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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Idaho Outdoor News

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Hike into Long Tom Reservoir with Video

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Long Tom Reservoir in Idaho
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Saturday May 7th, 2011: Last weekend I was out in the Long Tom Reservoir area (see this post). Today, I decided to head down to the reservoir to check it out. This wasn't Plan A for the day but the rains overnight was sure to make the original hike to Wilson Flats a washout. The walk into Long Tom along the Reservoir Road was muddy and “puddley” in places.

How to Get to Long Tom Reservoir
Highway 20 north of Mountain Home, Idaho take a left (north) on the Prairie Cut-Off Road/National Forest Service Road 131. Travel about 2 miles on this gravel road and turn left (west) at 43.283791°, -115.537994°. The Long Tom Reservoir Road isn't really suited for passenger cars and 4 wheel drive would be highly recommended at least during wet weather. The road to Long Tom is a rough and tough 2 miles. I parked on the Prairie Cut Off Road and hiked in from there.

Small Creek in Idaho
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The Hike into Long Tom Reservoir
The hike was quite easy considering it's all dirt road. But you can go off-trail in spots to get some overlook scenery in places before getting to the lake. Because of the rains on Saturday morning, the small intermittent creek along the road actually had water flowing down the canyon. My dog enjoyed a few dunks and drinks but then again she is more adventurous than I am. For the most part, the hike is all downhill.

What I Saw
This hike is in the typical sagebrush sea as it descends into the Long Tom Basin. The hillsides contain some cool looking hoodoo rock formations. I was surprised by the depth and extent of the Spring Creek canyon on the south side of the reservoir.

Sign from deer/elk and coyote were plentiful while walking the entire length of the Long Tom Reservoir Road. I saw plenty of what I'm pretty sure were chuckers, as my dog Addie flushed many of these birds from the sagebrush. There were plenty of song birds hanging out along the road too.

Idaho Rabbit Hoodoo of Long Tom Reservoir
Click for a bigger photo of the big rabbit guarding Long Tom

The main animal that was absent from this hike was the “human”. And likely because there were no people around, there was very little trash seen during the entire hike. Maybe because it was so early in the year or the road in wasn't vehicle friendly? In any case, there was one ATV track into Long Tom and little other evidence anyone had been down the road.

This area really isn't a place to rock hound. I saw very little of interest with the exception of some orange/brown rocks that could just as easily been chips from a brick. But who knows, there might be a gold vein or gems lying just over the next ridge.

A Video from Around Long Tom Reservoir and from Dirt Road (2:21 long)

The Statistics
Road Miles from Mountain Home: 18 miles
Gravel Road Mileage: 2 miles
Hike: 4.96 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 816 feet
Link to 6 Photos:

Open Street Maps Map of the Long Tom Reservoir Area:

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Comments About Long Tom Reservoir
You can easily leave a comment about this or any story on the BondyWeb.Com website. Why not let the readers of this website know what you think of this area or ask some questions. I won't bite you unless you leave some stupid message.


Last Updated on Sunday, 08 May 2011 20:58

Long Tom Reservoir Area Hike

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Addie looks at Bennett Mountain Idaho
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Saturday April 30th, 2011: Decided to check the Long Tom Reservoir area for some rock hounding, gold panning and to just get out of town. My dog Addie accompanied me on this trip. With the past week's weather I knew conditions might be rather muddy so I planned to stay on dirt roads the entire time.

Where I Went
I headed north out of Mountain Home, Idaho on Highway 20 and turned north on what I call the “Prairie Cut-Off Road”. Officially I think this gravel road is called National Forest Service Road 131 and heads to the South Fork of the Boise River below Anderson Dam. About 3 miles after turning on to the Prairie Cut-Off Road there is a dirt road heading up into the hills. I parked at this intersection and started walking roughly southwest. The hike was only about a total of 3 miles out and back.

Conditions on April 30, 2011
The dirt road I walk was semi-muddy and partially dry but a nice easy walk. At one point there is a gate you have to go through so don't forget to leave it the way you found it. I'm guessing this is a grazing allotment as all the maps and data I have indicate it's all BLM land.

Fence along ridge to Long Tom Reservoir Overlook
Click for a larger version of this picture

As far as trash? The lower sections of the road has its fair share of junk ranging from tires, an old metal barrel, cinder blocks and other crap. Obviously this area in squarely in the middle of the infamous IDS. Once you get inside the fenced area the trash magically disappears but you still get to deal with the many cow patties.

