Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

The BondyWeb in Mountain Home

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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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Hiking Mountain Home Idaho's Teapot Dome

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Teapot Dome scenic prehistoric views
Click image for bigger picture

Hike Taken on February 13th, 2011: This close to Mountain Home, Idaho hike to well known geographic/geologic feature was most excellent. Covering just 3.1 miles and about 708 foot elevation gain/loss turned out to be a perfect Sunday day hike.

It was a warm and non-windy day in our area with my truck thermometer showing 54F when I left Mountain Home. The quick 30 minute/11 mile drive to Hot Springs Road and where I parked was easy on the budget. The last time I drove down this gravel road just northeast of Mountain Home it was quite muddy and slick. But on Sunday February 13th, the road was dry as was the little parking area I found ( 43.183847, -115.547574).

The Hike To Teapot Dome
The hike started on a dirt road heading due east towards the long and narrow free standing ridge line more commonly called Teapot Dome. The first portion was flat and somewhat muddy but once we started heading up the smaller peak (Pre-Tea) in front of the main ridge, it was dry and the scenery improved.

From on top of Pre-Tea ( 43.181464, -115.534761) you get a good view of the surrounding countryside. Water features such as the "Keith" and the "John Hoffman" reservoirs that I didn't know existed just 2 months ago are easily seen. The Mountain Home Reservoir and the City are also seen to the west from this minor peak. And all of this can be reached from a dirt road that gradually fades into nothing but a faint trail. Not that I advocate trying to reach this self-name Pre-Tea Peak by truck but it certainly makes the hike up much easier when using an existing trail.

I continued east down into a very minor saddle between Pre-Tea and the Teapot Dome ridge. Heading up the Teapot Dome portion gets rather steep and somewhat rocky. The grade I hiked according to my GPS unit was between 40% and 48% . All the rocks along my hike were just boring old rhyolite but on occasion you find a small piece of bright white quartz. What's up with that?

Teapot Dome Panoramic thumbnail picture
Click image for a very large version of this picture

On Top of Teapot Dome?
O.K., I never made it to the top of or the highest elevations of Teapot Dome. I hiked up the northwest flank of the mountain and made it to the 4,441 foot level ( 43.180827, -115.527576). The true peak was about 0.7 miles away and 300 feet higher. But the view from my vantage point was most excellent. One can see for miles and miles in all directions from there. The Bennett Hills escarpment is quite dramatic and has a prehistoric look to it.

Where the Deer and Antelope Roam
From "Pre-Tea and all the way to the 4,400 foot mark of Teapot Dome was littered with piles and piles of elk, deer and/or antelope pellets. This had to be the first time I've seen more wild animal poop than cow patties. I even saw a pile of what I suspect was wolf poop but who know what it was.

Video from This Hike
I took a video from the high point of my hike on Teapot Dome. Watch this 2 minute show of the scenery so you'll know what to expect when you make this hike.

Link to YouTube Video:

Here is a link to 7 pictures of the I took on my Teapot Dome Hike:

Click image for a bigger picture

Why I Liked This Hike
This was one of my most favorite hikes I've taken in the last year.
  1. While it's not one of those "wilderness, get away from it all hike" it certainly was a very scenic and budget conscious outing.
  2. Clean landscape. No trash or signs of humans once I left "Pre-Tea Peak".
  3. Prehistoric landscape.
  4. Way cool geology up close and personal.
  5. The vistas and long range views are amazing.
  6. My dog behaved the entire trip from door to door and I found out she really likes climbing rock faces/cliffs.

Leave a comment about this hike and if you know of any other hikes close to Mountain Home, please let me know. I really like well thought out comments and/or questions from people who have similar interest

Last Updated on Friday, 18 February 2011 18:56

Hiking and Rock Hounding Peak 4602 in the Owyhee's

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Addie the Plott Hound in the Owyhee Desert

Hike Taken on February 4th, 2011: A rare Friday hike provided solitude, cool rock hounding and some good winter exercise in the Owyhee Mountain south of Grand View, Idaho.

With the dog in the back seat, my day packed filled with water bottles, doggie treats, my camera and GPS unit, we headed south out of Mountain Home. Our planned destination was Peak 4602, a mountain I have hiked up 3 times already. We parked just off the Poison Creek Cut-off Road and headed cross country to the southwest.

More Motorcycle Tracks
Within 10 minutes, I saw evidence of a motorcycle traveling off road/trail. The tracks were not so fresh but they were plainly visible and rather disappointing. Why can't people behave and just ride their toys in place they should remain. Idiots!

