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.

Hike to Boardman Pass in the Pioneer Mtns.

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Boardman Pass in the Pioneer Mountains of Idaho
Low point on the ridge is Boardman Pass

On Saurday July 11th, 2009 I headed out of Mountain Home, Idaho on Highway 20. My destination was Boardman Peak in the Pioneer Mountains north of Hill City. Armed with my GPS unit, camera and directions to get to the trailhead, I pulled off Highway 20 and made my way into the foothills. Of course I got turned around and made a few wrong turns while looking for the trailhead. But once I found the parking area, I easily found the trail was was headed towards Boardman Peak.

I did a lot of map research for this trip and nowhere does it indicate that Sheep Trail is a continuous trail headed into these mountain. Good news, Sheep Trail is quite easy to find and follow, meaning cross country hiking isn't necessary. Because Sheep Trail was such an easy to follow but also steep and rugged trail, I decided I would hike where ever the tail lead me. The trail goes straight to Boardman Pass and not Boardman Peak.

Lush greeness on Sheep Trail in Idaho

Sheep Trail / a.k.a. The Boardman Pass Trail
Sheep Trail is a well established hiking and motorcycling trail that starts at about 6,600 feet and heads straight north towards Boardman Pass at about 8,440 feet. In short, this trail is rather steep in many places and can be difficult for those not in good shape (Me, for example). I expected a wide open hike with few trees, as that is how it looks on Google Earth. In reality the route is quite scenic with much flora and fauna to keep the hiker occupied. Once you get into the higher elevations, the vista's really open up and "you can see for miles and miles".

There are a few water crossing on Sheep Trail. Only one was of any concern on this July 2009 trip and that creek crossing was Lime Creek. It was a pretty easy step stone across where my feet hardly got wet. The other creeks are very small and one can easily step over or around the water course.

The bad part about this trail is its overall condition. Some pretty long and steep stretches are deeply rutted and erosion-prone. These deep ruts are only about 6-9 inches wide resulting in having to hike like you are walking on a balance beam. And did I mention it was steep in these parts?

Snowbank in July 2009 - High in the Pioneers 

The Pass
Once you get to Boardman Pass the views are wonderful. The sweeping views to the north and south kept me occupied for quite a while. From this pass, cross country hikes towards Smoky Dome or Boardman Peak on this ridgeline could extend your hiking day. Even this late in the year, there was still a pretty substantial snowbank on the north side of the ridge to cool down on.

More Pictures

Link to picture slideshow:

Driving Directions (Cut and paste from IdahoSummits.Com website but with a few corrections and additions)
From Highway 20, turn north (left if coming from Boise, right if coming from Fairfield) at virtual mile marker 144.2 on 800 W. Follow 800 W for 1.9 miles to 200 N. Turn left/west. Follow 200 N for 2.7 miles and turn right onto 1100 W. Drive 1 mile and pass a large parking lot. Just past the parking lot, turn left onto the road signed "Chimney Creek/Ear Creek Corrals". This road is dirt, but free of rock, so accessible by cars. Follow Forest Service Road 484 for about 8.5 miles to the Ear Creek Corrals. Just past the Ear Creek Corrals, the road banks left. At 9.5 miles you reach the trailhead, which consists a registration box (no longer empty) and message board (with some things posted on it). The Sheep Trail is the right fork heading north, not the road continuing west.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:05

2009 Daniel Dopps Memorial Rodeo

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Daniel Dopps 2005

Good Time for a Good Cause in Mountain Home, Idaho - The Rodeo!

Ramona Dopps, Daniel Doops' mother asked me to help get the word out about the Daniel Dopps Memorial Dodge PRCA Rodeo. I went to this rodeo last year and had a great time. Unfortunately I will be out of town during this years rodeo.

When: Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th at 7:00 PM.
Where: Optimist Park in Mountain Home, Idaho
Why: In memory of Daniel Dopps who died way too young doing something he loved. Rodeo was part of Daniel's life but a tragic event unfolded on August 6th, 2005 and a fine young man only 19 years old passed away the next day. (

Pre-Sales: Adults $7.00 / Military, Seniors $ 6.00 / Child (6-12) $ 5.00
At the Gate: Adults $9.00 / Military, Seniors $ 8.00 / Child (6-12) $ 5.00


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:05

Solitude on James Creek in the Boise Mountains

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Rocky Bar's James Creek Road on a Mountain Bike - Road Closed

 Views from James Creek Road in Idaho
Typical Mountain Views from this area of Idaho

On Saturday May 30th, 2009 I decided I would take a short bicycle trip up James Creek Road that heads to the northeast out of Rocky Bar, Idaho towards Atlanta. The Boise National Forest office in Mountain Home said this road was still closed for the season but hiking, horses and mountain bikes were allowed to use it. So at 12:00PM, I was on my bike and headed up the road with a starting temperature of about 75F.

