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

Idaho Outdoor News

I moved to here so I could enjoy the great outdoors.  With Mountain Home, Idaho my base I spend a lot of time in the Owyhee Mountains, the Boise National Forest and the Sawtooth National Forest.  Most of my trip reports will center around biking, hiking, gold panning, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rides and rock hounding.  I also do enjoy trout fishing the small streams of Idaho.

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

New Idaho Topo Maps for Outdoor People

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Idaho Topo Maps for Rock Hounds, Hunters, Hikers and ATV Folks – They Are Free

Idaho Topo Map Header

The United States Geological Survey is in the process of creating new topographical maps for Idaho...and the most of the US. These new generation maps now include satellite imagery along with the usual elevation contours. This might or might not be a great thing for outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, rock hounds, ATV'er and hunters.

My Review of the New Topo Maps
I'm a little disappointed with the new generation maps for the following reasons:
  • They have eliminated some (a lot) place names from the maps
  • Old mine sites are not included and this might be a concern for rock hounds.
  • Elevation contours numbers are not marked as frequently as the old maps and peaks do not have their elevation indicated.
  • Currently available for only southern Idaho.

What I like about the new generation Topo Maps
  • The visual display is easier to read. They are digital and much cleaner than the old maps.
  • The satellite data overlay helps visually fill in data such as unmarked roads and trails.
  • They are free to download but so are the old topo maps.
  • Currently available for for most of the Owyhee Mountains and Desert.

How to Download Topo Maps
1. Go to the USGS Map Locator website at:
2. Zoom in to the general location you would like to explore and get maps.

New Topo Map Locations in Idaho

3. Click the orange button and take note where the "red hashed" areas are.
4. Zoom in even closer to find the exact location you want maps.
5. Click the "MARK POINTS" radial button on the right side of the page.
6. Click on the map to drop a marker. Click the marker and download the map to your computer.
7. Open the map in your favorite PDF program.

Visual Comparison of Maps

Old Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass in the Owyhee Mountains
Old style Idaho Topo Map

New Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass with Satellite Imagery
New Style Topo maps for Idaho

New Topo Map of Little Half Moon Pass without Satellite Imagery

From what I can gather, these new topo maps will be updated about every 3 years. It sounds like they will also be including more place names as the technology matures.

What Are Your Thoughts
So...what do you think of these new maps? I'd like to hear what your experience is. Would you rather use the old version or the new version. Leave a comment and/or pass this article on to others who may not know about the USGS Store and the free maps they provide.

Tim Bondy

The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 December 2010 19:14

WARNING: E. coli Contaminated Water at the Cove Recreation Area at CJ Strike

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The Bureau of Land Management has issues a warning to campers, fishers and boaters the drinking water supply at the Cove Recreation Site is contaminated with E. coli. No water will be available at this popular spot on the CJ Strike Reservoir until the source of the problem can be found and fixed.

CJ Strike Reservoir Site Water Contaminated

The Cove Recreation Site is located off Highway 78 about 15 miles from Grand View, Idaho.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this Idaho outdoor article.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 09:03

Crystals of Silver City Idaho Area Rock Hounding Trip

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Silver City Mountains of Idaho

On Friday, August 13th 2010 we headed back to the Silver City, Idaho area for some more quartz crystal hunting. Our last rock hounding trip to this area was on June 27th and it was so productive we decided to head back there armed with a little more information. We now call this area "War Eagle Flats" and it's located about 0.5 mile, as the crow flies, south of War Eagle Mountain.

The Trip to War Eagle Flats
We unloaded the Arctic Cat at the end of the pavement of the Silver City Road and headed up toward New York Summit. This road is quite smooth but getting dusty as condition are drying out. Once you drop over the summit you'll need to turn left at 43.027405, -116.722945 on a dirt road that gets progressively rougher and steeper as you approach War Eagle Flats.

The views along this road are great as you travel though the pine forest with sweeping views across the Snake River Plains in many spots. So take a camera and record some "Kodak Moments" along the way. After all, rock hounding isn't just about the rocks but should also be enjoying the great outdoors too. You'll pass by the old Fairview Miners Cemetery where you can see a few headstones from this 1870's landmark. The views from here are more than "fair"...more like "spectacular".

Fairview Miners Cemetery near Silver City Idaho

The last ¼ miles of the road before getting up on the flats gets very rough, rocky and rutted but the views really open up to the north at this point also. Once up on War Eagle Flats you'll see dirt roads criss-crossing the area and the many mine tailings. Again some on private land, some on claimed land but also some on open land.

What We Found
We found lots of quartz crystals. Most of them in the 1-2 inch range and mostly broken up. But there were there were the few gems we found that made the trip a memorable rock hounding adventure. But just because most of the rocks we found weren't large or perfect doesn't mean they aren't "show" quality stuff. Some of the rocks are chocked full of small crystals and cool stuff like chalcedony.

Rock hounding finds from War Eagle Flats in Idaho

War Eagle Flats
Coordinates: 43.001008, -116.703991
Elevation: ~ 7,700 feet
Description: War Eagle Flats is a large open area on the south flank of War Eagle Mountain in the Silver City area. There are many old mine tailings in this area and "some" sit on public land so rock hounding is legal. Many of these tailings are on private or legally claimed lands so you have to do your homework before heading up there.
- A bag to place your rocks in.
- A digging tool but this isn't really necessary as most cool rocks are sitting on the surface. No reason to dig into this semi-sensitive alpine soil.
- Google Earth.
- The GeoCommunicator website
- A GPS Unit to keep you on public land.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this rock hounding adventure.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Monday, 23 August 2010 06:19

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