What I Discovered
My goal was to get a view of the Long Tom Reservoir from a ridge southeast of the lake. I've never been to this reservoir but figure I'll head out there sometime soon and get an up close and personal look at it. From my vantage point of 560 feet above and 1.3 miles southeast of the reservoir, it looked like Long Tom was still frozen. Yeah, I know it doesn't make much sense but that's what it appeared to me.

Long Tom Reservoir from above and southeast of the lake
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There were plenty of birds in this area and my dog got close (no closer that 10 feet) to a few of them. Addie flushed two bigger sized birds that were at least partially orangy-rust colored. Not a clue what species they were even after searching the internet for a long time. The road inside the fenced area also appears to be what I call a coyote freeway. Lots of coyote sign! Deer and elk have visited this area recently as their footprints were all over the road.

The views along this hike were quite impressive. House Mountain, Bennett Mountain and a distant slice of what I think were the heavily snow covered Trinity Mountains made the whole hike worth it. There are a few deep valleys I would have liked to explore but the closer I got to them the muddier things got.

Is this House Mountain Idaho?
Click to see a larger photo

Rock Hounding and Gold Panning
I forgot my gold pan but I certainly didn't need one. I suspect this isn't gold country and I didn't even get close to a streambed. As far as rocks? Not many surprises where found. Either old rhyolite and some less hard gray rock was the main stuff here. I found one small quartz “crystally” type rock and that was it.

Why? You Say!
These little hikes into the nearby mountains are a good get away and good exercise for a guy like me. I've rarely ever see another human in all the hikes I've been on so I guess not many other Mountain Homeys venture out to these places. Cannot understand why there aren't more hikers out and about but you should try it. The worst that could happen is you'd come upon a gold deposit and get rich? In any case, April 30th was the last day of "Unplug and Be Outside" (

What Say You
So was Long Tom Reservoir still frozen on April 30th, 2011? Why aren't there any hikers out in the local mountains? Know of any good rock hounding spots close to Mountain Home? Leave a comment or just get out into the semi-wilds and wave when you see me.


Last Updated on Sunday, 01 May 2011 22:37

Owyhee Wilderness Hike up Peak 5445

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Hiking, mines, rock hounding and cool geology in the Owyhee Wilderness

View from the Owyhee Wilderness

Sunday April 10th, 2011 turned out to be a great day for a hike in the Owyhee Mountains. Temperatures were near 50 degrees and the winds were relatively mild. The ground was drying out nicely but there were a few muddy spots that needed to be avoided.

Where was the Hike
Head south on Mud Flat Road near Grand View to the ~4,700 foot level found at 42.743393, -116.310726. From this spot you head east-south-east, on foot, as this part of the Owyhee's is now “Wilderness”. Keep on hiking until you run out of energy or reach your destination. Mine was Peak 5445 and it was a relatively easy hike.

Addie the Plott Hound likes climbing rock in the Owyhee's

Wilderness and Some Old Mines
When I planned this hike a few weeks ago my plan was to hike into Perjur Canyon/West Fork of Shoofly Creek. I knew I'd have to avoid some private property and hiking up Peak 5445 allowed me to do this. But then I discovered there were 7-8 old mining claims around the peak so these became my goal. I certainly cannot imagine gold or silver mines in this area due to the geology of the area and this aroused my curiosity. Again, this area is either private property or wilderness so you have to respect the rules/laws out there.

Mine marker in the Owyhee Mountains

The Views
The views in this area are quite expansive. From the top of Peak 5445 and even at lower levels one can see the snow cover Bald Mountain and the huge ridge called Rough Mountain. The view also extends over the Snake River Plains and into the Boise Mountains. To the east is the relatively shallow Perjur Canyon. For the typical Idahoan, these types of views are normal but for folks that are stuck in the Eastern US, these type of views are rare.

Twisted and Tortured Rock Knob in Idaho Mountains

Interesting Geology
First off, I only got to 2 mine sites and found nothing to get excited about. The rocks around them looked exactly the same as the ones seen during the whole hike. Maybe these old mines were underground and the source rocks buried?

On the other hand, the geology on the north side of Peak 5445 is quite interesting. I found one golfball sized “agatized rock” that was quite unusual. This was the only one I found like it though. The real cool geology was in the rock faces were some portions were obliviously twisted and tortured in the long distant past.

Location of Peak 5445
- 60 miles from Mountain Home.
- Only 6 miles of gravel roads.
- Owyhee Wilderness starts on the east side of Mud Flat Road.
- Peak 4554 is about 0.6 miles from Mud Flat Road with a short steep pitch near the top to climb.