James Creek Road is a gravel road that steadily climbs from Rocky Bar to the James Creek Summit and then back down to Atlanta. With Rocky Bar at about 5,300 feet and James Creek Summit at 7,600 feet, I wasn't expecting to make it up to the snowbound section of the road. My goal was to get to the bridge crossing of a creek called Elk Creek. Overall, the gravel/dirt road was in good shape but there are a few places where the road got slight landslided on.

 Elk Creek Waterfalls and my Mountain Bike
Good place to rest on a hot day.  The spray from the waterfalls cools down the area.

Characterization of the Area

This little portion of Idaho could be characterized as a trail that follows a nicely treed creek bed with some awesome views of the surrounding mountains. There are quite a number of places one could camp in relative solitude. Off the road, the terrain is rather steep in most places but for the adventurous souls, some cross country hiking could lead to even better views and fun times. If the sheer amount of tracks are any indication of how many deer live in this area, then I'd say it's highly populated with them.

Things I Saw

The Elk Creek waterfall where it crosses James Creek Road was running very high on this day. I stopped for a while and rested while taking in the scenery. Definitely a place to see during the Spring melt season. I also encountered a very curious mule deer on the road. This deer actually saw/heard me and instead of running away, it actually came towards me to see what I was. There were thunderstorms in the area almost the entire time I was out there. I never got rained on but one lightening strike hit rather close by around 12:45PM making me say the least. One of the best part of the whole trip was what I didn't see or hear. I was totally alone (I think) on a warm Saturday in the Boise Mountains at the end of May.

Curious Deer approaches mountain biker on dirt road
The unique Idaho Attacking Deer?  Nah, just curious!


Date: 30 May 2009
Who: Tim Bondy from the
Distance Covered: About 10 Miles or 5 miles up the road and 5 miles back.
Altitude Change: From about 5300 feet at the start of the ride to 6650 feet before turning around.
Top Speed on my Bike: 23mph
Best Season: Early May until the James Creek Road opens for the season. I'd avoid trying this on a mountain bike when there are cars and trucks on the road.
Biking Fun Factor: Very high on the way down the road but low heading up the road.
Scenic Factor: Very high!
Exploration Factor: Medium as it's a dirt road.

Downtown Rocky Bar Idaho
Rock Bar Idaho.  May 30th, 2009

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:05

Mountain Biking in the Owyhee's Trip Report

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Saturday March 21st 2009 marked the end of winter for me and the start of the fun season in Idaho. With temperatures in the mid 60's and skies clearing I headed south out of Mountain Home, Idaho for a quick mountain bike ride.

Bluebird skies and mtn biking in the owyhee's
The skies clear as I get ready to hit the trail

I was headed to Mud Flat Road south of Grand View and a jeep trail I found on Google Earth. It started sprinkling just south of Mountain Home and I had rain intermittent rain most of the way to my destination. Once I found the trail and got my bike out of the back of the truck, the sun started shining and I was ready to go.

High above Mud Flat Road
My truck is highlighted from a vantage point atop the first climb.

The double track trail was surprisingly dry considering the recent rain showers that was moved over this area. I started up the first part of the trail and discovered my lungs were not ready for even a short steep segment of the trail.

There were a few washes/creek beds along the trail that I explored on foot. These were filled with may different types of footprints...Mainly rabbits, coyotes, deer and maybe antelopes. Being a very amateur rock hound I also kept my out for interesting rocks but all I found were "leaveitrights" which seem to be common in this area.

Animal tracks Human Tracks and Bike Track in the Owyhee's
Soft sandy trails make for rough biking but good animal tracking

Parts of the trail were very soft and sandy that makes the riding hard especially when going slowly uphill (is there any other way to go uphill?). But speed was not the objective for this ride. The objective was to find my bike legs and start getting into shape. I think both these objectives were met on this easy trail.

 rRain in the Owyhee Mountains
Darker clouds moving in from the southwest cut my bike trip short

I knew this ride was going to be an "out and back" trip with no specific place to turn around. The skies started getting cloudy and rain was on the way. I knew there was a nice creek bed on the east side of the road and decided to check it out. This place had a fair amount of old dried bones scattered throughout wash. I suspect coyotes like this area and tend to find prey easy to catch in and around the creekbed. Thus I named this geographic spot "Bones Wash".

