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. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Rock Hounding and Gold Panning Dismal Swamp ATV Trip - Smoky Quartz Pigs?

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:

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.


Comments (11)
  • Bear Putnam  - Worth a look?

    I am going to be in the area at the start of next week, I am coming up from Salt Lake for a convention in Boise and have long read about smoky quartz from dismal swamp. I always try to get some rock hounding in when I am out and about and am very interested in visiting this area. I was doing resaerch on the area when I came across your blog. Would you be willing to share information about there area, things to look for, places to go, places to avoid? Scouts honor, I am not the type to muck up your public lands!

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Bear Putnam: I will e-mail you some info.

  • Bear Putnam

    Thanks! Reading about your adventures makes me want the small town life again. I look forward to more!

  • Sonja  - Dismal Swamp

    Hi, I just read your blog but can't access any pictures on the link you have posted. I'd really like to see more and what the smoky quartz looked like. We bought 4-wheelers this spring and are having a ball riding them everywhere. My husband and sons backpacked into the Trinity mountains and loved them. Can you give us more information on the ride into Dismal Swamp? Thank you.

  • Dave Koch

    Folks, check things prior to heading up there. Large area, 4500 acres on fire as of Aug 8.

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Dave: Good point! As of 7 Aug 2012, the Rocky Bar Road was closed at Featherville due to that fire.

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Sorry you cannot get access to the link to my pictures. I believe it is a new problem for photo albums hosted on Google Picasa website. If you had a, and were signed into a Google Account you'd be able to see the pictures. I'll have to figure a workaround for that problem. Thanks for heads up!

    As far as additional info? Use the Contact Us form on this website and let me know exactly what info you want. Just understand you cannot get to Dismal Swamp at this time...I think????? There is a fire on the ridge above the Swamp.

  • melentine hatrick  - reactions

    I just loved it when you exploded with "that fu**ing pig" my first real laugh in a depressing boring day...thank you! melentine

  • Chris

    Was up there just before the fire that claim is bogus was wondering if any one has been there since the fire and did dismal burn

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Chris, I was up at Dismal Swamp on Tuesday July 16th, 2013. And that happens to be today so I am tired and grumpy. In short, Dismal Swamp did burn and in places all trees and veggie burned servery. It seems to be recovering nicely but will be a few years before it's safe to go back in the water again :D

    Not sure what you meant about the bogus claim. Did you check it through BLM, Forest Service records? I don't doubt you but throwing out a BS mining claim statement without any explanation is weak at best.

    I haven't really been keeping up with this website because of a few claims about the usefulness of it to any/all communities out there. I took some picture while I was at Dismal today so I may post them or I may go full monty and start posting articles (whilst typing naked :) ) again. Haven't really gotten over the "your website is crap" insinuation even 1 year on.

  • chris

    I talked to some members of the Idaho gem club didn't check with blm my bad what did you mean water is unsafe and did ya have any luck

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