Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

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Hike to Prince Albert Spring in Elmore County

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Hot springs close to Mountain Home, Idaho? They are there and not as far nor remote as you may think. The Prince Albert Hot Springs might be one of the best kept secrets in this area and a place I'll likely be heading back in the future.

Bondy hikes to the Prince Albert Hot Springs in Idaho

The Hike
(March 4th, 2012) I found the Cold Springs Creek / Alkali Creek area by chance a week earlier as I was looking for an isolated place to take a walk. And once I discovered “Alkali Road” I did a little research and found dirt roads actually head off into the Bennett Hills area. A little more research and I discovered these dirt roads, for the most part, are located on BLM lands. Good news for me and my dog.

Parking lot for the Prince Albert Hot Springs hike

We parked at the intersection of Alkali Road and Steen Road (43.100696, -115.343945) or about 11 “as the crow flies” miles north-northwest of Glenns Ferry. My destination for this hike was the Prince Albert Spring area I found on my USGS Topo Maps. Addie, my dog and I headed north on the dirt Steen Road and then veered left on to an unnamed 4-wheel drive road that took us right up to the Prince Albert Springs area.

Overall, this hike is rather flat and done completely on dirt roads making it an even easier hike. While this trip could be done in a semi-high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, I certainly could not recommend it after a period of wet weather. Heck, I don't think I'd even hike these roads after wet weather for fear of getting my boots sucked off my feet in the wetter area. Let's just say it gets muddy in spots.

Metal soaking tub at hot springs

The Prince Albert Springs are Hot?
To be honest, I never expected to make it to the springs, so I didn't do much research into them other than the exact location. But once I got close to them, I had a few hints these could be “hot springs” and also dangerous to my dog. So I tested the temperature of the water wherever I could.

The places I tested were not hot but it was obvious these were hot springs as what should have running/bubbling frigid water was actually just cool to the touch. The warmest water I found was in the metal tough but even then it was just slightly cooler or equal to the 60F outside air temperature.

I'm not much of a hot springs guy so even if the water was warm and extremely clean, I doubt I would have taken a soak. In other words, if the water isn't moving as in a stream/river I'll likely not be getting into it. The water quality in the metal trough didn't look so good but the water in the main part of the spring seemed clean but shallow. My dog actually took a walk through it, against my wishes, and sunk up to her chest into the deep muck.

I did not walk the whole area so I'm not sure if I missed a deep hole or saw the entire spring complex. I just know it was a pretty nice experience finding and exploring a bit in the Prince Albert Springs.

Mule deer near the prince albert hot springs

Animals Along the Trail
This is mule deer country! At least on the day I was there, I did not have to wait very long to come upon a nice herd of those long earred animals. As usual, the muleys  are not quite as squitterish as other big game I've encountered and was able to get rather close to some.

Overall, I probably saw a total of about 40-60 mule deer, a herd of pronghorns, many birds and a coyote. Not a bad day on the trail for someone like me.

Tim Bondy's Prince Albert Hot Springs Hike

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Trip/Hike Stats
Total miles hiked: 4.58 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 511 feet
Average Slope: 4.0%
Elevation High/Low: 3,674 ft / 4,137 ft
Total Road Mileage from Mountain Home to Trailhead: ~ 23 miles

Hope you enjoyed the trip report.

Bondy's Prince Albert Hot Spring Hike logo

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 March 2012 09:02

200 Yards to Teapot Dome Hike

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Want to experience an interesting hike close to Mountain Home, Idaho and on top of a historic geographic/geologic feature? Teapot Dome is one of those hikes. If you like this article please share it with your friends.

Teapot Dome Hike Feb 2012

The Prelude to Failure of the Third Kind
(February 16th, 2012) This was my third failed attempt to sit on top of Teapot Dome.
  • My 1st attempt was 1 year ago and you can read about that trip by clicking here.  I did not have the lungs to make it all the way up to the top during that trip.
  • My second attempt was in late 2011 and the snow and icy conditions scared me away before I got too far.
  • This 3rd attempt I tried a different approach.

The Hike “Very Close To” Teapot Dome
My plan was to park as close to the peak as I could and attack my nemesis peak almost head-on. So I parked just off Hot Springs Road (43.165376, -115.528147) and headed northeast straight towards Teapot Dome. If you don't know about this geologic feature, it's an elongated butte that rises rapidly once you get to the base of it.

