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.

ATV Photo Tour of Long Tom Reservoir

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(May 8th, 2012) A fun ATV trip into and around the Long Tom Reservoir would be my first motorized trip of the year. My plan was to head to the southwest and maybe even the northwest side of this lake. Pretty lofty plans considering I would be alone with the exception of my dog Addie the Plott Hound. I took pictures, videos and watched a mule deer and Plott Hound dog stand-off.

View of Long Tom Reservoir from my Arctic Cat ATV

The Ride Into the Reservoir
This ride was meant to be mellow being the first time I had my Arctic Cat 500 this year. And it was considering I only traveled about 9 miles of the planned 20 miles. The weather was incredible for early May and the roads/trails were dry and not very dusty.

From ATV Trip Around Long Tom Reservoir

I parked just off the Prairie Road about 2 miles north of Highway 20 (coordinates 43.279101, -115.532393). Once I had the ATV unloaded, we headed northwest a miles or so before heading west on a rough dirt road that leads to the south end of Long Tom Reservoir. While a 4 wheel drive vehicle would easily get you into the lake, I'd think twice about something without good traction and higher clearance.

From ATV Trip Around Long Tom Reservoir

Pole Creek Area
The 1st cool spot was the Pole Creek area at coordinates 43.282001, -115.568816. This creek was still flowing rather nicely and feeds into Long Tom. I suspect there is a pretty healthy spring keeping Pole Creek flowing this late into the season. It was quite green and lush in this canyon with lots of birds so it's well worth a few minute “stop and explore” session.

From ATV Trip Around Long Tom Reservoir

The Trail is Fenced and Could Get Steep
After the Pole Creek stop we continued west along the southern side of the reservoir on a dirt road that progressively got steeper and rougher. As we were about to drop into the Long Tom Creek canyon, we encountered a fence. Once through the fence I found the trail to be rutted, rough and it looked like it would get steep. This was an easy decision...I turned around and headed back. There will be other days to tackle this section of Long Tom Reservoir Road.

From ATV Trip Around Long Tom Reservoir

To the Edge...of the water
With my trip cut short I figured Addie could use some swim time and I could explore a little around the lake shore. I found a nice place on a stone beach and I let the dog run free (coordinates 43.286433, -115.574690). After watching the dog wade into the water, I came to the conclusion this place isn't a great place to fish as it's too shallow? In any case, it was fun exploring the lakeshore.

Plott Hound and Idaho Mule Deer

Did You Hear the One About a Plott Hound and a Mule Deer?
We left the reservoir area and motored up a trail that leads to the ridgeline above Long Tom. The trail was rather rough and I needed a little exercise. So we headed up the hillside on foot.

Much to my amazement, I watch my dog walk up on a mule deer. The muley had his back to the dog and was munching on the abundant grass in this area. Addie the Plott Hound continued her exploration of the trail without a clue there was a deer only 20-30 feet in front of her. Finally, Addie caught wind of the deer and when it moved, I think both animals were shocked.

Addie the dog stalks a mule deer

The mule deer took off and an uneasy Addie started after it. Obviously, at least to me, the deer didn't fear my dog as much as Addie feared the deer. But eventually Addie got into the spirit and chased the deer about ¼ mile through the sagebrush before giving up. It was a fun watching this “deer verse dog” story unfold.

Map of this ATV Ride My GPS Unit

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Blue line is my 9.2 mile track during this trip

Link to the Photo Album:

Link to a Video I Took:

Bondyweb Comments
Leave a comment or question? I think it's a great idea if you enjoyed the article or learned something. If you have nothing to say at least send the link to this article to someone who might enjoy it.



Last Updated on Friday, 25 May 2012 13:09

Spring Creek Gold Panning and Hike – Featherville

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Closed road near Featherville Idaho

This July 2011 gold panning trip turned out to be a great day hike on a dirt road (NFS Road 170) that follows Spring Creek and the Johnson Fork near Featherville, Idaho. I walked almost 6.75 miles in mid 80 degree temperatures but you could easily add or subtract mileage on this “out and back hike” if you were to get up there. The scenery, weather and solitude made for a memorable day on the trail.

