Hiking Granite Creek off the South Fork of the Boise River – May 21, 2011
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Saturday May 21st, 2011: On advice of a friend I decided to take a hike up Granite Creek in the Boise Mountains. I was looking forward to seeing the old apple orchard, some cool scenery and some rock hounding. But things couldn't have been much more different...
Rottweiler Greeting at the NFS Road 636 Trailhead
My dog Addie and I headed down the South Fork of the Boise River below the Cow Creek Bridge. Got my water bottles and dog treats loaded in my daypack and we headed to the trailhead. Before we got there, we encountered a couple of nice looking unleashed Rottweilers near the trail. The owners were exploring along the river as a 3rd rottweiler followed us the first 30 feet. Not one of the best omens in my opinion. But finally one of the owners dragged the dogs back down the slope.
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The Hike Along Granite Creek
The hike starts by heading straight up this canyon with about 400 feet of elevation gain in 3/5 of mile. The trail then levels out in a large meadow (pasture) as it continues northward into the Boise Mountains. I never really got a good look at Granite Creek during the entire hike even though it was less than 200 feet away. We could hear the creek tumbling down the canyon but a steep 40-70 foot drop off and thick vegetation along the streambed made it almost impossible to get a good view it.
The scenery was quite fabulous along the hike. The steep and rocky ridges along both sides of the trail and view back into the Boise River Canyon is pretty darn dramatic considering we were less than 30 miles from Mountain Home.
NFS Road 636 is designated as an ATV trail so it's an easy walk. Conditions on the way up were dry and somewhat sandy/dusty. Once you get up on the flatter section they remain dry except at one point were it becomes swampy. I suspect there is a spring up there somewhere that creates these conditions.
Hike Shortened by a Bull and Cesspool
Make no mistake about it, this is cattle country. A large herd of cattle occupied the meadow up there. And once we got to the swampy section, a bunch of cattle claimed ownership of the trail. I certainly didn't want cut the hike short but I didn't have much choice. My dog hasn't been exposed to cattle much and wanted to make friends with these huge animals. Needless to say the cows didn't want to be friendly.
With Addie on the leash, we crossed the first part of the swampy area but is was quite distasteful to say the least and a little crazy with cows closing in on us from all sides. Lets just say the second section of the swamp was more like a cesspool. Even with my impaired sense of smell I felt like I was in an outhouse from all the cow poo.
I still had almost 2 miles left of this “out portion” of the hike and the only thing standing in my way was a slog through the cesspool and a very large bull standing on the trail. After a few minutes of facing this bull down, I decided to turn around and call it a day.
Bulls Behind and Rottweilers/Gunshots Ahead
As we started heading back down the trail, I heard gunshots not to far ahead of me. Obviously the owners of the rottweilers were coming up the trail. So I stepped out into an open area so the “youths” headed my way could clearly see me. A few minutes latter we met up on the trail...5 young men, all carrying rifles and handguns approached with their pack of 4 Rottweilers. This made me quite nervous as their dogs were unleashed and one can NEVER tell how this breed of dog will react to another dog. I decided it was best to step off the trail and let them pass by.
Tim Bondy's Gentle Rant
Idaho is ranching country and I understand this completely. Ranching opened up parts of Idaho so today I can explore the places I have in the last 3 years. For this I am grateful. But there are places where cattle shouldn't roam our public lands. The swampy portion of the Granite Creek/NFS Road 636 is one of those places. I have no suggestions how this “cow poo to hiker and wetlands” conflict could be resolved. I suspect it never will.
Hiking with the “2nd most dangerous breed of dog in the US” should be carefully considered and reconsidered. And to hike with a pack of 4 or 5 unleashed Rottweilers is what I call one of the most serious breaches of outdoor etiquette imaginable. I really don't care how well trained you think your dogs are, this behavior will almost certainly lead to trouble in one form or another. At the very least, carry a damn leash and use it when approaching other people on the trail...okay?
Information on Granite Creek / NFS Road 636
- The trailhead is located on the South Fork of the Boise River Road below the Cow Creek Bridge or at 43.386954, -115.543462.
- The road/trail is only about 1.5 miles long with the potential many more miles of cross country hiking at the end.
- This trail doesn't seem real suitable to ATV traffic considering the short length and steepness of the 1st ½ mile.
Comments or Questions?
Got something to say about this post? Let me know what you think about Rottweilers on the hiking trail or cow poo swamp. I'm interested in your opinion as you may see thongs differently than I “do-do”.
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