Links to More Information
- An 8 Photo 160 Degree Panoramic Shot:
- More pictures from this hike:
- Map to the area:


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 April 2011 07:33

On the Trail of the Idaho Domesticated Slob

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Home range of the Idaho Domesticated Slob

Just to the west of Mountain Home is large area of BLM and State land that is apparently a great spot to begin your search for the Idaho Domesticated Slob (IDS). Their signature is quite easy to spot, likely on par with the East African Elephant or maybe even the T-Rex from prehistoric days. The typical IDS spends most of their daytime hours in the unpopulated regions of Idaho.

Seasonal Migration of the Idaho Domesticated Slob
While no research has been published, I suspect during the colder months following the snow line is the best way to spot your first IDS. During the warmer months, finding the IDS involves listening for the telltale mating call from a handgun, rifle or shotgun. Extreme caution should be used when approaching a possible group of mating IDS's.

Droppings from the wild Idaho Slob

What to Look For
Evidence shows the best way to know you are in a “High Concentration IDS Area” is to examine the landscape near any dirt or gravel road. Look for any of the following signs:

  • A large cardboard box full of small round holes set up between 20 feet and 50 yards from the road surface.
  • A large collection of multicolored expended shotgun shells laying on the ground near the edge of the road's surface.
  • A large concentration of broken glass near or in an old fire pit.
  • Deep grooves or tracks in the soft prairie from the IDS propulsion vehicle. These grooves/tracks are normally just off the main dirt road and will be visible for years to come.

Tracks in the Idaho Prairie

Tongue and Cheek Sarcasm Ends
Look, I know I'm still considered an outsider in Idaho. I've only lived here for 3 years and I'm still learning Idaho's outdoor customs and courtesies. just seems like common sense to pick up your junk after using our public lands. It also seems like common courtesy to take your trash/garbage/junk to the county landfill instead of making our public lands look like one.

In my opinion there can be no good reason or excuse for trashing our public lands. We are currently living in a period where our Federal Government is under extreme pressure from litigious fringe groups to close off large tracts of public land. These fringe organizations would like to stop all vehicle traffic from using our public lands. The Idaho Domesticated Slob may be unknowingly making a good legal case for these fringe groups.

In short...Stop TRASHING our public lands!

Note: All pictures were taken near 43.158181, -115.769833 on April 3rd, 2011


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2011 07:38

Boise River Opal, Woodpecker and Mud

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A short walk along the South Fork of the Boise River resulted in a few surprises.

March walk along the South Fork of the Boise River in Idaho

Saturday March 12th, 2011: My wife and I decided to get out of the house on this sunny March day and we chose the South Fork of the Boise River as our destination. With our dog Addie in tow, we headed down into the canyon below Anderson Dam around 2:30pm.

Surprise #1:
Excellent Opal Specimen:
Opal from Boise River and Spencer Opal Mine

While standing on the bank of the river, we found some opal bearing rocks that reminded us of the ones we pulled out of the Spencer Opal Mine last year. Picking up a few of these white rocks from the river and letting the sun shine on them we saw flashes of “fire” on the opal. Below is a side by comparison specimen of Spencer Opal Mine fire opal and a Boise River opal.

Surprise #2:
Downy Woodpecker

Idaho Downy Woodpecker

During our 1.5 hour walk along the Boise River Road/Anderson Dam Road we heard the occasional sounds of woodpeckers hammering away on a tree. But what surprised us being able to get close enough to this downy woodpecker to take a photo of it. Cool or what?

Surprise #3

Slick drive up the canyon wall:

While the road down the canyon from Dixie was a little slick in our non-4-wheel drive truck, it got down right scary on the drive up toward Dixie. The sun started beating down on the gooey spots and turned portions of the road into “no traction areas”. At one point in the road we went from 15 mph to about 2 mph as we lost all traction. It was a nerve racking few seconds thinking I might have to back down this road in such slick condition...lesson learned.

Go ahead and let me know what you think about this little exploration. Have a special spot that you think I might enjoy, then tell me about it.


Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2011 08:12

Who Knew Bennett Mountain Road is Paved?

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Paved Bennett Mountain Road near Mountain Home Idaho

On Sunday February 27th, 2011 I decided to explore the area off Bennett Mountain Road east of Mountain Home, Idaho. Looking for a place to hike that wasn't snowbound and relatively close to home, the portion of Bennett Mountain Road that heads into the mountains/hills seemed like a good place to explore.

What I discovered was, this road is actually paved right to the top of the hills. And there is a good parking lot up there also. I'm probably the last living soul in the Mountain Home area to figure this out!

