Photography (in color) by David Christopher Lee & Patrick Reynoso. Black & White photo by Robert Capa.
Ernest Hemingway is renowned the world over as one of the greatest novelists of all time. The Nobel Prize winner published 7 novels, 6 short story collections and two non-fiction works, including his iconic work, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which he wrote in a suite in the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho in 1940. Hemingway was also a noted Buick fan, and the car company took a number of journalists recently on an experiential trip into the past back to the lodge and to the local places the writer used to frequent.
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Our first destination was the Silver Creek Preserve, where Ernest Hemingway found solitude from the panoramic views and pristine air. We called OnStar by pressing a button in the car and were connected to one of their operators. We told her that we wanted to go to the Silver Creek Preserve in Bellevue Idaho and the coordinates were inputted directly into our navigation. From there, we drove through scenic views of snow-capped mountains and pine trees.
Located at the base of the Picabo hills, this high desert creek attracts an abundance of wildlife including eagles, hawks, songbirds, coyotes, deer, elk and many more. This globally unique aquatic ecosystem has one of the highest densities of stream insects in North American and attracts world-class fishery.
“You’ll love it here, Schatz…there’s a stream called Silver Creek where we shoot ducks from canoe…saw more big trout rising than have ever seen…Just like English chalk streams…we’ll fish it together next year,” Ernest Hemingway wrote to his son Jack in 1939.
The path on the preserve was covered with snow on one half and dirt on the other. To get the full rugged mountain men adventure, we hiked along the edge of the mountain in snowshoes with astronaut Cady Coleman who was visiting for the Dent Conference, a symposium about art science and impact. During her last mission, she was in space for a whopping six months. Once we reached the end of our journey, we took a drone video of the crew to reveal the vast scenery of the creek and snow capped mountains.
After our adventure, we drove the Buick Envision to the Sawtooth Club for lunch with one of Ernest Hemingway’s friends, Jed Gray, who counts bird hunting with the author as one of his fondest memories. As a teenager, he hunted with ‘Papa’ and told us stories of the past that have remained vivid in his mind. When Ernest wasn’t hunting, fly-fishing or writing, he would be at the Sawtooth Club having his favorite cocktail, the gin-martini.
Following lunch, we returned to the lodge for a tour of the Hemingway suite of the Sun Valley Lodge. This famous room is where Hemingway completed the final chapters of For Whom the Bell Tolls.
To complete our experience, we drove the Buick Lacrosse to Hemingway’s grave site. Surprisingly, I discovered that Hemingway had the same birthday as me, July 21. He lived from July 21, 1899 to July 2, 1961. His grave is surrounded by two pine trees with cones and needles on the edges. A bronze bust of Hemingway sat on top of a column that rises from flat stones. These words are inscribed:
“Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
…Now he will be a part of them forever.”
It was eerie to stand before of the gravestone of one of the greatest authors of all time. He will be remembered forever and will continue to inspire for the generations to come.
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