As all Idaho residents know, it's been a warm and dry winter and this allowed me to take advantage of a nice February day. I decided to hike up an easily reached peak off of Mud Flat Road in the Owyhee Mountains for some exercise and rock hounding.
No Snow, Animals Signs and Bugs?
I was concerned that there would be snow to hike through on this trip up Peak 4957 but for the most part on small patches of were encountered during the day. I hiked up to a small saddle just to the northeast of the peak where I found plenty of animal sign. Of course the most common sign was cow poop but there were tons of antelope tracks and coyote poop too. The peak itself was snow-free offering a grand view of the higher snow covered peaks to the south.
From the saddle, it was a quick hike to the peak where the best views were seen. I rested on the south side of peak 4957 and was surprised to see a few flies buzzing around and ants enjoying the warm weather. I suspect flies and ants are not normal for a mid-February day at 5,000 feet? I felt fortunate that there were no cow patties on this peak but obviously I wasn't the first person to set foot up here. I found a rather old but well preserved tin can on the peak. I'd say it was at least 20-30 years old as the design was of the older kind.
I descended the peak following a semi-active wash on the northwest side of the mountain. This wash looked like it was in the process of deepening and maybe in 5,000 or 50,000 years it may become a deep canyon? I found a lot of animal sign in the wash itself. Some kind of bigger animal used this area not long ago but the soft sand made it hard to identify which type. I'd like to say elk as the prints were rather large. It also looked like coyotes used the wash as their private freeway up the saddle.
Rocks and Rockhounding
I kept one eye on the ground and one eye on the scenery during this hike. You never know what you'll find out here when it comes to rocks and gems. For the most part, the area I hiked was pretty barren of any interesting rocks. Lots of broken up rhyolite/volcanic rock but there was some granite, quartz and chalcedony to be found. Not what I'd call a product rock hounding day.
If the weather remains warm, I will be doing more peak hikes in the coming weeks. According to weather stats, the Owyhee's are doing pretty good as far as snow and water content but in the low elevation snow isn't a problem. I'm concerned if the weather pattern doesn't change in the next month or two, the fire season in the mountains north of Mountain Home and Boise will be real bad. The end of March through mid-April will likely end all hiking in the Owyhee's for me as this is when rattlesnakes will start coming out of their holes so I'll have to stay active until then.
Link to a panoramic photo: Click here to see a very large panoramic photo from the top of Owyhee Peak 4957. The size and and download time will be LONG.
A few more pictures from this hike: Click here!
Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.
The Bondyweb.Com webmaster
|< Prev||Next >|