Getting There
NFS Road 170 begins where Spring Creek dumps into Trinity Creek on NFS Road 172 or Trinity Mountain Road northwest of Featherville. To get on Trinity Mountain Road you need to turn north off the Pine-Featherville Road just before entering the western portion of Featherville proper. The coordinates for this turn on to NFS Road 172 is 43.605535°, -115.266827°.

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Stay on NFS Road 172 for approximately 3.5 miles and start looking for a place to park and the northward turn onto NFS Road 170. I don't think there are any good places to park along Spring Creek/NFS Road 170 unless you head about ½ mile up the road.

The Hike Along Spring Creek / NFS Road 170
NFS Road 170 heads to the north or northwest and gradually climbs in elevation. It follows Spring Creek for the first 1.75 miles. Then it followed “The Johnson Fork” for the rest of my hike. The creek was flowing pretty good for an early July day but the streamflow is definitely decreasing. There are actually little sandbars forming in a number of places on the creek.

The Sandbars of Spring Creek
From Spring Creek or NFS Road 170 Hike and Gold Panning Trip

The mountains and nearby hillsides were extremely green but things are starting to dry out up in the Boise National Forest. I was amazed watching my dog running full bore down the road at just how much dust she kicked up...not that this is proof of how dry it's starting to get.

Overall, NFS Road 170 is suitable for any type of vehicle but there are a few places were downed trees narrows the available road width to the “just barely makeable” category for larger trucks. In any case, it's a wide open and very easy walk.

Is There Gold in This Creek?
From Spring Creek or NFS Road 170 Hike and Gold Panning Trip

Gold Panning the Creeks
I tried my luck at gold panning in both Spring Creek and the “Johnson Fork” during this hike. There was only one place where I panned up some black sand and possibly some color in the Johnson Fork. It wasn't really worth exploring any further but getting down into the shade and close to the cool stream during the heat of the day was refreshing.

As I have found during every trip to pan these types of small creeks, the deer flies can get bad. At one spot my panning technique was the “continuous swirl and swat” method. I also learned that my dog Addie is a horrible gold panning companion.

I'll come right out and say that Spring Creek and the Johnson Fork don't have much potential for a recreational gold panning trip but your mileage may vary. Give it a try and let me know what you find. I still had fun and it's a good way to refine your gold panning technique.

Learning the Ways of Closed Roads
My original plan was to hike NFS Road 170 and then head up NFS Road 170B. 170B heads uphill but eventually intersects and follows Spring Creek again. This road was closed on the day I was out there with a gate blocking access to it.

Yes, I know hiking on closed roads is permitted but the lack of water for my dog was a concern. I'll be back to hike that section in the future.

This was not the 1st road I have found to be closed but it could have been a big disappointment had I been on my ATV or trying to drive my truck on it. Big lesson learned is that I really need to do some research if I intend to use my ATV. The Boise National Forest Service office in Mountain Home should be able to offer better guidance as to what roads/trails are closed.

Solitude, Towering Pine Trees and Scenery Awaits You
From Spring Creek or NFS Road 170 Hike and Gold Panning Trip

These closed roads and trail can also be used to the “hikers advantage”. I will be researching these types of closed trails. They are perfect places to hike when trying to find complete solitude. And an old closed road is certainly easier to walk on than some of the highly rutted hiking trails I have been on.

Where, Why and How?
- Coordinates at the trailhead for NFS Road 170 (roadhead if you will): 43.630485°, -115.312045°
- Coordinates for the closed NFS Road 170B: 43.660556°, -115.334592°
- Distance from Mountain Home, Idaho to the trailhead: 65 miles with only 3.5 miles of dirt/gravel road.
- Topo Map for this hike: The 1:24,000 Rocky Bar quad.
- Why Hike It: It was a beautiful hike that is easily accessible and suitable for the less experienced and even the most experienced day hiker.
- The Johnson Fork Creek? I'm kind of clueless about the name the “Johnson Fork”. Normally it would be a fork of some other creek. So, until I'm educated on this, it remain “The Johnson Fork” of no other creek just as all my topo maps indicate.

