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. 

 
You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Rock Hounding and Gold Panning

Idaho Outdoor News

King Hill Idaho Mule Memorial

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We were out near King Hill, Idaho on Thursday November 21st, 2013 looking for a new place to rock hound and just to get out of town and the house.  We came upon an unusual structure and a memorial for a mule team called Tom and Jerry just off Old Highway 30.

What Does it Say?

HERE LIES TOM AND JERRY
MATCHED TEAM OF JET BLACK, FULL BROTHER, JOHN MULES
OWNED BY JIM AND JEAN BROOKS

TOM AND JERRY WERE TOGETHER THEIR WHOLE LIFE AND NOW IN THEIR FINAL RESTING SPOT.   TOM AND JERRY HAD MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING THEIR LONG LIVES.  IN 1986 THEY WERE HONORED TO PULL PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN IN A WAGON AT THE CSI EXPO - TWIN FALLS IDAHO DURING A POLITICAL RALLY.  SURELY THIS IS THE ONLY TIME A REPUBLICAN WAS PULLED BY DEMOCRATIC MULES...


We'll let you head out to this spot and read the rest of the memorial and see Tom and Jerry's grave site for yourself.

Coordinates of Memorial:  42.970090, -115.156737    -   location is just my best guess as I didn't have my GPS unit on at the time.  But the coordinates will get you close.
 
Grave Site Yes, But the Other Structure Is?


Click image to see a bigger and clearer version.

This structure is located right next to the grave site of Tom and Jerry.  Don't know if it's part of the memorial or something else.  Let me know if you have the answer.

Rock Hounding Results?
As this was a rock hounding exploration trip I feel it necessary to tell you we found nothing of interest but had a good time doing it.


This is my Life Off Interstate 84 in Mountain Home, Idaho






Last Updated on Saturday, 23 November 2013 08:08

Rock Hounding Alder Creek Road of the Owyhee's

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Rock hounding off of Alder Creek Road south or Oreana, Idaho promised to be epic.  Or so I thought.  While the rock hounding wasn't great, the scenery, sense of exploration and future possibilities made this trip rather great.  In the 5.5 hours we were out in the desert, the sounds of a helicopter(s) off to the southwest for most of the day and the one truck we passed made it feel downright crowded out there. 

Pushing Further South Than Ever Before
This trip, on a warm Sunday November 10, 2013, started just off the Oreana Loop Road around 12:00 pm.  During our trip (click here to read about it) in this same area on Oct 27th, 2013 we only made it about 4.5 miles into the Owyhee Front due to the cool stuff we found.  On this trip, we decided to head further south and get more into what I'll call the old mining district of Castle Creek.  



Rocks Change and Change Again
The mixed-up cobble rocks of the first 4 miles we saw during our last trip gradually changed to a more white quartz based environment at the 5 mile point.  The change was easy to see even while riding on an ATV.  As a matter of fact, there were places where the shear amount and coverage of bright white quartz was pretty darn impressive.

We stopped for lunch, which was just a good excuse to rock hound, at the area where thick veins of the white quartz intersperse with pyrite/mica crossed the road.  While impressive looking, we found no real keepers during the walk up to the ridge to our west.  But the views from up there were quite nice.



By the time we got to the intersection of road and C701 and C707 down into Spiry Place, the rocks changed back to a more cobbly mix of  'leaverite' and much less white quartz.  We continued on C701 to the southwest and down into the Alder Creek canyon.  I'm beginning to think the buildings we discovered at the end of the road (for us) are old 1920's mining buildings.  If anyone knows, be sure to drop me a line...Please.

The Old Mining District of Castle Creek
The mining district, as seen on our topo maps, was our real goal for the day.  We figured there might be some cool rocks, gems and crystals to be had in this general area.  And if we could stay off “claimed and private lands”, we might come home with some excellent rocks. 



We searched low and high, wide and deep but couldn't find any really cool rocks.  We searched around old mine tailings, new tailings, streambeds, ridgetops and everywhere else where the topo maps showed mines and old prospects.  About the only thing we brought home from this area was one question.

What the heck were these miners seeing that made them dig deep into the dirt?

