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.

Wilderness Portion of Boise River

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 Sawtooth Mountain near Boise River
The wilderness portion of the Middle Fork of the Boise River has been calling my name for over a year. On August 16th, 2009 I finally made the trip up there. Before I went, I scoured the Internet, ask friends, called National Forest folks to gather any data I could get about this portion of the river. Either people are very guarded about this place or I asked the wrong people. So off I went with only a general idea of what to expect and of course, my ideas and expectations were wrong.

Fishing the wilderness portion of the Boise River
I poured over maps and Google Earth and plotted out a 6.5 mile hike on a trail that follows the river. I'm no Daniel Boone but I know how to follow a trail especially with a fancy GPS unit in my hand but I lost the trail about ¼ mile inside the wilderness boundary. Finding the river was quite easy and that's why I was there anyway, right?

Fishing this portion of the river was great. There wasn't one hole, riffle or calmer section of the river that I didn't catch a fish. I used only two different spinners on this trip and they were my trusty "orange" Panther-Martin and a green Rooster Tail. Trusty won out over the recommended Rooster Tail. In all I caught at least 27 small trout on this day. As a matter of fact, the trout were more plentiful than the mosquitoes/flies for once (just barely). I caught brookies, rainbows, golden/redband trout and what I swear was a small brown trout. But I've been told there are no brown trout in the Middle Fork but I may have to disagree with this common thinking.

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

As a short time resident of Idaho, I was disappointed in the seemingly ever present rule of "barbless" hooks required in our streams and rivers. It took some time to gain the skills to actually catch a trout on a barbless hook but I now understand the rule and totally agree with it. A vast majority of the fish I caught require zero handling to release them. Basically pull them out of the water to see what I caught, then back into the water with a quick shake of my line and the fish was off the hook!

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

As I couldn't find the main trail along the river, I did a ton of stream walking, wading and extremely tough brushy cross-country hiking. This also means I didn't penetrate the Sawtooth Wilderness very far. In other words, expect to get wet, dirty, scratched and gouged up for the pleasure of catching a lot of Idaho trout.

Adventures of Getting to the Middle Fork
My trip was delayed by a traffic jam on Highway 20 as cowboys were herding cattle along the highway. This 40 minute stop and go portion near the Anderson Dam Road gave me plenty of time to eat my breakfast safely as opposed to eating while driving.

The next problem was finding the trail I found on "topo maps" near the wilderness boundary. I can say I likely trespassed and parked my ATV on this private property. I am sorry for doing this...but I certainly paid the price as I had to hike an additional 4 miles. On the trip back to my truck I found the proper road/trail to take and stay off of private property. Next time I head back to this spot, cutting off 4 miles of the hike will get me much deeper into this wilderness.

From Middle Fork of Boise River Wilderness Trip

Once I decided to head back to my ATV from the Middle Fork of the Boise, I crawled, stumbled, tripped and waded through a wide section of the marshy river bottom. This is the one place where mosquitoes outnumbered everything but the number of deadfall trees I scrambled over. Not a fun place to be!

People and Critters
I was surprised by the number of people I saw in this area. I encountered 2 groups of hikers, a larger group of horse back riders and some ATV'er just heading back home from fishing the river. I also met up with two young men mountain biking the trail outside the wilderness boundary. All in all I saw 12 people in or near the Sawtooth Wilderness.

If I didn't know any better I'd say there are very few deer/elk around if the amount of poop is any indication. I saw way more horse poop than deer poop. However, when struggling through the swampy meadows there were game trails going in every direction...except the way I wanted to go. I got to watch a bald eagle sitting in a dead tree about 50 yards away from me while standing in the middle of the river. If the fishing wasn't so good and my camera wasn't sitting on the far bank, I would have gotten a few good pictures.

Bitter Sweet Trip
In some aspects, this hiking/fishing trip was not as much fun as it should have been. I spent a lot of time scrambling over rough terrain and did not get very far up the river. But overall, I had a great time fishing and exploring this beautiful part of Idaho. It was a great learning experience and these experiences will make my next trip "more better".

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 12:04

Rockhounding ATV Trip to Wilson Flats Area

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Long views from Wilson Flats
Click for a larger photo.

After a wonderful May 25th hike up into the Wilson Flats area above Anderson Ranch Dam, Toni and I decided to take the ATV up there for some rock hounding. The whole trip turned out a little different than I thought.

Rock Hounding in the Wilson Flats Area
My previous hike up in this area made me think there could be a real treasure trove of quartz crystals just waiting to be discovered. And I still believe this could be a good place to rock hound. We just didn't really give it much of a look like we wanted to.

