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.

Castle Rocks Hike off Highway 20

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Bondy hikes in the Castle Rock area of Idaho

On Sunday January 8th, 2012 I took a hike in a place I've been meaning to hit for the last few years. The lack of snow, cool temperatures and blue skies came together in a grand fashion for this “Castle Rocks Hike”. Located only about 30 miles northwest of Mountain Home off Highway 20 made for quick easy access to this scenic hike.

The Castle Rocks Hike
With my dog in tow, we parked at a borrow pit off NFS Road 152 or what is more commonly called Castle Rock Road. We headed east-northeast on this snow cover road for about 1 hour.

This is wide open country with an abundance of sagebrush and only scattered tree cover mainly along creek valleys. As the name of the road suggests, the many rock formations are the big draw in this area. It did not take long before we were walking past the first big boulder cluster. As we got further into the hike, rock formations became more frequent and infinitely more interesting.

From Castle Rock Hike Jan 2012

Castle Rock Road slowly gains in overall elevation the further east you hike. But in reality, the road meanders up and down the many shallow draws in this rolling terrain. The land along this hike is a mixture of US Forest Service land and private property although the roadbed is a public thoroughfare. The coolest rock formations on this hike appear to be on private property.

This isn't a remote hike by any stretch of the imagination. Highway 20 is never more than 2 miles away and vehicle traffic/noise can be seen and heard at times. But don't let this fact discourage you from getting out there and enjoying this cool area.

Dog goes bouldering in Idaho

If I was younger and more adventurous, I would have been tempted to try some bouldering on these rock formations. In my younger days I did a fair amount of bouldering (without the crash pads) in Southern California. On this day I left the dangerous stuff to my dog Addie. She is a natural on boulders and fearless too.

View Larger Map

The Hiking Stats
Total Hike Mileage: 3.18 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 520 feet
Average Slope: 5.8%
Driving Time from Mountain Home, Idaho: 27 miles or about 35 minutes
Drive Distance on Dirt Roads: 3/5 of a mile
Link to more pictures:

Hope you enjoyed the story of my Castle Rock Hike. Check back soon for a video from this area.


Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 10:30

Rock Hounding Trip Report in Owyhee Mountains

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Owyhee Mountain Peak Identification
To see a full size photograph of Quicksilver Mountain, Cinnabar Mountain and Hayden Peak, click the above photo.  

Our Trip up Toy Pass on Triangle Road in the Owyhee Mountains
On Sunday May 16th, 2010 we took a trip up a new road (it's new to us) into the Owyhee's.  The roads we were on included Triangle Road, Bachman Grade Road and a few unnamed roads south of Oreana, Idaho.  We planned on doing some sightseeing and rock hounding around an old gold mine southeast of Quicksilver Mountain.

We unloaded our Arctic Cat ATV above Cat Creek and headed south on Triangle Road and headed up Bachman Grade.  This road is quite nice and just graded so it was one of the smoothest roads into the Owyhee Mountains I've been on.  We saw the prerequisite pronghorn antelopes on the way up the grade and a lone mule deer on top of the grade.  We continued heading south past creeks such as Gilmore Creek, Bridge Creek and Ditch Creek.  All of them had at least a little water flowing in them.  

From Rock hounding in Owyhee Mountains
Find the deer

We started heading north up an unnamed dirt road that would take us to the higher elevations of the Owyhee's and an old gold mine.  But after less than a ½ mile we encountered a gate across the road and “No Trespassing” signs.  I did a lot of research on this ride an knew that encountering private property was a real possibility.  I even marked the spots were I might encounter them on my GPS unit and exactly where one of my markers was located we hit the dead-end (for us).  

Not being one to be stopped by private property, I got out my chainsaw and cut down gate and sped on up the road laughing all the way...NOT REALLY.  We just turned around and pulled off the road a few feet for a nice picnic lunch in a beautiful location.  It didn't take long for us to find some interesting rocks that were just laying at our feet.

Owyhee Mountain Obsiadian in Idaho
It's Obsidian!