The saddle below Teapot Dome near Mountain Home

I chose a steep draw I found on Google Earth to get to the saddle below the peak. You know, the best laid plans and all. And this draw was likely the best path up this mountain. It was as steep as I figured and climbing up it took a lot out of me.

Just short of the summit of Teapot Dome

Once on the saddle, I headed straight toward the peak itself. This portion of the hike was supposed to be easy and in retrospect it really was. Just a gradual climb and then a very short section of steeper terrain was all it would have taken. Instead I gave up less than 200 yards and 149 feet of elevation from the peak. Oh well, I'm not disappointed I gave up...disappointed is way to mellow of a word.

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The Stats
  • Total Hiking Mileage: 2.43 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 863 feet
  • Average Slope of Hike: about 13.25%. I'm more comfortable in the 8% range I guess.
  • Highest Elevation during the hike: 4,564 feet. Teapot Dome's elevation is (Google Earth) is 4,713
  • Distance from Mountain Home to Parking Spot: 12 miles
  • Number of foul words used when I called it quits: 2,147,204 give or take a few.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 18 February 2012 09:34

Photos from an Excellent “Dam” Hike

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There are “horrible damn hikes” and then there are excellent “dam” hikes. And this hike fell into the excellent dam hike category. Where does one head for a great dam hike?

Anderson Dam Hike near Mountain Home Idaho

(February 5, 2012) Looking for easy hike in the snow where I wouldn't have to trudge through 1 foot of crusty old snow was the plan for this Super Bowl Sunday. The other criteria were I had to be back home by Kick-Off. I got more than I bargained for with this hike Along Anderson Ranch Dam and Reservoir.

The Dam Hike
Parking on the north side of Anderson Ranch Dam, my plan was to head towards the Little Wilson Creek area about 2 miles up the road. And let's face it, a walk along a fairly flat plowed surface isn't exactly exciting or blog-worthy.

What I didn't think would happen was experiencing a blue-bird day with almost no wind. These conditions gave me an opportunity to see and photograph some extraordinary sights. So I wanted to share a few pictures I took along Anderson Ranch Dam and Reservoir.

Some Photos
  • Water Reflections #1
From Anderson Ranch Dam Hike

  •  Frozen Waterfalls
From Anderson Ranch Dam Hike

  • Water Reflection #2
From Anderson Ranch Dam Hike

Link to the full 8 picture Photo Album:

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:23

Snow Level Hiking in the Bennett Hills of Idaho

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So where the heck is the snow line in the Bennett Hills? How deep is the snow along any section of Bennett Mountain Road? Why you might need to plan 3 different hikes during the winter. Is Ron Paul a hunter? Is backcountry skiing possible near Mountain Home, Idaho? Find out the answers to these questions.

Bennett Mountain Road hike with views of Idaho's Snake River Plains

(January 29th, 2012) Needing to get out of the house, I planned a short trip in the Bennett Mountain Road area north of Glenns Ferry. The snow level was a concern as it would determine which path I would take. With 3 plans mapped out, Addie, my dog and I headed up to “the hills”.

Addie the Plott Hounds hikes with Tim Bondy north of Glenns Ferry

Ron Paul Makes Hiking Option “A” is a No-Go
My first plan was to hike straight west along the “Bennett Hill Front” where I suspected the snow would be gone. The drive up the paved part of this road had me excited. I could see that the route Plan A would follow was basically snow free. I headed up to the paved parking area on Bennett Mountain Road but encountered a hunter with dogs just getting ready to head out in the direction of my hike.

I chatted with this gentleman and indeed he was going hunting along my planned route. Not a problem for me except...This hunter looked and sounded exactly like the Presidential Candidate Ron Paul. It wasn't Ron Paul, or was it?

Snow line on Bennett Mountains is at the road closed sign

Plan B Option has a Barrier
Plan B was to drive about 1 mile past the paved parking lot, park and hike along a creekbed to the west.
As you can see from the picture above, the road was closed by snow. So I decided this was more ambitious than I wanted to get. Hiking 1 mile on Bennett Mountain Road and a few miles off-trail in 6-12 inches of crusty snow did not sound like fun. And if it's not fun why hike it? Plan B was a no-go.