NFS Road 170 near Featherville
From Spring Creek or NFS Road 170 Hike and Gold Panning Trip

Looking for comments ONLY from people who have interest in hiking, gold panning or those who like to or would like to get out into the great outdoors. If you fit any of these categories then leave a comment, question or remark.


Last Updated on Saturday, 09 July 2011 09:20

Idaho Outdoor Adventure Website – Stueby's Journal

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Whitewater rafting? Hiking? Canoeing? Mountain Biking? The Stueby Outdoor Journal website gives you ideas of where to find some great outdoor adventures in Idaho.

Stueby's Outdoor Journal from the Boise Idaho area

In Stueby's latest article this Boise area resident includes some websites to find outdoor partners and clubs. Other recent articles include hiking Hyndman Peak, mountain biking near Idaho City and South Fork of the Payette rafting. Just a plain good website to explore and learn. Stueby seems to post about 2-4 times each month.

Website Address:

Do you read any other outdoor blogs or websites from Idaho? Share the address in the "comments" section. Maybe we can get a good on-line Treasure Valley and/or southern Idaho outdoor activity network put together.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this article.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 September 2010 07:21

Wilson Flat Part 2 - Excellence in Idaho Hiking

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(May 16th, 2012) A moderate to strenuous hike located only 30 miles from Mountain Home, Idaho? And this hike was so enjoyable when I did it in 2011, I decided to try it again. The diverse scenery, solitude, terrain and proximity to home combine to create the perfect day hike. Read on to see if this trip suits your style...

Bondy hikes up to Wilson Flats

The Hike
There is very little to add to this hike that my May 25th, 2011 hike didn't cover. You can read that story at:

About the only thing that changed between these 2 hikes was the “wetness” of the land. This 2012 hike was considerably drier than 1 year and 9 day earlier. Might be a bad fire year????

Map of the Hike

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Blue line is my hike taken off a GPS unit.

More Information About the Hike
- Mileage: 5.10 miles
- Average Slope: ~8.7%
- Average Slope of Steep Section Up to the Flats: 19.1%
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,264 feet
- Topo Map: The 1:24,000 House Mountain, Idaho quad
- Trailhead Coordinates: 43.380955, -115.436874
- End of Hike Coordinates: 43.389898, -115.462460 but you can turn this into a long distance loop.
- Link to more photos of this hike:

Comments Come and Go
Yours might be the one that people will say “now that's cool”. Leave a comment about this article and you might be the winner of a brand new 2012 Ford F250. Not really but we'd love to hear from you.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 07:54

Tally Baker Creek Rock Hounding Hike

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Tally Baker Creek Hike in Idaho

Tally Baker Creek is located to the north and east of the Ice Springs campground in the Fall Creek area of Idaho. My thinking in choosing this area for some gold panning and rock hounding was it's semi-close proximity to some old mines in this area. It also seemed like a beautiful area to take a hike, explore and get into the great outdoors.

Hiking NFS Road 151C and NFS Trail 621
As usual, I planned out this hike using Google Earth, USGS Topo Maps and the Idaho Parks and Recreation website. I learned from my last hike that off-trail hiking in the Fall Creek area is a tough chore so I planned 4 different routes. It would be a last minute decision as to which route I would take.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

Hiking the wide and smooth NFS Road 151C (all vehicles allowed) as it follows Tally Baker Creek was nice. While I only covered about 4.4 miles I did gain/lose a little over 1,400 feet in elevation. Overall, not an exhausting hike by any means while making it out to 43.506573°, -115.369698°.

Pine trees and some pretty steep mountainside dominate the scenery along Tally Baker Creek. And the main creek was flowing pretty good for a late June day. There was only one place where the road got muddy and wet but that consisted of only about a 20 foot section.

