Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

The BondyWeb in Mountain Home

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Newsflash

(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 http://bondyblogs.com  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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Danskins Syrup Creek and High Country ATV

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 View of Syrup Creek area in Danskin Mountains

The Forest Service announced the Danskin Mountains off-road riding area was opening up on Saturday April 24th, 2010.  This was good news for me as I had a long planned hike in this area and wanted to try something new.  This hike was supposed to be focused on a geologic feature along a ridge-line south of the Danskin Lookout.

This geologic anomaly was along an earthquake fault and a supposed unusual rock intrusion in the usual Idaho lava landscape.  My thinking was there would be some cool rocks and hopefully something worth bring home.  The catch was the hike into and up the ridge-line would be a long and rough hike in from the Danskin Lookout Road.  I was a little, if not a lot skeptical I would find anything interesting considering that I saw nothing special on Google Earth.  So when I heard the Danskin Lookout Road was open for ATV's I decided to take the easy way out and ride into the area.  I loaded my ATV into the truck and headed up Canyon Creek Road.

The weather up there was cool and blustery but the skies were generally blue with some high clouds streaming in from the west.  I expected to see a line of trucks heading  up into the Danskin Mountains but was pleasantly surprised I saw very few people heading up into the hills.  My route of travel would take me down a road east of the lookout road while following Crown Creek for part of the way.  Once I made my way through the water bound portion of the road going through Crown Creek, my plan was  to head towards Syrup Creek.  Then I'd head back towards Crown Creek,and find a draw to hike up towards my geologic goal on the ridge-line to the north.  

Crown Creek before it enters a canyon
Crown Creek

Before I got to Syrup Creel though, I found a dirt road heading almost straight north and straight into the mountains.  I ATV'ed almost to the end of this unknown road, high on the ridge-line where there was some fantastic views of Bennett Mountain and the Snake River Valley with the Owyhee Mountain seen in the hazy distance.  I did find the rock intrusion zone I was looking for on this ridge.  And as I had feared, it was just some "tanish-gray-white" granite that is so common in the Owyhee's.  Just outside this zone I did find some "crystaly-not-quite obsidian" that reminded me more of asphalt.  So basically the small area I explored was basically sterile of any rocks I could even remotely say were "cool and collectible".   

I found the area I rode in to be pretty cool with some good scenery.  The road was still wet in spots as expected this soon after snow melt time.  It was also quite rough...not rough enough that a  4-wheel truck would have problems but the going would be very slow.  I never got my ATV much about 15mph while out in the wild portions of the trip.  Of note, there were a few marked places along the road indicating the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff on the Oregon Trail went through this area.  This area also seemed to be a place not many people visit except ranchers and hunters.  If the size of the deer/elk poop is any indication of the size of the animals that roam these mountains, I'd say some BIG ungulates call this home. 

More Pictures:
Here is a link to more pictures.
http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/DanskinMountainsSyrupCreekAreaATV?feat=directlink

Google Map:
Here is a link to a map of my complete ATV trip.  The route is highlighted in a "Light Blue" color that might be initially hard to see:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=http:%2F%2Fbondyweb.com%2Fkmz%2Fsyrupcreek1.kml&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=53.432436,135.263672&ie=UTF8&ll=43.391779,-115.706741&spn=0.3872,1.056747&t=p&z=11

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.



Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author



Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 08:36

Plan B was to Explore Pixley Basin Again

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My rock hounding trip for Sunday April 18th, 2010 turned into a sightseeing ATV Trip.

 ATV trip into Pixley Basin
 
I had my trip mapped out.  The GPS unit was all loaded with turns, waypoints and the location of the mining prospects I wanted to explore.  The only problem...I was going a little too fast to actually see the road where I needed to turn to get there.  I was on my ATV speeding along on Birch Creek Road in the Owyhee's at 12-15 mph.  I had to keep one eye on the road, one eye on the scenery and one eye peeled for the turn.  Something had to give as I discovered I only have two eyes.  

I missed the turn, thinking the road on my maps didn't exist anymore, so decided to head south into the Pixley Basin.  For the most part I had the entire area all to myself.  I saw only one truck on the road the entire time I was riding.   With blue bird skies and warm temperatures I decided to do a slow sightseeing cruise as I headed southwest into the lonely Owyhee's.  I hiked up a few short cow paths that looked interesting.  It seems like everywhere I looked there were cool rocks.  This whole area of the Owyhee's is just geologically interesting.  

It was getting late in the afternoon by the time I got about 15 miles into mountains so I decided to take a short ride off the main road and up a peak that overlooked "Black Butte".  I took a long series of pictures and started back to my truck.
 
Black Butte of the Owyhee Mountains
Click for a very large version of this picture.