Plan C is the Only Option
Plan C was the simplest and most flexible plan. That is, just walking along Bennett Mountain Road. And that's what we did. It was a nice 3.2 mile hike along Babb Flats. The road, as I mention was closed to cars and trucks but open to snowmobiles. I really enjoyed this walk in bright sunshine and warm temperatures. Bennett Mountain Road has become one of my “go to” places because of the easy access and scenic aspects.

Snow Levels At?
The snow level on January 29th, 2012 was approximately 4,400 feet give or take a dozen or so feet. I'd say the average snow pack was about 8 inches along the way.

Backcountry skiing in Idaho's Bennett Mountains

Backcountry Skiing Possibilities
I've never really thought about backcountry skiing but it seems like Bennett Mountain Road could provide some excellent places to ski. A lot of the hillsides are treeless and the hike/ski/snowmobile into these peaks wouldn't be all that bad for the person in good shape.

Thanks for Reading!


Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 08:28

Oolite Interpretive Site near Grand View Idaho

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Oolite? What the heck is that? It's not a new beer or some kind of new fad diet food. Read on to find out.

Owyhee Oolite Formation Site

The BLM has a “new” interpretive site south of Grand View on Mud Flat Road. This geologic information site is pretty cool and there is a walking trail on site also.

While hiking and enjoying the great Idaho outdoors, sometimes it's nice to actually understand the area to gain a better appreciation of what I'm seeing.

1. The Big Picture
How Idaho Oolite formed

What it says:
  • Extending across southwest Idaho between the Owyhee Mountains and Boise Front is the broad valley of the western Snake River Plain. Evidence indicates that the Plain began as a continental rift about 12 million years ago. Here, the earth's crust was pulled apart, northeast to southwest, and was stretched thin like taffy.
  • As crustal extension progressed between 11 and 9 million years ago, the Owyhee Mountains and the Boise Front responded by rising to their present height along faults bordering the rift. Now a valley, the Plain became a basin for Lake Idaho. Some 200 miles long and 35 miles wide, Lake Idaho drained south into Nevada.
  • Thousands of feet of sediment were deposited on the Lake's bottom over its 6.5 million years of existence, interrupted at times with layers of basalt and volcanic ash (tuff) from eruptions of adjacent volcanoes.
  • Geologist think that 2 to 4 million years ago, water from melting glaciers caused Lake Idaho to overflow to the west.. Captured by the Snake River, the waters drained out in a massive flood that gouged Hell's Canyon. The sediments left behind from Lake Idaho are known as the Chalk Hills and Glenns Ferry Formation.

2. Shoofly Oolite
Shoofly Oolite near Grand View Idaho

What it says:
  • The natural sculpture garden is a section of the Glenns Ferry Formation called the Shoofly Oolite. Oolite is sedimentary limestone composed of tiny ooids, which form when calcium carbonate precipitates in concentric layers around individual grains of sand. The Shoofly Oolite is one of the largest freshwater lakebed oolites known in the world.
  • Most other examples of ooid formation and deposition are found in wave-agitated sea waters or on the beds of much saltier lakes. Wave action that varied with the seasons, the weather, and the types of sediment in the water washed the ooids back and forth in the shallows on the southwestern side of Lake Idaho, depositing them from 2 to 40 feet thick on steeper benches near the shore.
  • Erosion carried away softer siltstone and volcanic tuffs but left the more resistant oolite to weather above the mudflats. Small, isolated deposits are exposed discontinuously across the 40 miles between this spot and Murphy. In some places, the upper surface of the oolite has been sculpted into hummocks, small arches, and intriguing shapes.
  • Beach sands of varying thickness underlie the oolite. Siltstone, deposited by lake waters, forms the stratum above it. Rivers and fans at the base of the adjacent mountain slopes later deposited a veneer of alluvium over the lake deposits.
  • The physical and chemical properties of the Shoofly Oolite provide the foundation for the unique set of plants and fossils found here. Few other lands in Idaho support such a rich suite of rare species in such a small area.

3. Vegetation of the Shoofly Oolite
Plants that grow in Idaho Oolite

The 5 Rare Plants in the Shoofly Oolite Formation

  • Mulford’s Vilkvetch (Astragalus mulfordiae)
  • Snake River Milkvetch (Astragalus purshii var. ophiogenes)
  • Packard’s Cowpie Buckwheat (Eriogonum shockleyi var. packardiae)
  • White-margined Wax Plant (Glyptopleura marginata)
  • White Eatonella (Eatonella nivea)

While the information on the sign indicated these plants are rare, in my experience only the White Eatonella seems to be the only “rare plant” in the Owyhee's. Your mileage may vary.