I also ventured up NFS Trail 621 about 1/3 of a mile and then off-trail following a small intermittent stream. The off-trail portion along the stream was rough going and quite soggy even away from the stream. I'm beginning to get the idea that off-trail hiking isn't fun and will likely give up on this idea. Just to let you know NFS Trail 621 is ATV legal and from the evidence I saw, I'd say the trail gets heavy hunting pressure in the Fall.

Gold Panning Creek 621
I'm calling the intermittent stream off NFS Trail 621 “Creek 621” at 43.507669°, -115.374779°. Well, this was my first real attempt at gold panning this year. It certainly was a small steam and after looking in a few spots, I knew there was little to no chance of finding any color.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

But I got down and dirty on one section and cleared 3 pans of gravel and mud. Not a speck of gold to be found. On the 4th pan, I had the help of my every faithful dog Addie. She seemed to like the taste of the muddy water in my gold pan. I guess at least I was productive in one thing...keeping my dog hydrated. Laughing

Rock Hounding Tally Creek Road
Overall, this whole area has some fair to good potential for finding “cool rocks”. Lots of quartz, some of it smoky and many other interesting formations in the road cuts. I came home with less than a pound of rocks from this trip and 3 of them were keepers. The others are now part of my garden.

From Tally Baker Hike, Rock Hound and Gold Panning Trip

The 3 keepers I found fell in the “little sawtooths/drusy quartz” category. And I found them just off NSF Road 151C on a hillside. These rocks certainly made up for the lack of gold in my gold pan.

See a few more pictures from this album:

I certainly had a good time on this hike, rock hounding and gold panning trip. Have any suggestions where I could go next to combine at least 2 of these activities? Leave a comment and let me know.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 19:39

Fish Idaho's Middle Fork of the Boise River with Tim Bondy

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My Middle Fork of the Boise River fishing trip report from August 21st, 2010.

Fishing hole on Middle Fork of the Boise River in Idaho

Fishing the Middle Fork of the Boise River is always a fun adventure. This is a beautiful river that takes some dedication to get to from Mountain Home, Idaho. I suspect most people get there via I-84 and up Highway 21 traveling about 130 miles to the Phifer Creek Bridge. But this is the long boring way.

For those who have a vehicle in good condition or an ATV they can get there by traveling through Featherville and Rocky Bar, Idaho. This is my normal route which is about 85 miles each way. I suspect the travel time is pretty close either route you chose to get to the Middle Fork. I've fished this river a number of times but always from the Phifer Creek Bridge and upstream to or past Atlanta, Idaho

Mountain Home to Rocky Bar and on to The Middle Fork
I left Mountain Home around 7:30am on Saturday August 21st 2010. Plans was to leave at 6:00am but, know how things like this happen. It was a nice drive with pronghorns lining the road above Anderson Dam and mule deer all along the road down to the reservoir. "The Lake" was quite crowded on this morning with at least 15 boats motoring around even before 8:30. The shore was crowded with campers...more than I have ever seen at Anderson Dam. By the time I past Featherville and was arrived at my parking spot near Rocky Bar, the temperature dropped from 57F at home to 44F. I unloaded the Arctic Cat ATV and headed up into the mountains. At the Trinity Ridge Road / Phifer Creek Road intersection I turned right and headed down towards the Middle Fork. As usual, the sweeping scenery of the Boise National Forest and Steel Mountain area made the trip enjoyable. I did not encounter another human this entire route. I did encounter a three unattended horses near the Trinity Ridge intersection just grazing along the road. What's that all about?

View from Trinity Mountain Road in Boise National Forest

The Middle Fork Road to Atlanta
The Middle Fork Road closely follows the Middle Fork of the Boise River to a few miles past Atlanta (no duh, Tim). It's easy to keep your sights on the river itself, but some places in this canyon the geology, ruggedness and beauty are unmatched anywhere in Idaho. There are plenty of places to pull off the road to explore the river. This is mining county so you will see huge piles of dredge tailings in many places that hide view of the river. In the numerous places to get a view of the Middle Fork, the color of the pools can be quite stunning in their almost emerald green hue. Once you get close to Atlanta, the river changes somewhat and is off to north side of the road and harder to see.