The Adventure Scorecard - 5 Stars or Worse
  • Remoteness:  4 Stars - While less than 15 miles from the town of Oreana, this is a remote place. 
  • Beauty:  3 Stars
  • Cleanliness of Our Lands:  2 Stars - lots of cow patties but human trash was all focused on the roadside for the most part. 
  • Rock Hounding:  3 Stars but the promise of a 5 star location could be just over the next hillside.  Frustration!
  • Wildlife:  2 Star - Birds, a snake and a few rabbits were seen on this trip. 
  • Overall Score:  3 Stars  
 
Links
View a map of the area at:  http://www.acme.com/mapper/?ll=42.93481,-116.42212&z=13&t=T

View some more photos at:  https://picasaweb.google.com/112532322025941965882/20131110?authuser=0&feat=directlink     (may not be accessible to everyone at all times...sorry)


This is my Life Off Interstate 84 in Mountain Home, Idaho





Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:42

Clams, Rams and Badlands Near Browns Creeks of the Owyhees

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(27 October 2013) A rock hounding exploration trip into the Castle Creek and Browns Creek area south of Oreana, Idaho turned out much better than could have been expected.  We did this trip on our ATV's during a beautiful early Fall Sunday in October 2013.  The rocks, solitude and hounding potential has me itching to head back to this area and forge further into this lesser explored area of Idaho.

Bighorn Sheep Runs

Just to get this out in the light of day...I've never seen a bighorn sheep in wilds of Idaho so it was kind of exciting and a “day-maker” getting to see one of these majestic beasts.  The area we were in is known for bighorns but I've come to realize these shy animals aren't easy to spot most of the time.  So when I saw what I thought was an elk by the canyon rim I smiled.  But once the bighorn started running, I could easily see the big curl on his head.  As they say “pictures or it didn't happen”, so I'll be heading out that way again...soon.



Clams in a Sandstone Matrix
Another discovery on this trip were the clam and other types of old seashells we found on a hillside.  The shells or maybe I should call them fossils? were mostly embedded in sandstone near the top of a peak closer to Castle Creek than Browns Creek.  

This obviously well known area (except to me) has a dirt road leading up to a saddle just below the peak.  The area is strewn with broken rocks where other searchers of fossils have left there mark.  Not that finding fossils out in this area should amaze anyone but finding obsidian mixed in around these sedimentary rocks might.  Volcanism and sandstone seem to be oxymoronic to me.

Want the location of this spot?  I'll barter for info on one of your rock hounding spots in southern Idaho.  As it says in the Bible (Rock Hounding Bible), “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a lat/long for a lat/long”.


Click for a bigger version

Badlands Are BadA$$
Spent time in the Badlands of North and South Dakota and found them cool to see.  But you expect them to be there and their scale is pretty amazing.  But in southern Idaho?  I'm coming to enjoy our limited Badland areas more and more each year.  I'm now to the point of thinking our badlands are just plain bada$$ and want to further explore these areas.  Of course it helps when the lighting is just right so it highlights their cool color schemes. 

The Adventure Scorecard - 5 Stars or Worse
  • Remoteness:  4 Stars - Hunting season on a Sunday with great weather and not one other person, car or ATV seen the entire trip.
  • Beauty:  4 Stars
  • Cleanliness of Our Lands:  3 Stars - Sporadic junk but cow patties seemed to be missing in many places :-)
  • Rock Hounding:  4 Stars
  • Wildlife:  4Stars - Bighorn Sheep?  That's an auto 4 Stars +
  • Overall Score:  4 Stars
Links
Photo album:  You may or may not have access to these photos.  Let me know if you cannot view the at https://picasaweb.google.com/112532322025941965882/20131027?authuser=0&feat=directlink
Map of General Area: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=43.007226~-116.375162&lvl=13&dir=0&sty=r&form=LMLTCC


This is my Life Off Interstate 84 in Mountain Home, Idaho






Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 11:39

Gedney Wash and Agate at 4940 Feet

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Park off Idaho's Highway 51 for Adventure

The Bondyweb Adventure Team (Tim and Addie) took an exploratory hike for some rock hounding along Gedney Wash just off Highway 51 in Owyhee County on October 12th, 2013. I found what I'll call “opaque white agate” but not in Gedney Wash. This cool white rock was found roughly along the 4940 foot contour line on the north side of Peak 4972. And this is my story.