Peak 4602 in the Owyhee Mountains near Grand View Idaho

The Out Hike – All Uphill
The first half of the "out hike" was rather flat and easy going. But it didn't take long before this out of shape old guy was huffing and puffing as we started heading uphill. My plan was to head up to the saddle below Peak 4602 via a deep draw. But the last time I was up there that was the route I took. Instead we stayed a little further west heading up a minor ridge line to the saddle.

Addie the Plott Hound enjoyed this hike as she lamely chased a few rabbits, chewed on a few old bones and brought me interesting rocks. Yeah, Addie is quickly becoming a "rock hound dog". In reality, the rocks weren't all that cool but she's new to this rock hounding stuff.

Once up on the saddle below our chosen peak, the rocks started getting better looking. Opal and quartz litter the ground in spots. Then the hike up to Peak 4602 turns steep and the rocks become much less interesting.

On Top of Peak 4602
While the weather down below was in the mid-40's with little wind, the weather on the peak was very windy and cool. I was hiking in a light fleece pullover and sweated quite a bit getting up the peak so we only stayed on top for a few minutes before I started freezing. But some of the rocks on this peak are quite cool.

The Back Hike – Downhill All the Way Baby
My plan was to head back down the mountain along a ridge line to the north-north-east. But the 1st 100-200 yards down was STEEP and "I was afraid my dog might twist a paw and tumble down the rocky slope". So we headed down on the same basic route we hiked up this peak.

opal and agates of the Owyhee's

Rock Hounding for Agatized Opal/Quartz
I have hiked Peak 4602 a number of times and this is because of the rocks you can find on the summit. Some of the rocks are quite amazing up there. Opal and/or quartz, some of it agatized can be found all along this peak. I also found some fine opal specimens on the way down the mountain but they are hit and miss, just laying on the surface occurrences. Use my rock classification and identification with caution though...I'm not a geologist and just guess what types of rocks these are. In any case, you'll have to work a little to get to this spot as it's about a 2 mile hike to the peak.

Why We Liked This Hike
  1. I've never seen another soul on this mountain peak or even close to it. It a relatively clean hike with little to no trash but unfortunately cow patties are quite abundant even on the peak itself.
  2. The rocks in this area are quite collectible for the rock hounder in me. Not that you'll get rich or even be able to do anything with them other than admire your finds.
  3. While this hike requires a 45 mile drive from Mountain Home, most of it is on paved roads and the gravel road portion is usually in good condition and drys out fast after wet weather.
  4. Cannot get lost unless your blind and with my new glasses, I'm close to being blind.
  5. I just plain love the desert in this area.

See more pictures of the rocks I found and some scenery from this hike:

Want More Information?
Leave a comment and I'll get back to you. If you're looking for directions to Peak 4602? I'll be glad to give them you but only if you promise to leave a comment after you go up there. I'd like to hear what you thought of it and what you found.


Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 09:13

Hiking Little Purjur Canyon of the Owyhee's

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Little Purjur Canyon and Wash of the Owyhee's

Saturday January 29th, 2011: With the Owyhee Desert just starting to dry out from the current warm and dry spell we are in right now, I decided to take a short hike. My dog Addie and I headed south of Grand View, Idaho on Mud Flat Road to a wash I picked out on Google Earth. We encountered some bad weather, weird rocks, motorcycles where they shouldn't be and a place to get away from it all.

Fog and Freezing Drizzle Microclimate
While it was warm and sunny in the Mountain Home area when I left the house, there was a thick fog covering the Snake River plains that extended right into the Owyhee Front. I had to stop the truck a few times while on the paved section of Mud Flat Road because freezing drizzle was icing up my windshield. This freezing drizzle was the probable the heaviest I've ever seen. And in place the visibility was in the 1/16 miles range.

Little Purjue Wash Hike To the Black Spot
My dog Addie and I parked about 1.5 miles south of where Mud Flat Road changes from paved to a gravel road. Little Purjur Wash is a self named wash on the east side of the road heading northeast. It's not a well defined wash and not a particularly a pretty place either. But the further north one heads into this wash, the more interesting the landscape becomes. There are places where it does turn into a very minor canyon with walls in the 20-30 foot range.

Black landscape in Purjur Canyon Idaho
This is a picture of the dark landscape I was interested in.
The blue line is a portion of my GPS track.  Click to see a Google Map link.

I chose to hike this wash because it led to an unusual looking spot in Google Earth imagery. The area looked rather dark and knobby in the imagery so I figured I could do some rock hounding in the area. I also thought the darker shading of the land might be an old burn area so it kind of piqued my curiosity.

