mile homesteads. Noan had a moonshine still by the Richardson shack on the lee side of Two-Mile Mountain. A well driller named Branzig enjoyed moonshine; consequently there are multiple wells on the Cherry Creek hay lands. Supposedly, the gallons of illegal spirits were hidden in the muddy slews until needed. Joe Francis, supposedly, maintained a still on the wind-word side of Two-Mile Mountain.

Don Brown was a relative of Mrs. Reese. He was a soldier in World War I. Don was badly handicapped from a shell explosion. Noan cared for Don and he reciprocated by picking rocks and tending Noan’s still in Two-Mile. Don Brown died in Blackfoot, Idaho. It is not known if he was in the Idaho State Hospital.

Malad had a Junior Posse in the 1960’s. The Posse performed at the annual rodeo, which increased the attendance with proud relatives. Since we now owned the Two-Mile property, my ten-year old son, with his cousins and friends in the Posse, decided to ride to Two-Mile and camp the night. I dutifully took their bedrolls and food to the campsite. I told them a story before I left. I told them about Don Brown and embellished the story. “Noan lost his patience with Brown and accidentally killed him. He threw the body in the dug well in that corner and filled it with rocks. It is said that Don’s spirit wanders the valley at night and you can hear the moans.” I smiled to myself and left in the red pickup for town. I’m sure the boys were left with their thoughts. They came to town early the next day. They spent the night around the campfire armed with whatever knives and implements they could muster.

Samaria is a town west of Malad City. They enjoy a good story besides being good card players. The card-playing establishment has now been retired to the park. About one hundred years ago, Gillespie Waldron discovered an iron door on Samaria Mountain. The sight of the door is lost, but the story never dies. Gillespie also found a hole in the mountain and dropped a chain down the hole. He came back that afternoon and could still hear the chain falling. Loval (Spug) Williams was one of the last custodians of the Blue Goose during the card playing days. A stranger from Malad had better be alert if challenging the Samaria card players to their game.

Twenty years later I was in a card game with Lewis Waldron of Samaria but not in his territory. To my surprise, Lew related the story of Don Brown. He even said he could show the pile of rocks where the body was thrown. I doubt if Lew has been to the area since Two-Mile was out of his territory I smiled but said nothing. It does not matter, since the stories are the important part. That happened forty years ago, and maybe fifty years hence, young people will camp behind Two-Mile just to see the spirit and hear the moans.

In 2014, Brent Clark crawled into a cave and came face to face with a cougar. He shot and killed a trophy male mountain lion. It makes a good story and Brent has the cougar mounted as proof. Although Two-Mile is north of that cave, male cougars travel great distances. Maybe these are the moans and growls that are heard.

In the fall of 2006, Jim Evans and a friend were turkey hunting on Two-Mile Mountain. They spent the night encamped by the old Richardson shack. In the night they heard a great noise, which they described was between a scream and a growl.

David Evans V and friends were turkey hunting in Two-Mile. They spotted a turkey with moving wings. They crept closer until a young man stood and inquired if they liked his turkey decoy.

There is a sixty-acre brush-filled hollow behind the cliffs on the top of Two-Mile Mountain. Two-Mile Mountain is 7,000 feet in elevation. Also, there is a developed spring and stock-watering tank. One year, I drove twenty yearling heifers to the hollow to graze the summer. The snow came and I was short heifers. Mont Swenson joined me on horseback and we rounded up six heifers from the top of the mountain. There were eight inches of snow.

Thirty years ago, I noticed a gigantic footprint in the mud by the spring. Since it was appropriate, I named the hollow “Bigfoot”. I noticed a strong smell, but not being knowledgeable, thought nothing of the odor. A “sheet” lightening storm caused everything to go white. Afterward, there was a distinct brimstone or sulfur odor.

There is a hole in the ground in Bigfoot Hollow. The hole is located fifty paces from the crooked fir tree. I followed the shadow of two o’clock in the afternoon. There is a cave on the south side of Two-Mile Mountain. The entrance to the cave is obscured and will require digging.

Maybe the enchanting sounds are not from “Don Brown”, but from “Sasquatch”. Take a bucket when you go, because there are the sweetest late chokecherries in Bigfoot Hollow.