Cooler Weather Puts Owyhee County in Play
The recent cool weather and some rain opened up the cool weather hiking and exploration season of the vast mountainous high desert of Owyhee County. I haven't done a lot of rock hounding along Highway 51 but Gedney Butte and the nearby dry wash caught my attention when researching a trip on Google Earth near Grasmere, Idaho.

The self-named “Gedney Wash” is plainly visible on Google Earth and dry washes are usually pretty cool places to rock hound and explore. So off we went on a nice Saturday afternoon in October. Only 60 road miles south of Mountain Home, a quick turn-off Highway 51 and Addie the Plott Hound and I were were ready to explore.

Where is Gedney Wash?
Click HERE to see if you can find Gedney Butte, Peak 4972 and the “wash” on the topo map. Or you can use the coordinates N 42.47267 W 115.86971 and your own maps.

 

No rocks in Gedney Wash

 

Gedney Wash is a Mud Flat Without the Mud
Heading east on foot through the sagebrush steppe along a dirt trail was rather discouraging. The biggest problem was the lack of rocks. And I mean, there were no rocks in what I have to call a mudflat dry wash. Trash and cow patties didn't help matters any either.

Should I Stay or Should I Rock Hound Now
I had to get out of the dry wash if I had any hopes of finding cool stuff. The slight rise to our south was the last hope before I would head back to the car. If rocks didn't start showing up and interesting rocks at that, I was heading back. The first cool rock I found was a chalcedony frosted rock that keep me moving forward.

 

Peak 4972 of Owyhee County, Idaho

 

On the immediate horizon was a slight peak and we headed that direction. I found the occasional piece of “opaque white agate” in the lower elevations. As we drew close to mighty Peak 4972, there wasn't an interesting rocks to be had. We headed north and down towards Gedney Wash where I started finding some signs of the opaque white agate. We hiked side-hill and found a good supply of cool rock along the 4920 contour line on my GPS unit. Trying to stay at this elevation, we headed back to the car.

The Results

Rock hounding rocks washed and put away

Here is a picture of all the rocks I brought home. And what will I do with them? Into the rock garden I have out back as they are nothing special...but they are cool.

The Adventure Scorecard - 5 Stars or Worse

  • Remoteness: 3 Stars - Highway 51 was visible almost the entire time. Otherwise this place is darn remote.
  • Beauty: 3 Stars - I have a soft spot for the desert.
  • Cleanliness of Our Lands: 2 Stars - Sporadic junk found along entire hike. Lots of cow patties too.
  • Rock Hounding: 3 Stars
  • Wildlife: 0 Stars - Saw a few birds and dried up deer, antelope pellets.
  • Overall Score: 2.5 Stars - Enjoyable but not going back again.

Link to More Pictures

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=4D25E44B90AD42DA!877

 

This is my Life Off Interstate 84 in Mountain Home, Idaho

 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 October 2013 20:31

Dismal Swamp ATV Trip - Smoky Quartz Pigs?

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(July 24, 2012)  Why would anyone want to head to a place called “Dismal Swamp” when there are  100's of places in the Boise National Forest with much nicer names?  The possibility of finding smoky quartz crystals is about the only reason...or is it?  

Dismal Swamp Idaho

No Real Plan
With my wife Toni staying very busy developing her “Cripple Frog Web Design” business, she hasn't had much time for some good old fashioned Idaho exploration.  Sometimes you just have to make the time so I gave her the day, time and Toni was tasked with giving me the destination for this adventure.  She was torn between a rock hounding trip near Atlanta and a trip to Dismal Swamp.  As we were enjoying the scenery passing by in Featherville, Toni was muttered “Dismal” and I knew had my orders.
 

From Discover Elmore County Idaho Daily

Through Rocky Bar and Up Trinity Mountain Road
We parked about 3 miles northwest of Rocky Bar and unloaded the Arctic Cat ATV around 12:15 PM.  With temperatures just starting to warm into the upper 70's we headed up towards Trinity Ridge Road.  This route is about as scenic as any place in the US especially when the view opens up to the south.  We stopped for a while to take in the sweeping views and to enjoy the many wildflowers before continuing west towards the Dismal Swamp Road.  