 Dry old bones of Bones Wash Idaho
The bones of "Bones Wash" in the Owyhee Mountains

After about 15 minutes of exploring this area I knew I had to get moving before I got caught in some heavy rains. Thankfully the road back to my truck was mainly downhill and a much quicker ride. As I approached the last downhill of the double track, the skies opened up with some heavy rains.

Overall, this first mountain bike ride of the season was great. I love the rough desert scenery in and around the Owyhee Mountains. I doubt anyone into serious mountain biking would enjoy this trail as it is 99% non-technical but for an old guy like me, this is the perfect spot to ride. Hopefully I will improve both my biking skills and endurance enough to ride higher and deeper into this cool mountain range.

Map of my short ride:
View Larger Map

Other Information:
Date of ride and pictures: 21 March 2009
Photographer: Tim Bondy
Additional Pictures/Slideshow Address:
Video of ride featuring the music of Josh Woodward can be found at:
Mileage to Mud Flat Parking Spot:  Mountain Home is 45 Miles;  Boise Airport is 88 miles

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:48

Easy Day on a Rough Birch Creek Road - Owyhee's

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Views from Pixley Basin in Idaho

On Sunday. April 19th, 2009 my wife, dog and I headed down to the Owyhee's for little easy hiking. We left Mountain Home around 11:30AM and headed south after filling up with gas. The temperature was around 58F with blue, blue skies.

Our general destination is what I call Birch Creek Road but might be better known as BLM Road 3724 or something else. For lack of a better name, this road will be known as Birch Creek unless someone has a better name. We headed through Grand View and drove west on the Grand View Highway for about 8 miles before turning south on a gravel road called "Missile Base Road". This road intersects the Poison Creek Cutoff at the foot of the Owyhee Mountain. From this intersection the road becomes quite rough but easily passable in my non-four-wheel drive truck.

Toni Looking for Smoky Quartz

After about 6.5 miles and one closed gate, I expected to find a small turn off in the Pixley Basin that headed up a cool looking gulch. Using our GPS unit, we drove right passed the turn-off not ever seeing a spot big enough to park the truck in. At this point in the road, it is a very narrow bumpy dirt/sandy road so we couldn't stop. We continued west on Birch Creek road looking for a parking spot and/or a turn-around. We eventually found a place to turn around but decided to stop, stretch our legs and explore first. We found some cool looking rocks that might have had embedded silver in them plus some poor examples of smoky quartz. While the scenery at the place we stopped was quite nice, we needed to find a proper place to park and explore.

We turned around headed back the way we came. We did a slow drive-by of what I'll call Pixley Gulch but is really an unnamed draw. There just wasn't any place to park near our gulch so we continued to head back east. We came upon a wide spot in the road that wasn't exactly the most beautiful spot but did have a road headed up a hillside. We park and got out just before a couple of ATV'ers came by. The two young men stop to talk to us. In short, they told us they spotted many deer and antelope plus a mountain lion well off to the west and south. Those two guys took off and we headed up the hillside but my dog's enlarged heart wasn't into it. I stayed with the dog and my wife continued up and up and over the top of the hill for some rock hunting and scenery looking.

 Great vista's during an Idaho off road trip

While we didn't get to hike the steep river gully we wanted, we still enjoyed our trip out to the Owyhee's, the scenery and made plans to come back to these enjoyable but primitive "deserty" mountains.

There are more cows than people in the Owyhee's
We only saw two other people but many more cows on this trip

Date: 19 April 2009
Author: Tim Bondy - Photographer: Tim and Toni Bondy
Contributing Editor: Minnie Dog Bondy
Where: Along BLM Road 3724 or Birch Creek Road to the Pixley Basin in the Owyhee Mountains of Idaho
Mileage: From Mountain Home, Idaho about 56 miles

More Pictures
Web Address of the above Slideshow of our Owyhee Trip Report is:

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:06

Castle Creek ATV Trip Report

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 Arctic Cat 500 Two Seater

Finally did the deed. Bought a 4-wheeler so we can explore Idaho a littler easier and we did some exploring on May 9th, 2009. Our destination was the Owyhee Desert/Mountains south of Grand View Idaho. It's hard to actually tell you the name of gateway we took to get into the mountains as the names seem to change with each mapping service I use. Today, I will use the "Castle Creek Road" name but it is the same road we took on April 19th highlighted at this link .  I called the road Birch Creek or Pixley Creek back then.