I had a nice quiet (so to speak) ATV ride on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  Thankfully I didn't encounter any rattle snakes BUT.  On the way home I did get to see a mountain lion cross the road in front of me.  I wish I had whipped out my camera and tried to get a picture but that animal was too fast and headed into some tall sage brush.  I stopped on the gravel road (Poison Creek Cutoff) to see if I could find the tracks of this big cat.  No luck.

Even though my plans changed, it was an enjoyable day slowly re-exploring a place I have been a few times in the past.

Link to a few more pictures from the ATV trip into the wilds of Southern Idaho: http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/ATVTripIntoPixleyBasin?feat=directlink


Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.



Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author



Last Updated on Saturday, 24 April 2010 13:39

Hiking Peak 4439 in the Owyhee's

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Easy hike with lots of quartz, some opal and a few vugs.

Rock Outcropping in the Owyhee Mountains


Peak 4439 is located just west of Birch Creek Road (aka Pixley Creek Basin Road?) so it's rather easy to get there.  While this hike looked a little more strenuous on a topo map and/or Google Earth, it twas a rather easy hike.  This turned out to be a rather cool hike as the rocks in this area were interesting and semi-collectible.
 
Mule deer on ridge in Idaho's Owyhee Mountains

Animals Encountered
While driving in on Mud Flat Road, I paced a small herd of antelope in my car.  They were running parallel to the road over rough, uneven land at 25-30 mph.  Amazing creatures!  On my hike up a saddle near Peak 4439, I saw a herd of mule deer on a ridge above me.  They were walking in single file and watching me closely.  I'd say there were about 15-20 deer in this herd.  There were a few jack rabbits, flies, ants and plenty of coyote signs. 

Views
The usual scenic views can be had on this hike.  Being a peak on the edge of the "Owyhee Front", the Snake River Valley spreads out to the north while the rugged and snow capped mountains dominate the view to the south.  While the landscape isn't particularly beautiful, the longer range views more than make up for the very dry and sandy sagebrush steppe vegetation on this mountain.

Peak 4439 Vug

Rock Hounding
This mountain is quite interesting geologically speaking.  It wasn't long before I encountered large chunks of bright white quartz and smaller pieces of common opal.  There are also some cool looking rock outcroppings that are not the usual rhyolite that is so common in this region.  A closer examination of the a few of these outcroppings revealed large seams or vugs with opal and other unidentified darker type quartz rocks.

Top Map of Peak and Some Photos of Hike Links
topo-peak-4439.jpg
 Click image to see map
 photo-album-4439.jpg
  Click image to see map


Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.


Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author



 
Last Updated on Sunday, 11 April 2010 01:40

Bennett Hills Hike – Peak 5270

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Monday March 22nd, 2010 Local Hike Just North of Mountain Home

Peak 5270 in the Bennett Hills of Idaho

The warming Spring weather had me thinking about hiking the mountains north of Interstate 84 so I started looking around for an easy to get to hike on public lands. After a long study of the area on Google Earth, I found a peak just north of Immigrant Road (a.k.a Tollgate Road) west of Highway 20. There is a nice parcel of public land in this area so off I went.

About the Hike
The beginning of the hike was a little annoying as I did my homework and determined that all the land I would be on during the hike would be all PUBLIC land. But within a few minutes I encountered a fence that seemed to indicate the land was private as it had worn reddish paint on the posts. Or was that rust? In any case, I found a place to squeeze through the barbed wire strands and headed up the ridge towards my goal.

Looking down the draw

My track took me up a dry wash that got steeper and steeper as I went higher. The scenery going up was quite nice with old lava outcroppings and the occasional snow drift higher up the wash. The wash highlighted my path and being early in the Spring, vegetation wasn't much of problem. I wouldn't want to head up this wash in the late spring as prickers and various other plants will likely make this hike much less enjoyable.

There is a ridgeline on the north side of the peak and once I got up to that point the way to the top was snow covered, windy and exposed to all the weather elements. As I headed up towards the peak a strong snowshower moved in, the wind kicked up and visibility dropped to almost nothing in snow and fog. I was in a winter wonderland at this point that just added to the enjoyment of the hike. But as suddenly as the weather closed in on me, the clouds moved on, skies cleared and the wind died down. The views from the peak were amazing and I found a nice rock alcove on the south side of the mountain where I could rest my weary bones in relative comfort, while overlooking the Snake River Valley.

 A view of the Snake River Valley

The hike turned out to be a little more strenuous than I expected. It turned out to be quite a challenge for this 50 year old guy that is out of shape but still willing to explore new places. Much to my surprise, the mountain top was quite clean with the only trash seen was a few shotgun shells. This area also being a cattle grazing allotment surprisingly lacked large amounts of cow patties. As a matter of fact, the entire hike showed signs of heavy use by deer and antelope in the no so distant past.

Want to see the track I took for this hike overlayed on a topo map?
peak5270topolink.jpg
Click picture to download or view this map. My track is highlighted in red at the bottom of this PDF style map.