As compared to the roads I took getting down to the Middle Fork of the Boise, the Middle Fork Road could be considered a busy road. Granted this was a weekend day in August but the road was quite busy as compared to other trips I've made here. I was pretty dusty and grimy after this drive and most of it was from the Middle Fork Road.

As I said earlier, this is mining country and I guess the lure of "$1,200 an ounce gold" has more and more people trying to strike it rich. There are more small time dredge operations in the river than the last few years (in my opinion).

The Middle Fork of the Boise River Fishing Report for Saturday August 21, 2010
For those of you that have made it down this far you get my less than expert fishing report. The good news is the fishing was very good with about 12 trout caught in various places in the Middle Fork. The bad new is the fish were all pretty small. I did catch two rainbows in the 10 inch plus range and were more fun to reel in on my newly spooled 4 pound test line. The fishing pressure on this river is likely relatively high but I didn't see another fisherman along the road today...and it was a Saturday.

Fishing Hole #1 is found at 43.817304, -115.35248 and is close to the Phifer Creek Bridge. The water is clear and the pool is relatively deep. I caught one small rainbow trout in this pool but lost a few as I reeled the fish towards shore. These were also small trout and thanks to barbless hooks, I didn't have to stress them out pulling hook as they spit the lure.

Fishing Hole #2 is found at 43.816568, -115.346981. This place takes a little work to get to as it is located on the other side of a long dredge tailing rock pile. These rock piles aren't the easiest things to walk on. Climbing up and down these steep rocks is an adventures all to itself. There were times it was 1 step up followed by sliding back 2-3 steps with large rocks rolling into my legs. I caught one small trout and my biggest rainbow of the day in this pool.

Fishing Hole #3 is at 43.829363, -115.323257 and is a long elongated pool. Two small trout were pulled out of this hole and released just as fast. There appeared to be a lot of trout in this area as I saw lots of fish rising to the surface in search of whatever hatch was ongoing.

Fishing Hole #4 coordinates are 43.829087, -115.312612 and didn't appear to be a great place at first. I caught 3 trout here and the 2nd biggest fish of the day was hauled out of this pool. This fishing hole is hidden from the road behind the tailing but not difficult to get to. From this pool I could see a promising looking fishing spot downstream. So when the fish stopped biting I sloshed down the river, slipping and sliding the 150 yards to fishing hole 5.

Middle Fork of the Boise River trout fishing hole

Fishing Hole #5 is located at approximately 43.829167, -115.314062. This awesome looking pool is a large circular swirling fishing hole that is quite scenic. The water is clear and has that tropical green hue color. This pool is well hidden from the road as a steep dredge tailing pile extends almost into the pool. I call this pool the "Second Trip Pool". In any case, I caught 2 trout in this pool using an orange spinner and a yellow spinner. I also got the opportunity to cool off before I left "the first time". It was quite hot in the Middle Fork of the Boise River canyon on this day so I waded in up to my neck but got out quickly. Once I air dried a little I climbed the 20 foot rock pile behind me and hopped on my ATV. It was then I noticed I forgot my little tackle box at the fishing home. I got to climb back up and down those rocky piles again to gather my fishing tackle. Thus, I call it the "Second Trip Pool".

I stopped at a few other fishing holes as I made my way towards Atlanta and caught a few more fish. There are plenty of places to get your line wet and I'm sure there are some big fish in the Middle Fork of the Boise. I guess the important part is to have fun, enjoy nature and don't get caught up on size.