So what was that black spot in Little Purjur Canyon?
Once I got into this area it was hard to determine why it looked so dark in satellite imagery. It wasn't until a climbed out of the wash that I think I figured it out. Some of the rocks in this area are quite black...but not particularly wide spread at least from my vantage point of 6 feet off the ground.

The black rock of Little Purjur Canyon

I broke open one rock and it reminded me of asphalt. It was rather soft and crumbly with lighter speck of material in it. Don't know what the stuff is but if you know, please leave a comment.

ORV's in the middle of Nowhere? - Jerks!
Obviously this is ranching country! There are a few ill-defined dirt roads crisscrossing Little Purjur Canyon so motorcycles have easy access to the wash. But from the beginning to end of this short 2 mile hike to the north, I followed fresh motorcycle tire prints. While I understand some people think this portion of the Owyhee's is ugly and their own little playground to destroy...but damn it all!

There is no reason for a motorcycle (Fat Boy Type) or ATV to be off trail EVER. There are plenty of established roads in the Owyhee's that you can explore. You give the vast majority of ORV'ers a bad name. And eventually the crazy crunchy granola eating, ATV hating, conservationist groups will try to ban all ATV/motorcycle folks from this and all Idaho public lands. So do us all a favor...keep to the roads and trails when riding.

Why We Liked This Hike
The hike in my so called "Little Purjur Canyon/Wash was quite nice. My dog enjoyed getting out and running full bore for about 2 hours. We heard the howls of some coyotes, saw a few rabbits and signs of deer/antelope. We also encountered the ever present signs of the ranching industry in the form of 1,000's cow patties. I certainly enjoy using our public lands. BONUS: how often is it that one can enjoy a hike at the end of January without snowshoes or getting bogged down in muddy conditions. The Owyhee's are an amazing place to explore. One doesn't need to "get too far away from it all" to truly get away from it all.

Link to more pictures:

Leave a Comment
If you have any questions or answers, please leave me a comment. I only ask you read the entire article, use some common sense and if you just want to be an armchair critic, expect a blistering response to your comments.


Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 21:17

Closed Public BLM Land Near Mountain Home Idaho

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Terrible Maps - Motorized Traffic Closure Ordered by BLM from the Hot Tea Fire

Hot Tea Fire near Mountain Home Idaho

The end of August 2010 saw a 5,500 acre fire erupt north of Mountain Home Idaho. The Hot Tea Fire was fought by at least 5 air tankers and ground crews from a number of State and Federal agencies. The general area that burned is located about 10-15 miles northeast of Mountain Home Idaho on the south flanks of Bennett Mountain.

Your Prison Term and Fines...But?
On January 27th, 2011 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a motorized vehicle closure notice in the burn area. This is a 2 years closure order, so starting in 2013, those of us who access the backcountry with ATV's have a long time to wait before getting into this area again. While I completely understand AND SUPPORT the decision of closing this area to motorized vehicle including ATV's and UTV's, our government needs to support "the people" too.

From the news release:
"Anyone violating the closure may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for up to 12 months, or both. Violators may also be subjected to additional fines."

Go to jail for not knowing about the BLM closure

$1,000 Fine and 12 Months in Jail Question – Where?
The BLM created and posted a map of the closure area on their website. This wonderfully colored map has all the lines and shading to wow the public. But the public doesn't need "shock and wow" maps. We need precise and accurate maps. If the government wants to throw me in jail and fine me for violating the closure order, then it should be up to that same government give me all the tools and information needed to comply with these regulation.

Information is What We Need
My complaint is out in the open. The solution is quite simple, cost effective and the best possible option for "the people", the government and the environment.

  1. Google Earth Overlay: Create a map overlay file (kmz/klm) that can be opened on the free program called Goggle Earth. "The People" just need to download this small file the BLM can easily create, double-click said file and the closure area is magically displayed in a scalable and zoom-able presentation.
  2. Free Topo Maps: Create the map on electronic USGS Topo Map. These types of topo maps are offered by our government for download and are completely free. The BLM should be required to overlay the "closure area" on these maps and offer them for download on their website.
  3. Signs: The BLM Closure Notice stated signs and fences will be placed in key access locations. This is great...But doesn't help me when I am deciding where I will be riding my ATV a week or a day prior to heading into the hills/mountains.

Clarity for BLM land closures in needed

The Short Story for Success
The BLM can provide "the people", the public, us dudes the tools and information we need to protect the environment and to comply with the law. The map currently available on the BLM website wasn't just magically created in PDF format. They used GIS software to create certain files and converted those files into what you see on their website. These same GIS software files will also convert quite easily into Google Earth files and USGS topo map overlays. Our government needs to promote, educate and more importantly, utilize this technology.