The Hike up Peak 4686
When I left home I had no plans other than to take the dog for a walk and get some exercise along a dirt road. But once I parked the truck, the peak just to the west started calling my name. So we headed up the steep eastern flank of Peak 4686.

According to my GPS unit, I gained about 400 feet elevation with a max slope of 37% to get to the top of this peak. Yeah, I was huffing and puffing to get up there but not nearly as bad as during my previous Fall hikes. And the views were quite wonderful during the accent stretching south into Nevada and both east and west along the Snake River Plains.

Hiking Conditions on February 27th, 2011
Obviously there are no trails to follow so cross-country hiking is the only way to go. Even though my truck thermometer show the temperature to be 26F, the ground was quite spongy and semi-muddy.

Rocky hiking condition along Bennett Mountain Road

But it was quite easy to stay off the muddy stuff as most of the ground is covered with softball to basketball sized rocks. These rocks also made for a “not so easy hike”. I had to keep my eyes on the ground the entire time so I wouldn't trip every few steps. For the most part it was snow free thanks to southern exposure of Peak 4686.

Unusual Object - What the Heck is it?
Some things I find out in the wilds of Idaho perplex me. But during this hike I found something that I don't think there is an easy explanation. As I was climbing out of a rock depression, I spotted a home made cross sticking in the ground. From a distance, it appeared to be 2 sticks formed in the shape of a cross.

Cross marked the spot for Art and Mary

As you can see, the cross is actually made of two metal fence posts. But why would someone make a sign with the names “Art, Terr, Mary” and place it on a cross? This sign is less than 100 yard from Bennett Mountain Road pointing roughly southwest? Perplexing...or a logical explanation? You tell me.

End of Paved Portion of Bennett Mountain Road Map
Click here to see a map

Comments and Suggestions
O.K., let's hear it. How long have you known this road was paved? Leave a comment and I'll know just how “out of the know” I am about the Mountain Home area.


Last Updated on Sunday, 06 March 2011 10:01

Exploring Little Canyon Creek near Glenns Ferry Idaho

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Idaho's Little Canyon Creek and Emigrant Crossing Reservoir Exploration on Feb 26th, 2011

Little Canyon Creek near Glenns Ferry Idaho
Click picture for a larger version

Little Canyon Creek is located just east of the Blair Trail Reservoir, north of the Snake River and Glenns Ferry Idaho. This short cross county hike began at the Emigrant Crossing Reservoir and headed north along the flat sagebrush country before it heads into the Bennett Hills.

Getting to Emigrant Crossing Reservoir
Taking Bennett Mountain Road north, I turned on the well maintain King Hill gravel road just south of the Blair Trail Reservoir and traveled about 2.5 miles east. At the intersection of King Hill and Berry Ranch Roads I found a place to park close to the Emigrant Crossing Reservoir Dam (N 43.05061 W 115.28330).

The Easy Hike
This cross country hike followed along the east side of Little Canyon Creek as it head northeast. The entire time you can look down 20-50 feet into this shallow canyon. The sagebrush for the most part is easy to walk though but there is a lot of lava rock fields to navigate around.

Some winter colors along Emigrant Crossing Reservoir
Click picture for a larger version

The creek itself looked semi-easy to access by climbing down the canyon wall but I never attempted it. I had my dog along with me and didn't want to get her or me wet as temperatures were hovering around 25F. This riparian zone is likely quite scenic during the spring and early summer but in the dead of winter is loses most of its luster. Located in a relatively flat portion of the landscape, hiking along the canyon wall gave me a great view of the Bennett Hills.

The Landscape
The land from Emigrant Crossing Reservoir and northward is public BLM owned land. But according to my maps there is an area of private land along the canyon at the 2.5 mile point. I never made it that far but suspect it's owned by ranchers.

Idaho mule deer near Little Canyon Creek
Click the photo for a larger version

Even though this is public land, there was plenty of signs that cattle have grazed extensively in this area. There was also plenty of evidence that deer and antelope winter in this area. In some areas, the sagebrush was beaten down and striped almost bare. Bird hunters seem to like this area as I found plenty of shotgun shells laying on the ground along most of the hike.

Map of Where Little Canyon Creek Meets Emigrant Crossing Reservoir

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Comments and Suggestions
Got something important to say about this article? Leave a comment. Have some suggestions about how to make this post better or want more information? Then you guessed it...leave a comment. The only stupid comments are “stupid comments” and yours will not be stupid or annoying.


Last Updated on Sunday, 27 February 2011 21:11

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