Snowbank on James Creek Road in August 2010 near Atlanta Idaho

Snowbank on James Creek Road? In Late August?
Coordinates: 43.795189, -115.183603
I decided to head back to the Rocky Bar and the truck via James Creek Road. Not long after heading up this rough and rocky road I came across a pretty large snowbank on the side of the road. Large for August in Idaho in the low elevations that is. My thoughts are a large avalanche swept down the steep mountainside during the Spring and there is still some evidence of this event just sitting there for me to wonder about. In any case, James Creek Road and surrounding hillsides are still green and covered with wildflowers. In all the times I have been on this road late in the summer, I never remember it being so wet and green. Mother Nature sure works in mysterious ways throughout our Idaho mountains.

See More Picture of this Trip:

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this Idaho Fishing report.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 14:08

The 4 Springs of the Long Tom Creek Area

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The 4 Springs of Long Tom Creek Hike endpoint
End of this hike!

(May 1st, 2012) Taking a scenic walk along Long Tom Creek seemed like a good idea. What I didn't expect was to find was a number of natural springs feeding this creek. I took some pictures and video as well as geomarking the location of these springs. Why not come along on a review of the journey to the “4 Springs of the Long Tom Creek Area”.

NOTE: The video I took of these springs on May 1st were inadvertently deleted from my video camera. All videos in this article are from May 11th, 2012.

The Walk Along Prairie Cut-Off Road
This walk can be as short or long as you wish as it follows a relatively flat and well maintained gravel road. For our portion of the hike it also followed Long Tom Creek for all but ¼ of a mile. And the course is rather scenic as it flows through a relatively rugged canyon.

West Fork of Long Tom Creek

The course of this hike was on the “Prairie Cut-off Road” or National Forest Service Road 131 that connects Highway 20 to the South Fork of the Boise River at the Cow Creek Bridge. We also checked out the “2 Forks of Long Tom Creek during this hike. Obviously Long Tom Creek drains a pretty nice sized area of the Danskin Mountains.

The Springs
From 4 Springs of the Long Tom Creek Area

Spring #1: Source of spring is located close to NFS 131 at 43.300955, -115.558080. The marshy growth close to the road is a dead giveaway of a spring close to this location. During this early May 2012 day, water was flowing down the hillside in no particular streambed. There is no indication on the USGS (old maps) Topo Maps of a spring at this location.

See a Video of Springs 1 and 2

Spring #2: Located about 375 yards north of Spring 1, this spring intersect the Prairie Cut-Off Road at
43.303937, -115.557467. But the spring source is likely located about 330 yards up the hillside to the east. The 1990 version of the Long Tom Reservoir USGS Topo Map indicates there is a spring at the location on the hillside.

Spring 2 is flowing strongly near Mountain Home, Idaho

Spring #3: This spring may or may not be a true spring. Water certainly flows down a streambed but its origins appear to be in the hillside at 43.308374, -115.562327. I would have missed this skinny watercourse, but my dog splashed through it and I decided to check it out.

There are trout in this Idaho Spring

I found it incredible that I saw what I thought was a fish in this small spring fed creek. After a few days of thought, I talked myself out of the “fish in the creek” idea. But when I went back 10 days later, I actually saw two fish in the 18 inch wide creekbed and caught them on video if you car to watch.

See a Video of Springs 3 and 4

NOTE:  Google decided to take the "shakes" out of the video and now the video does the hula dance. Laughing

Spring #4: Located at 43.307334, -115.557481 and just off NFS Road 131, this spring is shown on the 1990 version of the Long Tom Reservoir USGS Topo Map. It is my guess this spring consists of 2 or more parts as the soggy wet area is about 150 feet across.

Spring 4 of the Long Tom Creek area

Map of Long Tom Creek Springs

View Larger Map

See more photos from this hike:

Comments Create Good Old Fashion Knowledge
Did you know about the springs along the Prairie Cut-off Road? Know of any other springs close to Mountain Home. Why not leave a comment or suggestion about this outdoor article. You never know what you and others may learn about Idaho, the Long Tom Reservoir area or NFS Road 131.



Last Updated on Sunday, 13 May 2012 09:08

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