What we found were small chunks of obsidian widely scattered around our picnic area.  This got our rock hounding juices flowing and we explored a little more thoroughly.  But that is all we found in this  area but it's still cool, right?  But we did collect about 10, ½ inch sized pieces for our home collection.  Then we decided to start heading back to the truck as a few light rainshowers started falling on us.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 19:57

Wolf Depredation Rumors Near Mountain Home Idaho

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Wolves near Hot Spring Road outside of Mountain Home Idaho

I took my dog for a walk on Hot Springs Road just outside of Mountain Home, Idaho on January 5th, 2012. We parked west-southwest of Teapot Dome and began walking southeast on Hot Springs Road. While this road was recently graded, the edges were quite soft and muddy. I clearly saw the track of what I thought was an extremely large dog and cattle prints.

Wolf tracks with set of keys for scale
My car keys are there for a comparison of how big the wolf prints really are.

Hunting the Wolves of Idaho's Teapot Dome
After walking about 4/5th of a mile, a quad driven by two gentleman stopped to inform me 3 wolves had been spotted chasing cows along the road and on the evening of January 4th, one cow had been killed by these wolves over in what I suspect is Teapot Basin. Those 2 guys had wolf tags and were ready to bag a couple.

Teapot Dome cows the wolves were hunting

Dogs and Wolves Playing Together?
I was told I should be careful as wolves have been known to harass or even kill dogs out in the wilds of Idaho. So for the rest of the walk on Hot Springs Road, I kept an eye out for movement in the grass and what little sagebrush there is in this area. I never saw the wolves on this walk. I wonder if they saw me and Addie?

From Wolf Track near Mountain Home Idaho amd Teapot Dome area.

Oregon Trail and Bennett Mountain Wolves?
I seem to remember there was and apparently still is a Bennett Mountain wolf pack. Guess badgers aren't the only think I have to think about when I take my crazy and foolish dog out for a walk. I also wonder how the old pioneers coming out west dealt with wolves. Considering this area is smack dab in the middle of the old Oregon Trail, I'm sure they had some unpleasant experiences with wolves.

Wolf Hunt 2011-2012
As of January 5th, 2012 the most current stats for the Idaho Wolf Hunt showed hunters have taken 197 177 wolves during this season that ends March 31, 2012. Read more about this subject on the Idaho Fish and Game website at

See a few more pictures of the wolf tracks at:

Got More Information?
Do you have more information about the wolves around Teapot Dome and Mountain Home, Idaho? Leave a comment or e-mail me. I'd like to hear more about this rumored incident.



Last Updated on Friday, 06 January 2012 09:41

Docks at Deer Creek Removed

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The docks at the “Deer Creek Boat Ramp” on Anderson Ranch Reservoir have been removed.

Deer Creek Boat Ramp Anderson Dam Idaho

According to the Boise National Forest – Mountain Home Ranger District the boat dock at the Deer Creek facility have been removed because of the poor shape they were in.  There is no word on when they will be replaced.  Sounds like it will be a long term problem before new docks can be put into place.

See the short article at this link by CLICKING HERE.

There are some alternatives to this boat ramp located about 3 miles south of Pine, Idaho.  While I'm not a boater, I've been past the Deer Creek boat ramp about a bazillion times in the last few years and it appears to be a very popular spot.

See the map for the location of the Deer Creek Boat Ramp:,-115.331726&spn=0.19348,0.528374&t=p&z=12

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 May 2010 21:07

Corker Creek Area Hike

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I took a 4 mile walk on the upper portion of Bennett Mountain Road on December 29th, 2011. It seemed more like March 29th as the weather was rather warm and at times downright sunny and nice. It was nice to get out into the higher elevations this late in the year but it would be better if our mountains were buried in snow instead of almost bare and muddy. I named this hike after the impressive Corker Creek canyon visible along part of the walk.

Corker Creek area hike by Tim Bondy

The Hike
Parking at the 5,325 foot level (43.184111, -115.324555) my dog Addie and I headed uphill on Bennett Mountain Road. Starting off, this gravel road was rather soft and wet after the recent rains. I tried a few off road attempts to get a look into Little Canyon Creek. But mud just caked my boots so I never made it more than a half dozen steps off the road before turning back.

Addie the dog in Little Canyon Creek near Bennett Mountain Idaho

I tried a dirt road down to the creek and found it passable for the most part but there were spots where I sunk deeply into the mud and muck. But at least I got a close-up view of Little Canyon Creek and Addie got a drink.