Help Wanted – Comments
I'd like to hear what you have to say about this article. Hate ATV's? Let me know how you feel. Want info on mapping and the FREE tools I use to plan hiking, ATV or rock hounding adventures? Leave a comment. Or just leave a comment so I know you exist.


2011-02-06 22:09:50Mr or Mrs Anonymous? You have some issues but I'm glad you wrote without reading the entire post or even some of it. So lets try to explain what I'm saying. Batteries? GPS? What do these things have to do with giving the public real information? Does a compass help in planning? The BLM Closure map doesn't even have latitude and longitudes. They do have Township and Ranges so yes, I can do all the legwork and figure out roughly where these un-named/unmarked roads are located. And so can 1,000 other people...but why shouldn't the BLM do us a favor and provide this data? Get off my ass? Well, for the last 3 weekends I have been out hiking. But you probably didn't know that so I'll forgive your total ignorance and stupidity. Catering to every special interest? Yes, if you think providing the data they already have developed to make the PDF map. They don't have to spend more than 1 minute extra to provide electronic files that are useful. Cost of catering to the public in this case? 1-5 minutes and server space. So let be pessimistic and say the cost would be in the $5.00 range Total Cost. Mr or Mrs Anon? Let's hear a little more about your trips. Where do you go? Do you hike? Or are you just an armchair critic. Give me a clue as to your interest so maybe I can pass on some current technology and maybe I can learn to use your technology for finding these exact roads. I also wouldn't mind if you highlighted the closure area on a topo map that you can e-mail to me. And if you had bothered to read what I wrote, you would have discovered that I fully support the closure. But don't let statements like the cut and paste below stop you from being a jerk. "While I completely understand AND SUPPORT the decision of closing this area to motorized vehicle including ATV's and UTV's, our government needs to support "the people" too. Sorry this reply is a little rough but when I ask for comments, I should have said I want comments with at least some thought and consideration put in them. I didn't think that was necessary but dumbasses like you will always exist. So from now on I will put a few extra statements in my posts asking for comments from people who actually read the article.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 January 2011 09:13

Mtn Home Idaho Army National Guard Photo with a Dog

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Color Me Stupid and Hang Me on the Clueless Wall
Okay, I've been living in Mountain Home Idaho for 3 years. I didn't know there was a Army National Guard Post located here. Company C , 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion / 116th Cavalry (HBCT)

116th Cavalry in Mountain Home Idaho
Click to see a bigger picture

Looking for a Place to Walk the Dog
On Saturday January 15th, 2011 I set out to find a place to walk the dog. Originally I was going to try a dirt road near the John Hoffman Reservoir off Highway 20. Plan B was along Hot Springs Road / Teapot Dome Road a little further up the road. The road into John Hoffman was taken by bird hunters and appeared to be quite muddy...a muddy mess. Hot Springs Road was better but still quite muddy so I headed back to Mountain Home and settled on Hot Creek Road.

Mountain Home and Idaho's Silver City Mountains
Overlooking Mountain Home and the Silver City Mountains - Click for a bigger picture

Hot Creek Road and the 116th Cavalry Post
Parking just outside the road into the Army National Guard entrance meant no mud for the dog to track back into the truck. We headed down the road on foot towards the gated portion of the Post and was glad to see the road was paved. The dog and I were also happy to find a semi-paved road following the fence-line that extended our walk on a virtually deserted road. So for a warm, sloppy spring-like day in January, this area was just what we needed. The dog got some much needed exercise (me too) and I got chance to test out my new camera.

Addie the Plott Hound from Mountain Home Idaho
Click for a larger picture of Addie the Super Dog

Questions and Comments
So, did you know there is a Idaho Army National Guard Post located in Mountain Home? Do you know of a good place to walk a dog "off leash" that is paved and there is little to no traffic within 10 miles of Mountain Home? Have you ever been to the John Hoffman Reservoir?  Leave a comment or even a lot of comments and/or answers.



Last Updated on Monday, 17 January 2011 08:34

South Fork of Boise River Trip – Jan 8th, 2011

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Sun and the Boise River
Click for larger picture

On Saturday January 8th, 2011 I headed up to the South Fork of the Boise River below Anderson Dam. My main objectives were to determine if my new Plott Hound dog is a "water dog" and also get some exercise. One of my objective in taking this short trip WASN'T to get hopelessly stuck but...mission accomplished for getting stuck.