Rock Hounding Possibility?
This hike was quite sterile of any cool rocks unless you are into rhyolite. In that case, there is tons of the stuff in colors ranging from brown to chocolate brown to lime colored lichen covered specimens. There are better rock hounding opportunities elsewhere.

See more pictures from this hike at: http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/Peak5270?feat=directlink

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.




Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author




Last Updated on Saturday, 27 March 2010 00:36

March 2010 Owyhee Peak 4602 Hike

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Excellent Day to Hike in The Owyhee Mountains - Sort of

Peak 4602 in Owyhee Mountains of Idaho

I planned this hike a few weeks ago but life got in the way so when Sunday March 7th arrived with a forecast for great weather I was excited.  I was headed down to the Owyhee Mountains off Mud Flat Road to hike up Peak 4602.  This mountain isn't exactly the most visually pleasing mountain but it's easy to get to.

I knew there was something wrong almost immediate when I started heading up Mud Flat Road.  Trucks with motorcycles and quads where headed out of the mountains.  By the time I got near the mountains I saw a big gaggle of campers and trailer parked out in the desert and signs for a motorcycle race.  The usual solitude of the Owyhee Front wouldn't be there today but I certainly would let that stop me from enjoying my day.

I parked and headed up a canyon that would take me towards the base of Peak 4602 enjoying the scenery along the way.  Cross-country travel through the sage brush was rather easy and I was soon most of the way up the north side of the peak.  Higher up, I found a few widely scattered rocks with veins of common opal running through them and this is always a good sign.  Peak 4602 turned out be a fun hike that included some good samples of semi-gem quality opal which made this hike even better.  The views from the top were excellent with deep blue skies and snow covered peaks to the south.  

Video from the Top of Peak 4602

Overall, the entire hike lasted about 4 hours but I certainly wasn't in a hurry.  I took a different way back to the car through some cool canyons/washes that made it more interesting than a straight out and back hike.  I must have seen 10 rabbits during this hike which was probably more rabbits than I saw all of last year.  I also saw a lot of antelope in the distance from the higher points of the hike.

 
 Dirt bike tracks in the Owyhee's

The Bad Motor-Scooter Rant?
While I will defend the rights of others to use our public land for recreation as they see fit, I do have a problem with "some" dirt bike riders.  Common sense and following the law of the land are required to be good stewards of our land.  So when I was in a semi-isolated portion of the hike, well away from any trail, and saw rather fresh tracks from a dirt bike winding through the desert sage brush, I got a little annoyed.  People who ride off-road and off trail like this person can and will ruin my opportunity to explore the "trailed" portions of Idaho on my ATV.  People like this moron give all ATV'er a bad name and eventually someone will insists on very restrictive ATV laws.  Just know if I come upon someone running through the desert or mountains riding illegally or not be responsible, I will take pictures and follow up with the authorities.   

Link to More Pictures
Here is a link to a few more pictures of my hike up Peak 4602 along the Owyhee Mountain Front.  These picture are also "Geocoded" to show the location of where they were taken.
URL: http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.bondy/Peak4602On7March2010?feat=directlink

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 March 2010 00:17

Owyhee Peak 4957 – Trip Report

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 Snow covered Owyhee Bald Mountain from Peak 4957
Views from the peak

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.

Views from the saddle between two peaks
View from the saddle - looking southeast

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.  

More Hikes?
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.

More Pictures
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.



Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com webmaster

 
 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:29

Wild Hogs in Your Backyard?

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Bruneau Valley of Owyhee County has the dubious distinction of being the new home to the "Feral Hog".  Bad News!

 Idaho has feral hogs living here

According to an article on the Capital Press - The West's Ag Website , feral pigs have been spotted by wildlife cameras in the Bruneau Valley south of Mountain Home, Idaho.  This is bad news for Idaho as they can spread disease, rip up the landscape and can present a rather dangerous situation if you encounter one of these animals.  This concerns me somewhat as I spend  a good bit of time down the the Owyhee's.  

Hopefully this invasive species sometimes called the European boar, wild boar, wild swine, feral swine or razorback will not gain a foothold in Idaho as they can be almost impossible to eradicate.  If you do encounter a feral hog, I suspect it would be a good idea to report the sighting to the Idaho Department of Agriculture and/or Fish and Game.

 The track of a feral razorback hog


You can read about the feral hog in the following websites
The Capital Press Article :  http://www.capitalpress.com/results/CRD-feral-hogs-update-w-B-amp-amp-W-art--p-10-121109
Razorback Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razorback
Texas Department of Agriculture :  http://www.agr.state.tx.us/agr/program_render/0,1987,1848_5446_0_0,00.html?channel=5446
Texas A & M website : http://feralhogs.tamu.edu/

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.

-S-

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com webmaster



Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 12:47

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