The forecast for Mountain Home on Sunday March 28th, 2010 was for temps in the 60's and a little windy. This was good enough to take our first ATV trip and maybe find some geodes/thundereggs south of Grasmere, Idaho.
We headed south on Highway 51 and just after passing the deserted town of Grasmere, we headed southeast on Rowland Road. This road is a pretty nice dirt/gravel road heading into a large desolate area of the sagebrush steepe and canyonlands called the J-P Desert. We parked the truck and unloaded the ATV just before it headed down into the shallow portions of Sheep Creek Canyon. This would give us about 19 miles of riding until we got to our thunderegg prospecting site.
It turns out that this area called the J-P Desert is actually a high plains desert with elevations in the 5,200 foot range. Combining this higher elevation with gusty winds in the 20-30 mph range made for a cold ride when we were expecting a warmish day. For the most part, this area isn't one of the most scenic places in Idaho but there are some great views in the shallow canyons and the distant Jarbidge Mountains.
Rowland Road and the other unnamed roads we traveled on were well graded and could easily be driven in a truck or car. We made good time as we headed south never encountering any other vehicles during the approximate 30 mile round trip exploration. Unfortunately we never made it to our destination today. With a paper map and GPS unit in hand, we still missed one crucial turn but that had more to do with us being unprepared for how cold it was. My hands and face were frozen and I just didn't feel like checking the map or GPS unit. That one crucial turn we missed actually was masked by a ranch house that sits at one intersection. In short, it was too much trouble to figure out if the road was passable by the public or a private road at 20 mph so we gave up on our rock hounding adventure. Overall, this ATV trip fell in the "good lesson learned category" but wasn't complete loss.
Animal Seen and Cool Rock
During this ride we saw a herd of mule deer, a fox in the Sheep Creek Canyon, antelope and what we believe was a herd of wild horses. There were lots of raptor type bird cruising the skies with one probably the biggest bird I have ever seen. Even though we never got to the geode site, this area is peppered with areas of some type agatized rocks. We collected a few samples from the roadway and were happy with what we found.
A Few More Pictures and a Map to See
Want to see a few more pictures from this ATV trip?:
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The Bondyweb.Com author
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