NFS Road 290 into Dismal Swamp
We've always had some luck finding quartz crystal on the road down into Dismal Swamp on NFSR 290.  Toni spent a long time slowly searching the roadbed while Addie the Plott Hound and I explored  the woods and did some bouldering.   
 

From Discover Elmore County Idaho Daily

As rock hounds go, we're more of the “low hanging fruit” hounders. By that I mean we don't really get into digging more that 1 inch or so into the dirt.  And most times, we don't even dig at all.  For our efforts on this day we found about 10 crystals, mostly of the smoky quartz variety but found a “triad clear” that is quite stunning.  And all this long before we bottomed out in the Dismal Swamp valley.  

The Swamp Monsters
Normally we stay well away from the mostly claimed Dismal Swamp area.  But because it was Tuesday and we hadn't seen a single person since we jumped on the ATV, we though a little claim jumping might go unnoticed.  Not really!  We heard rumors the Dismal Crystal Claim wasn't renewed for 2012 so we were going to join the other swamp monsters in digging in the creek.  It appears someone has an active claim down there and they ask other rock hounds to “repect their claim”.
 

From Discover Elmore County Idaho Daily

Respect the Ugly?
So, a certain someone has a quartz crystal claim in the Dismal Swamp area.  And this certain person asks the rock hounds to “respect” the claim?  While it is kind of annoying one of the finest quartz crystal areas is locked up by a mining claim, I can and do respect that law.  However, when that claimant asks that I give him “respect”, I expect something in return.  I fully expect that fucking pig  will respects my public lands, fill in the holes dug in the creek-bed and above all, pick up the trash heap located 10 feet from his “Claimed” sign.
 

From Discover Elmore County Idaho Daily

And for all the other folks that have turned the Dismal Swamp area into one big dug up mess and trash heap?  Shame on you!  And as far as I know, all the land in the Dismal Swamp is “public” and the claimers are just “legal squatters that are allowed to take valuable things from the land”.

Link to More Pictures:  https://picasaweb.google.com/112532322025941965882/DiscoverElmoreCountyIdahoDaily?authuser=0&feat=directlink


Thanks for reading and leave a comment if you wish.




This blog post is dedicated to the people in Fairfield, Idaho who seem to understand things better than other folks further southwest.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 27 July 2012 20:59

Rock Hunting Owyhee Peak 4189

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Want to try some wintertime rock hounding in Idaho? Hiking in the Owyhee desert is the perfect cold season get-away. How about blazing your own trail up peaks only but a few have attempted? All this and it's just a 1 hour drive from Mountain Home.

Rock hounding Owyhee Peak 4189

(February 2, 2012) This rock hounding trip was a long time coming. I've been eying this small but completely cool looking peak along the Owyhee Front for over 3 years. With obvious “volcano” looking characteristics, I was hoping to find some cool rocks. The hike was wonderful with brilliant blue skies and the usual solitude of the high desert.

The Hike
One of the problems in this area is finding a parking spot off Poison Creek Cut-off Road. Yeah, you can pull off the shoulder of this gravel road but one never knows how soft and gooey the shoulder will be until you get down there. So I decided to play it safe and park on the side of a double track trail heading almost straight towards Peak 4189.

Rock hunting trail to Owyhee mountain peak

My dog Addie and I headed south on foot along double track trail. Pretty simple walk that gradually climbs the further south you go. Once this trail ended, we headed off-trail straight towards the easily identifiable Peak 4189. Again, the grade is rather slight as it approaches the base of the peak.

Once at the base of Peak 4189, the climb gets steep and rocky. But it wasn't long before we summited out. The sweeping views from the summit are incredible even though the peak only rises about 500 feet above the plains where we parked. As usual, the winds on these Owyhee peaks were quite a bit stronger than down below.

Views from Rock Hunting Summit in Owyhee County

The hike back to the car was mostly off-trail along 3 different dry washes. We explored a few man-made objects out there and followed a few game trails. Yep, there are still deer, antelopes and coyotes alive and roaming the Owyhee Front. Plenty of tracks and scat to prove it.