The places we traveled to around the Wilson Flats / Granite Mountain area contained a lot of smoky quartz, feldspar and one nice piece of drusy quartz. My thoughts were the flanks of Granite Mountain on NFS Road 611 would be a good place to explore. I also saw what I think was an old pit off NFS Road 607 that showed promise during the earlier hike. We never made it to either place.

The “Not Well Planned But Fun” ATV Trip Adventure
My planning for this trip was to input some “waypoints” into my Garmin GPS unit and wing it from there. Looking at Google Earth it sure looked straight forward but reality sometimes slaps you across the face. In this case, we had a great time, great experience and will head back to Wilson Flats again.

Click for a larger photo.

Experience the Unexpected and Beauty of Wilson Flats
Our Route:
1. Headed up Wilson Flats and stopped at the intersection of NFS Road 606 and 607. This is where we found the piece of drusy quartz.

2. I made my first “mis-turn” on the trail that heads straight towards the bluffs overlooking the dam. The views from “the edge” of this cliff were spectacular while looking almost straight down on the South Fork of the Boise River and the dam itself. Incredible!

3. We then headed north on this trail through a mixture of wide open country and many nice tree lined meadows. We stopped at 43.369599, -115.469921 for a look at the rocks in this area. My wife remarked that she “would buy this piece of land and build her dream home if she could”. Nice testimony considering some of the places in Idaho we've visited.

4. We ignored the turn onto NFS Road 611 that would have taken us up on the flanks of Granite Mountain. Time was getting short and I wanted to take the long loop back to the truck. Granite Mountain can wait for a different day.

5. My 2nd mis-turn was taking NFS Road 609 instead of 607. NFS 607 would have lead us on a nice loop back to NFS Road 606 and then down off the escarpment. NFS Road 609 is a little more primitive than what I expected and at the ½ way point a very large downed tree blocked the trail. The portion we did travel was very beautiful but we had to backtrack to NFS 606.

Deep forested are on Wilson Flats in Idaho
Click for a larger photo.

1st Impressions Can Be Misleading
As we have all been taught, 1st impressions are lasting impressions. In this case, my first impression of Wilson Flats was it was wide open country that was quite tame. My 1st impressions were dead wrong. Overall, some of the trail system up on Wilson Flats is quite rugged, rough and somewhat adventurous for an old couple like us. It's also quite scenic and lot more forested than it appears from maps, satellite imagery or even looking at it from the Dixie side of the gorge.

Stats and Additional Info About This ATV Ride
1. Total Mileage Ridden: 12.3 miles
2. Vertical Gain / Loss: 2,283 feet
3. Time on Trail Including Stops: 4 hours 9 minutes
4. Trailhead Distance from Mountain Home: 30.3 miles or 20 miles as the crow flies.
5. Rock Hounding Potential: This area needs to be explored more. I'd say “Fair-Good Potential”.
6. Backpacking Potential: Excellent for a 2 Day / 1 Night trip.
7. See some more photos from this trip:

Let Tim Bondy Know What You Think
Leave a comment about your experience in the Wilson Flats area or questions about this trip. I know all our fellow Idahoan rock hounds, ATV'er and outdoors people would enjoy hearing from you.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 21:38

East Idaho Off-Piste Website

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I've been watching the East Idaho-Off Piste website for awhile now. The authors featured in this website are quite adventurous and seem to live for "backcountry skiing". If you have any skiing adventures in the backcountry, they are looking for contributors to their website.


Idaho Backcountry Skiing Website

"Photos and trip reports from eastern idaho's backcountry ski and snowboard community"

This website deals mainly with Idaho but these guys travel to Montana and Colorado also. They include some great photo's and good writing to make me want to come back and read more. Hopefully you enjoy this "Idaho Born" website.

Web Address:  


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:43

Mystery! Mystery! Found in Fall Creek Area Mountains

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A vigorous hike up Camp Creek in the Fall Creek area of the Boise Mountains resulted in a few mysteries (to me). I was hoping some of my regular readers could educate me in what I saw during my 1st exploration into this area. You can read about this hike from a previous post at:

Mystery Photo # 1 – Pine Tree Growth?
Idaho pine tree growth
Click for a larger photo.

Photo made at: 43.498420, -115.356093 or just off Camp Creek Trail #177
My Guess: A tree-fort for a very large squirrel or some kind of nest.

Mystery Photo # 2 – Wild Cabbage Plant?
Is this wild Idaho cabbage?
Click for a larger photo.

Photo made at: 43.491598, -115.357795 or about 1.3 miles from Trail # 177 start point.
My Guess: Wildflower of some kind before the flowers emerge?

Got a clue what these things in the 2 photos are? Leave a comment, e-mail me via my Contact Us form or give me a call. I'd really like to know what you think.


Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2011 06:21

Surf Idaho – The Soul of Skiing Website

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The weather turned colder today but there isn't much snow in the forecast for our local ski resorts. That doesn't mean you can't research a ski trip. I found a cool website that deal strictly with skiing in Idaho called...funny enough, “Ski Idaho”.

Ski Idaho website

You will find a complete (I think) listing of all ski areas in Idaho, a handy ski report page and a way to plan your ski trip plus much more information.

Think snow!!!! And lots of it!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:43

Great Hiking Opportunity on Camp Creek near Mountain Home

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On top of Idaho's Camp Creek Trail
Click for a bigger photo

On May 31st, 2011 I took the kids (Erica and Kelly) into Fall Creek area north of the Anderson Ranch Reservoir for a hike. I've never been in this particular area so I was excited about this new adventure. The place we chose was Camp Creek Trail Number 177 and it was a great place to explore.

How to get to Camp Creek from Mountain Home
The Camp Creek trailhead is about 28 miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho as the crow flies or about 42 miles using the tradition motor vehicle mode of transportation Laughing
The quickest way to get there is:

1.  Head north out of Mountain Home on Highway 20 and cross the Anderson Ranch Dam.
2.  Head northeast on Anderson Dam Road until you get to the Fall Creek Resort.
3.  Head north on Trinity Mountain Road.
4  .Just before the Ice Springs Campground hang a sharp right and head south and east to the trailhead at 43.47614, -115.357965

Some Pictures of the Hike:

Camp Creek Valley Hike
This trail is well marked/easy to follow from the trailhead up to about the halfway point of our 6 mile out and back hike. At the halfway point, the trail becomes “braided” with trails forking off in a few different directions. I think they all end up in the same place...a saddle that forms the headwaters of Camp Creek and our destination for this hike.

Camp Creek Trail No. 177 is designated for use by motorcycles, horses, mountain bikers as well as hikers. At 43.496239, -115.356922 I believe it becomes “Non-Motorized Vehicle” so no more motorcycles and conditions get a little more primitive and steep.

Steep portion of Camp Creek Trail
Click for a bigger photo

We took the trail less traveled at that point as it heads “more or less” straight up the headwall of the valley. Less traveled means there are large downed trees blocking the trail in places but easy enough to climb over, under or scramble around. We gained over 700 feet in elevation in the last 0.67 miles of the hike up to the saddle.

Once up on the saddle of the trail at 43.503306, -115.353156 the views are excellent. The view back down the valley includes Bennett Mountain, Little Camas Reservoir, and even a small sliver of Anderson Reservoir. Looking northward, the still snow cover Dog Mountain and “The Trinities” can be seen.

Camp Creek Summer Snowbank in Idaho
Click for a larger photo

The Stats of Our Hike
Total Distance: 6.09 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,254 feet
Highest Elevation: 6,544 feet
Max Slope: 46% while heading up the headwall on the trail.
Snow Cover: Some snowbanks on the trail in shady areas.
Bugs: Almost non-existent.
Animals Seen: Just birds and a lizard.

Want more information about this great hike? Leave a comment or use my Contact Us page.


Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2011 09:34

1910 Idaho Bighorn Sheep and Deer Hunting Trip

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I came upon a cool old story about hunting trip that took place in Idaho almost 100 years ago. The story starts out near Jackson, Wyoming where a guy hears a story about Chamberlain Basin that is suppose to be loaded with huge amounts of game animals. Three gentlemen planned this hunting trip to Idaho once they found a guide that could get them to this hunting hot spot.

Historic Idaho's Chamberlain Basin in 1910

Being that this “true hunting story” takes place in the early 1900's the 3 gentlemen are limited as to how to get to Chamberlain Basin. They start off on a train and spend the night in Pocatello and finally depart the train in Weiser, Idaho. Then it's horseback and wagon through western and central Idaho.

Along the way they hire some men that will help them get to this deer, bighorn sheep filled valley in the Sawtooth Mountains. The story explains the trials and tribulations of having to deals with their guides and helpers as well as descriptions of what Idaho looked like through the eyes of a 1900's hunter.

The hunting trail through the Sawtooth Mountains in 1910

While I was reading the story I explored their trip through Google Earth and other links I found on the Internet. Of course, in the last 100 years, place names might have changed or town may have disappeared. Below is a link to a map I made that follows their journey to Chamberlain Basin. If you click on the map points you will find snippets from the story how they made their way into the Sawtooth's.

Mapping hunting trip to Chamberlain Basin in Idaho

Click the map above to see their route


To read this entire post and read the book from right here, you'll need to CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:44

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