Coordinates for the BLM Oolite Interpretive Site on Mud Flat Road: 42.837189, -116.122149



Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 08:58

Stalked on Kicking a Plott Hound Creek Hike

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Getting stalked on a hike in the Owyhee Wilderness is unnerving even if I never saw a thing. Read on for more about this hike.

Little Jacks Wilderness and Kicking Plott Hound Creek

(January 17th, 2012) This hike was located on the very edge of the The Little Jacks Creek Wilderness in the Owyhee's of Idaho just off Mud Flat Road. I had a longer hike planned but a few things got in the way. Even though it was a short hike, the scenery and solitude was outstanding.

The Kicking a Plott Hound Creek Hike
I parked at the Poison Creek Picnic Area on Mud Flat Road (42.756916, -116.297625) and my Plott Hound Addie and I headed southeast up an unnamed creek bed. My intended route was to take me up and around a minor peak before heading back to the car on the far side of the mountain. It wasn't an overly ambitious plan at around 3 miles.

The Cliffs of Kick Plott Hound Creek

Heading up the self named “Kicking a Plott Hound Creek” was interesting. There were some cool rocks...white rocks with spots of smoky quartz embedded in them. And the creek bed was rather rough and tumble with plenty of small cliffs to scramble up. I probable kicked my dog Addie about 20 times heading up these cliffs. One moment she was on top of the cliff and the next she was right on my heels where she'd get a boot to the nose. Addie the Plott Hound did not seem to mind though.

Rock Hounding Find off Mud Flat Road

On a higher saddle, the creek bed shallowed out as it wandered up to its source on the south side of my first destination peak. This is also where strong southerly winds started howling. Moving out of the creek bed we began our trek up the peak. It certainly did not look all that steep as I headed towards a lone pine tree near the top. But coming down the same area it felt pretty darn cliff-like.

I did not have the lungs nor the will to walk to the exposed peak. The lone pine was quite high enough and brutally cold in what I estimated to be steady 30 mph winds. The sweat I worked up on the uphill leg began chilling me to the bone. But the view from this high vantage point made the effort completely worth it.

Cliff seen from Lone Pine Peak

I was cold so I suspected my dog was rather chilly too. She doesn't have a very thick coat of fur so I got on the downwind side of the lone pine and sat in a small hollow in direct sunshine. Sure enough it was quite pleasant. Warm enough to take off my jacket and drink some water. I fed the dog some treats and a whole quart of water right there.

While enjoying the break, my ever vigilant dog locked on to something down in the valley we just came up. She stared long and hard down there and issued a series of low growls. Something I've never seen her do.

Valley where a mountain lion or wolf might have been stalking us

Stalked or Not Stalked - I'll Never Know
My plan was to head around to the south side of the mountain and head back to the car. The winds were ripping and I did not feel like dealing with it. Plus my dog was spooked about something in the general direction we came up. I wanted to know what it was, so we headed back down the way we came.

I'm not a complete idiot, so figuring my dog would be safer, we kept to the high ground. If it was something like a mountain lion or possibly a stray wolf, at least I might spot the creature by staying high. So we cross-sloped along the side of the peak. And my dog stayed higher than me...obviously still somewhat spooked.

I never saw a darn thing all the way back to the car. And I looked! That doesn't mean whatever was down there didn't see us. But who know, it could have been a badger that spooked Addie.

GPS Track Map of this Owyhee Wilderness Hike

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Hike Stats:
Total Hiking Mileage: 1.75
Elevation Gain/Loss: 719 feet
Average Slope: 14.7% and my thighs are telling me it might have been even steeper.
Road Mileage from Mountain Home: 44.3 miles
Link to More Pictures:

The Land We Hiked
All land on this hike was part of the Little Jacks Creek Wilderness established in 2009. I don't know when the “wilderness rules” went into effect for this area, but I suspect cattle grazing isn't an acceptable practice here. I'm also not a “scatologist”, but the numerous cow patties I encountered appeared to be “not so old”.