The higher we hiked on Bennett Mountain Road, the more spectacular the views became. To the north and west was the hoodoo filled Corker Creek canyon. The view up Burns Gulch gave me hopes of hiking that valley when conditions are a little better. And the butte like structure on the south end of Peak 6350 was fascinating to say the least.

Corker Creek Hoodoo's in Idaho

At around the 5,660 foot mark, ice started to become the main walking surface on Bennett Mountain Road. And by the 5,690 mark the road was completely ice covered and walking became a lot more difficult for me. However, Addie seemed to enjoy the situation and did a lot of ice skating just for the fun of it. I've never seen a dog run and slide on ice just for fun but that's what this crazy dog did.

From BondyWeb Idaho Photo

We turned around after about 1 hour of walking at the 5,790 foot mark (43.205278, -115.341059) just after a truck passed by on their way down the hill. I know this couple was white knuckling it down the sheet of ice and was glad I was the walking. Amazing enough during almost the entire hike we had a grand view of the Snake River Plains and mountains of Nevada.

Why I Liked This Hike
The Corker Creek area Hike on Bennett Mountain Road was an eye opening experience. I've never been this far up the road and I see many future hiking opportunities in this area. I'll just have to wait until it dries out or becomes snow covered.

The scenery on this portion of the Bennett Mountain area is wonderful. I'd really like to head up the Corker Creek drainage but I'm pretty sure the entire Corker area is private property. But Burns Gulch looks to be BLM land for the most part. I'll likely head back up to this area again real soon.

Map of Hike - Blue line is actual GPS Track

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Hiking Stats
Total Mileage of Hike: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: about 600 feet
Highest Elevation: 5,974 feet
Average Slope Along Hike: 5.1%
Miles from Mountain Home: 48 miles

You can contact me about this hike using my Contact Us form or leave a comment below.



Last Updated on Friday, 30 December 2011 17:49

ATV Trip to the J-P Desert

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 Rowland Road ATV Trip in Idaho

The forecast for Mountain Home on Sunday March 28th, 2010 was for temps in the 60's and a little windy.  This was good enough to take our first ATV trip and maybe find some geodes/thundereggs south of Grasmere, Idaho.

We headed south on Highway 51 and just after passing the deserted town of Grasmere, we headed southeast on Rowland Road.  This road is a pretty nice dirt/gravel road heading into a large desolate area of the sagebrush steepe and canyonlands called the J-P Desert.  We parked the truck and unloaded the ATV just before it headed down into the shallow portions of Sheep Creek Canyon.  This would give us about 19 miles of riding until we got to our thunderegg prospecting site.

ATV ride in Sheep Creek of Idaho

It turns out that this area called the J-P Desert is actually a high plains desert with elevations in the 5,200 foot range.  Combining this higher elevation with gusty winds in the 20-30 mph range made for a cold ride when we were expecting a warmish day.  For the most part, this area isn't one of the most scenic places in Idaho but there are some great views in the shallow canyons and the distant Jarbidge Mountains.
Rowland Road and the other unnamed roads we traveled on were well graded and could easily be driven in a truck or car.  We made good time as we headed south never encountering any other vehicles during the approximate 30 mile round trip exploration.  Unfortunately we never made it to our destination today.  With a paper map and GPS unit in hand, we still missed one crucial turn but that had  more to do with us being unprepared for how cold it was.  My hands and face were frozen and I just didn't feel like checking the map or GPS unit.  That one crucial turn we missed actually was masked by a ranch house that sits at one intersection.  In short, it was too much trouble to figure out if the road was passable by the public or a private road at 20 mph so we gave up on our rock hounding adventure.  Overall, this ATV trip fell in the "good lesson learned category" but wasn't complete loss.

Agate rock found in J-P Desert

Animal Seen and Cool Rock
During this ride we saw a herd of mule deer, a fox in the Sheep Creek Canyon, antelope and what we believe was a herd of wild horses.  There were lots of raptor type bird cruising the skies with one probably the biggest bird I have ever seen.  Even though we never got to the geode site, this area is peppered with areas of some type agatized rocks. We collected a few samples from the roadway and were happy with what we found.

