The view from Gary Craven's window at Garden Valley Homes and Land in Crouch is idyllic.
"Pine trees, mountain, blue skies and temperatures in the low 70s," he said. "God's country."
But Craven's view beyond the horizon isn't pretty at all. In fact, it's hell on Earth, including possible nuclear conflict, economic collapse and anarchy.
Craven, 63, is a "prepper." He's not necessarily preparing for the end of the world, but he's getting ready for all kinds of chaos. In fact, as a real estate broker, Craven offers some Garden Valley properties that he says would be perfect when "the shit hits the fan."
In your previous profession, you were Ada County's deputy coroner. Did you spend your days declaring people dead?
Deputies do most of the investigations, determining whether a death was natural, accidental, a homicide or suicide.
How does a job like that not affect you?
To do the job, you have to steel your emotions.
Does any of that inform you being a prepper?
It does show you the underbelly of society and how things might get out of control. Maybe it affected me that way.
What's the difference between a prepper and a survivalist?
I think a survivalist is a guy that goes out into the woods and survives on his own for no reason. A prepper is someone preparing for what's coming.
I don't think I've heard of a prepper until recently.
I think the media hung it on people. But there are all different types of preppers, preparing for economic collapse or [electromagnetic pulses].
Which category do you fit into?
If you're a little prepared for almost anything, you have a much better chance of getting through those times. I don't think the world is going to end, but I think we're in for some real trouble.
If you were to use an analogy of a clock, how close are we to midnight?
Right on the edge of the last minute. But I don't think that's an end-of-the-world clock. I think there's going to be a new world. We'll have a lot of trouble and a lot of people won't make it through.
Do governments and nations fail in that scenario?
Absolutely, but they'll probably be reformed. Plus, I think nature will play a part--more earthquakes, natural disasters. A lot of people aren't going to be here.
In looking at one of your real estate listings, I see a riverfront retreat in Garden Valley. You say the property is a prepper's dream.
Garden Valley is a perfect place to be away from the big city. Unrestricted property means you can do what you want to do--maybe build an underground shelter.
You also write that it's a good place to be when the shit hits the fan.
At least you can be away from the maddening crowd.
How worried should we be?
Time is growing short. All you have to do is look at Iran, which wants to blow us and Israel off the map. When they get the bomb, they're going to use it.
Do you engage with other preppers?
I really don't share much, and I don't think other preppers want to share either. It's not a movement, it's individuals. For instance, most preppers don't want anybody else to know if they have a bug-out plan. Why would they even tell other preppers?
Are you more nervous than the rest of us?
I'm at peace. We shouldn't panic. It's pretty smart to prepare in a variety of ways. You can always use stuff that you store away, even if the shit doesn't hit the fan.