From Kicking Plott Hound Creek Hike

Overall, the land appeared to be fairly healthy but cheat grass was quite abundant in places. While I have mixed emotions on creating more wilderness in Idaho, I figured the Owyhee Wilderness would give me a cow patty free place to hike. As you can see, this wasn't the case. Hopefully in the coming years, this geologically interesting wilderness will eventually return to a more natural state. There's plenty of land in the Owyhees to accommodate hikers and ranching.

The “Call to Action” Section
My call to action is to leave a comment and or question. Gotta be people out there who want more or who could use an answer to a question about this area. Got some answers? I asked a few question in this article...let's hear from you too.



Last Updated on Friday, 20 January 2012 08:38

Canyon Creek Near CJ Strike Reservoir

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Want to take a nice hike near a relatively unknown canyon less than 30 miles outside of Mountain Home, Idaho. Hiking boots required! See why.

No sign of Canyon Creek from the parking area

(January 12th, 2012) This hike along the lower portions of Canyon Creek has been a long time coming. I discovered this area on Google Earth a few years ago but my interest waned thinking cattle grazing and private property would make exploring less than enjoyable or even impossible. But neither issue got in the way. My original idea was to hike in the canyon itself but I'm glad I decided to take the lazy route instead.

Lower “Canyon Creek” Hike
This hike starts just off the Strike Dam Cut-Off Road. From where I parked, I saw no signs of a canyon as I gazed over the amber waves of grass to the east. I jumped the fence and headed cross-country with my dog leading the way. It wasn't long before I was on a low bluff overlooking the Canyon Creek canyon.

Beginnins of lower Canyon Creek canyon

Once in this shallow and very dry river valley we headed south towards CJ Strike Reservoir. Things started getting a little more interesting pretty fast. The lower or southern part of Canyon Creek carves out a gradually deepening canyon until it reaches CJ Strike. The beginning of the canyon is rather narrow and choked with old tumbleweeds and large boulders.

My plan was to hike “inside the canyon” for a while before heading back to the car. I changed my mind when I saw just how rough and tumble the hike inside the canyon would least initially. So I continued south along the western side of the canyon rim thinking I might eventually find a way down. That chance never came as the canyon got deeper and the sheer cliffs made a scramble down impossible.

From Canyon Creek Near CJ Strike Reservoir

I was content to just take a nice walk along the canyon rim as this wasn't planned to be more than a short easy exploration. But the longer I walked, the cooler the scenery got and the deeper the canyon became. So I continued heading south for a while. Actually I did a stupid thing by hiking outside the planned route I left with my wife. But being outside the canyon, I felt the chances of anything bad happening to me was remote.

Overall, this was a pretty darn cool hike. The views into Canyon Creek were outstanding. I did not actually think it would be quite as deep and dramatic as it was. I'd still love to get inside that canyon but it will take a little more planning, maybe some rope and a hiking stick. The rope would be “just in case”. I would classify this hike as an “easy to moderate hike” only because the off-trail aspect.

I believe the main reason this hike stayed in my hiking queue was the fact that I have done some exploration of Canyon Creek where it comes out of the Danskin Mountains near Mountain Home, Idaho. Who knew Canyon Creek becomes such a formidable canyon just 2 miles before the Snake River?

GSP Track of Lower Canyon Creek Hike

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The Stats on Hiking Canyon Creek near CJ Strike Dam
Mileage of Hike: 2.17 miles
Average Slope of Hike: about 6%
Elevation Gain/Loss: 367 feet
Mileage from Mountain Home: 20.3 road miles with about 2.5 miles on the cushy Strike Dam Cut-Off Road.
Link to Some More Pictures:

Heath of the Land Along This Hike
As far as I can figure, my hike was done entirely on BLM lands. Most BLM lands are heavily grazed but this area seems to be the exception. While I walked past some cow patties, this area was about as clean as it gets in southern Idaho. But the primary ground cover is cheatgrass and most dog owners know this stuff isn't good for them.

The Tumbleweed Road Block in Canyon Creek near CJ Strike Reservoir

Trash and signs of human activity were almost non-existent. I did see a few recent tire tracks and an old tire down in the canyon itself. Not exactly sure how a truck got down into this area but it had to take some determination and skillful driving.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to leave a comment or question for me.



Last Updated on Saturday, 14 January 2012 21:47

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