A Few More Pictures and a Map to See
Want to see a few more pictures from this ATV trip?:

JP Desert ATV Track Topo Map

Thanks for visiting and commenting on this story.

Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Last Updated on Monday, 29 March 2010 23:39

Best Hike in 2011 - South Fork of Soldier Creek

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Tree changing colors along the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike in Idaho

2011 was supposed to be my year of widespread Idaho exploration. That all changed when I got laid off from my job. At the beginning, I was a little depressed that money worries would prevent me from enjoying Idaho. I soon found out that exploring locations close to home and “doing it on the cheap” by driving less than 75 miles was just as enjoyable as traveling to far away places.

An Earlier Fork in the Road
Eleven days earlier I was exploring a trail close to Soldier Mountain Ski Area near Fairfield, Idaho. At that time I had a choice of 2 different trails to hike. On that day I chose the non-motorized trail along the North Fork of Soldier Creek. This was quite a wonderful place and I would now place it second on my list best places I visited in 2011. You can read about this trip at:
Insert link here: Early Fall Hike Near Fairfield Idaho

Smoky Dome in Sawtooth National Forest is about 3 miles away

South Fork of Soldier Creek. The Best Hike of 2011.
(October 14th, 2011) My destination was a ridgeline close to the 10,095 foot mountain called Smoky Dome in the Sawtooth National Forest. I knew I wouldn't make it to the planned ridge but I did not want to limit my options as I always leave a detailed map package of my planned route with my wife in case something bad happens. And to honest, I did not think the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike could come close to besting the North Fork hike I took earlier in the month. But I was wrong.

View Larger Map

The Hike
Parking at the trailhead (43.498521, -114.834811), I set off with my crazy dog Addie and headed west up National Forest Trail 087. The views in the low levels were nice and with the South Fork creek still flowing pretty good, the dog was free to cool off and drink as much water as she could handle.

Addie my plott hound dog was on this South Fork Soldier Creek hike

For the fishermen out there, I was surprised at the amount of small trout living in the numerous pools. Almost every place we stopped to explore the creekbed, I saw trout. But for the rockhounds, there isn't much to see out here. I suspect once you get up near Smoky Dome, there are better prospects.

The further west you head up NFS Trail 087 the better the scenery becomes. Due to the lateness of the season, the trees were changing with a lot of brilliant yellows the primary change color. In places I occasionally caught glimpses of the snow covered Smoky Dome area. This section of mountains is quite dramatic, beautiful and what keep me moving forward and upward.

From South Fork of Soldier Creek

Just as the trail started heading up a steeper ridge, I decided to call it quits. I headed southwest off trail (43.507225, -114.889798) towards the source of the South Fork of Soldier Creek. We found a meadow and a nice big rounded boulder to eat lunch on with a fabulous Smoky Dome view. You'll not find a better place to nosh on a stale old peanut butter sandwich in my opinion.

I took a lot of pictures and we headed back down:

It was time to head on back but we decided to try out a side trail that paralleled NFS 087 in this area that I found on my GPS unit. It certainly was a different environment, with a much marshier look and feel. It felt more like hiking in the Washington Coastal Range for a short amount of time. A shallow South Fork of Soldier Creek crossing got us back out on the main trail and the 3 mile hike back to the car.
From South Fork of Soldier Creek

What I Loved About the South Fork of Soldier Creek Hike
The scenery was probably the best I've seen on any hike this season. I wish I was in better shape and could “dayhike” up to the ridges around Smoky Dome. But what I saw was enough to classify this hike as the epic 2011 Bondyweb Hike of the year. As far as the things I did not like? Having to leave that meadow where we had lunch is the worst thing I can say.

Stats of the Hike:
  • Total Hiking Mileage: 7.0 miles on this out and back hike
  • Average Slope: 8.2%
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,667 feet
  • Highest Point of Hike: 7,402 feet
  • Stream Crossings: 1 on-trail and 3 or 4 off trail.
  • Mileage from Mountain Home to Trailhead: 71.2 miles with 1.2 miles on gravel/dirt roads.

This is your time to make comments or ask any questions about the South Fork of Soldier Creek hike. Let's hear what you have to say about this Best Hike of 2011.

Thanks for visiting my website,

Tim Bondy Idaho Hike review for 2011

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:40

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