Hunting Some Cool Rocks
The rock hounding was a little disappointing on and around Peak 4189. There is an abundance of bright white quartz and some near clear chunks up there. But nothing I saw made me want to bring a specimen home with me.

Mining claim in Owyhee Mountains

Obviously someone found something of interest on the flanks of Peak 4189 as there is a mining claim marker up there. Because the claim marker was just lying on the ground, I suspect the claim is abandoned. I'm reasonably sure if I had made a real effort, I would have found some cool rocks but this was just an exploratory trip. In other words, there wasn't any “low hanging fruit” just lying on the ground. I'll be back for some serious rock hounding later in the winter or early spring.

GPS Track Map of the Peak 4,189 Rock Hounding Trip

View Larger Map


Peak 4189 Hiking Statistics
Total Distance of Hike: 3.56 human miles. About 20 Addie Dog miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 553 feet
Average Slope of Entire Hike: 6%
Average Slope from Base to Peak: 20.1% in about 1/5 of a mile

The Land
The entire hike was done on public lands with a majority owned by the State of Idaho. BLM lands, as usual in the Owyhees, made up the ownership of the rest of the hike.

Cheat Grass invasion in Idaho

This is ranching land and the entire hike was done on the East Castle Creek Rangeland Allotment. Expect cow patties along any route you take from car door to the summit of Peak 4189. The predominate vegetation was unfortunately “cheat grass” with areas of sage brush.

The Rough Mountain Quad Topo Map show this peak has an elevation of 4189, while my GPS unit showed the (un)-true elevation at 4,140. I seriously don't know if my GPS unit is off by almost 50 feet or the 1992 Topo Map is wrong.


Thanks for visiting the Bondyweb,


tim-bondy-idaho-blogger



Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 20:35

Rock Hounding Idaho and Oregon Map 1

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A reader sent me a bunch of rock hounding maps and thought I'd offer them to other folks. I haven't been to most places on the map so head out there at your own risk. The maps look old but there is enough detail to get you close to these rock hounding places.

Rock hounding map thumbnail of Succor Creek Oregon area
View or Download the map:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TPzPXubDfJGQDqDJySgw526nfPzJLJ6NInd71d_5HkY/edit?hl=en_US


Map #1 Includes:

- Succor Creek State Park area, Oregon ( 43.507209, -117.132446)
- Graveyard Point area, Idaho ( 43.566189, -117.023519
- McBride Creek area, Idaho ( 43.280840, -116.938668)

The maps legend indicates you could find:
  • Agates with Saginite.
  • Petrified Wood.
  • Opalized Wood.
  • Wangdoodle Opal.
  • Queenstone.
  • Leaf Imprinted Fossils.
  • Jasper.
  • Thunder Eggs.
  • Animal Fossils...I think these are illegal to collect.

General Area Rock Hounding Map #1 Covers is shown below

View Larger Map



Use Map with Caution
I have no idea where these maps came from and no idea how accurate they are. They look genuine but old so use the information in combination with good maps, respect mining claims and private property. In short, do your research and above all be a good steward of our public lands.

Rock Hounding Data and Information Wants to be Free and Accurate
With this map and the maps I'll be placing on the BondyWeb.Com in the coming weeks, I'd like to improve upon them. You can help. You can be part of making this crazy hobby more enjoyable, more social and less frustrating. How? If you have a GPS unit that can record your travels:
  1. Save the file and send them to me.
  2. I'll overlay your travel on USGS “topo” maps.
  3. I'll put the location where you found your cool rocks on the map.
  4. I promise to make these new improved maps “open source”, free and easily available.

I know rock hounds are no different than fishers and hunters. We think (and maybe know) keeping your best fishing holes or secret hunting spots a SECRET keeps them uncrowded and the riff raff away. But sometimes it's important to give back and build a database of freely open and accurate maps we can all use. Let's start with this map.

Feedback Appreciated
If you head out for a day of rock hounding, please let me know what you found. Better still would be pictures and GPS coordinates so I could improve these maps. Leave a comment or use my Contact Us link if you wish.

Thanks,



Tim Bondy Idaho Rock Hound

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 October 2011 08:15

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