ATV Explanation and Disclaimer First
I bought my ATV strictly to explore. Explore the parts of Idaho that are rather difficult to get into without hours or even days of hiking or biking. To me, exploring on an ATV means staying on dirt roads wide enough to accommodate my 50 inch ATV wheel base without driving over vegetation. I'm not out there to set speed records or kick up a huge dusty rooster tail. In short, the less noise and impact on the land, animals, plants and people the more happy I am. BUT...I refuse to live in my new home State of Idaho without exploring every possible place before I die. If you don't like the idea of the use ATV's, please bite your tongue.

The Trip
We unloaded the ATV near the intersection of the Poison Creek Cutoff Road and Castle Creek Road....all gravel/dirt roads, around 11:40AM. We headed southwest into the mountains. There were lots of cattle along the first 3-5 miles but that just allowed us to keep our speeds down to single digit speeds and enjoy the greening up desert mountains. We encountered a group of 3 motorcyclist who were just heading out of this shallow canyon road.

As we approached the Pixley Creek Basin, we encounter two closed gates on the road that we promptly open and closed behind us. The first gate was a little annoying? Private Property writing on the fence and gate made us wonder if we were legally entitle to travel on this road. I suspect we have the legal rights and if we do, the sign really is just a ranchers way of trying to fool people into not using the road? I'll be calling the Owyhee County Sheriff on this one.

Scenic beauty of the Idaho desrt mountains

Once through the gates we started heading south, deeper into this magical place. The road is just as rough and rutted at it was back in April. All things considered, I wouldn't take a car or truck on this road unless it was completely necessary or you don't care about beating the hell out of it. There were great views at almost every turn of the road. We stopped quite often to look around and enjoy this wonderful part of the world.

Black Butte and Snow Capped Mountains

One particular beautiful spot is the road heading west towards Portland Gulch. The road is rather rough even for an ATV but going slow and steady was rewarded by the views of the snowcapped Owyhee Mountains in the background and Black Butte in the foreground. It was right about this part of the road we met another group of 2 motorcyclist. They waved as they slowly passed by us. These would be the last humans we would see until we were most of the way down Mud Flat Road in our truck 4 hours later.

We continued heading south and entered an unnamed gulch that had a small grove of juniper tree's. I understand this type/species of tree is having a hard time surviving out here. It would be a shame to lose these cool tree's so I hope all interested parties that recreate or work in this harsh country do what they can to not accelerate their decline.

Desert Juniper Trees
At the 20 mile point we decided we needed head back even though our planned turn around point was still about 5 miles down the road. With a brand new ATV, I'm not sure what type of gas mileage we get and we were not use to the rocking, rolling and beating one experiences on an ATV. We turned around and got back to the truck around 5:30PM.

Overall, I think our new ATV will open up a whole new world to us. And this first trip into the Owyhee's was a great experience. We are already looking at other places to explore both north and south of Mountain Home. We still have a great deal to learn about Idaho and our new ATV. We will slowly learn much more about both items in the coming weeks, months and years.

Rock Hounding in This Area
I've been told there are a lot of mining claims out in the Owyhee Desert/Mountains. I suspect most people think of the Silver City area when they speak of mining claims. I doubt there are many active claims along the route we traveled.

 Cool Rocks of the Owyhee Mountains Idaho

All in all, we found many cool rocks along the roads we traveled. There is plenty of cool quartz type rock out here and small plots of poor quality opals. With more in-depth hounding I'm sure we will find even better and different "specimens" of rocks. We'll keep our "eyes peeled" for other cool rocks the next time we visit this area.


View Larger Map

Details of Trip:
Date: 9 May 2009
Photographers: Tim and Toni Bondy from Mountain Home, Idaho
Distance Traveled: About 40 miles - an out and back trip
Fun Factor: High
Scenic Factor: High
Exploration Factor:  Very High

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:06

Owyhee Junipers with a View

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Picture of the Week - Third Week of May 2009

Juniper Trees in the Owyhee Mountains

 Owyhee Idaho Juniper Grove
Click to see a bigger picture and more information .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:42

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