Snow, Weather and Roads
I checked the weather forecast just before leaving the house and saw there was a 30% chance of snow. When driving my non-4-wheel drive Nissan Titan, snow is a concern so I knew I'd have to watch the sky for signs of snow. The skies remained blue bird clear the entire time I was in the river canyon. Temperatures above the canyon were in the 16-21F range but once I got down below the Dam, temperatures were in the mid to upper 20F's.

Boise River Blue Bird Day
Click for a larger photo

The road heading down to the river next to the Dam was a combination of gravel, dirt, mud and ice. The muddy section going down the steeper portion got my heart rate up as I slid and slipped somewhat. Once down the hill, the South Fork Road is totally packed snow and ice but easy driving. For the most part, there is a 6-10 inch snowpack along the river.

Getting Stuck in a Rut
On my way back, I decided to head into one of the plowed boat launch areas. Getting into the parking lot entailed making a 120 degree turn that my Titan isn't made for. So when I saw I wasn't going to make the turn (at about 3mph) I stopped and tried to back up. Well, to make a long story short, I didn't have the traction to back up on the slight incline I was sitting on. I was stuck in a ½ inch deep rut under my power wheel. Thankfully a guy in a blue Jeep from either Twin Falls or Teton County pulled me out of this rut. Lesson learned...carry some sand bags in the bed of the truck.

Snow along the South Fork of Boise River
Click to see a better photo of this picture

Fishing Report
While I didn't fish on this trip, I talked to 4 different groups. All had their fishing stories to tell and all were different. The first guy had been fishing since early morning and said the fishing was great all day. Two other groups of fly fishermen indicated it was a slow fishing day but they caught some big rainbows. One group of 3 fly fishermen I didn't talk to but watched from nearby seemed to be doing quite well. I watched these guys for about 10 minutes and saw 2 fish being hauled in.

Water Dog?
My dog isn't a natural water dog I guess. She didn't have any problems wading in the river but I could tell she wasn't thrilled with the idea either. Maybe when things warm up she will dive right in and catch a few rainbows for her dinner? Heck, would that even be legal?

Leave a Comment About This Article
Have you been fishing this winter? Let's hear what you've been catching. Been to any cool places this winter? I'd like new places to go on weekends. Just leave a comment.

Tim Bondy blogs about the Boise River

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:53

Winter Dog Walk and Jackass near Mountain Home's Union Butte

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View of Mountain Home Idaho from Union Butte
Click on image to see a larger photo from "Union Butte"

It was Saturday January 1st, 2011 and I was looking for a good place to walk my overactive Plott Hound dog, off leash. A good place for us would have no cars, no people and no cheatgrass but close to Mountain Home, Idaho. Using Google Earth I thought I found a nice place just to the west of town. It's a large parcel of BLM/State land with a butte I'll call Union Butte. Union Butte is currently being mined by a lava rock company just west of the Northwest By-Pass road.

Cheatgrass Galore But Lot's of Dirt Roads
While this is a nice place to walk the dog, there is an abundance of cheatgrass covering this land. Cheatgrass isn't a real healthy thing for dogs and for our hound type dog who's nose is to the ground a vast majority of the time, it leads to bad things. But it's something I and the dog can learn to live with. This area is crisscrossed with some nice dirt roads that makes walking pretty easy. We started from the "Northwest By-Pass" road and walked around Union Butte. This was a nice 2.5 mile hike in 18F weather but with full sun, it felt much warmer. I'll be going back to this place again.

Link to a map of the Union Butte area:  (I got the name of this butte from an old topo map)

Gray Toyota Jackass Driver
While heading south on the Northwest By-Pass Road, I encountered a total jackass driver. This jackass was either drunk or just a typical moron jackass driver who thinks driving like a jackass is cool. In any case, I saw this jackass rapidly approaching me in my rear view mirror. I immediately put on my emergency blinkers and pulled as far to the right as possible on this deserted road. The jackass driver did the jackass race car maneuver...swerving to the left side of the road in typical jackass fashion. However, jackass driver sort of lost control of the car and drove off the edge of the road and swerved back onto the road. Jackass then gunned the engine throwing tons of rock into my car and windshield.

Jackass Elmore County Driver

A Suggestion and Karma Bus
My only suggestion to the jackass gray Toyota moron driver is to take a large dose of poison and kill yourself before you kill someone else. You are not the professional driver you think you are but you have achieved the dubious distinction of reaching the "Professional Jackass Driver" level. Congratulation, and remember...the karma bus is always looking for jackasses like you.

I'd like to hear from the folks in Mountain Home. Where do you walk your dog? Do you own a darker gray Toyota and think you should be on the NASCAR circuit? Leave a comment or pass on a link to other folks in the local area.



Last Updated on Sunday, 02 January 2011 08:32

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