Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

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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. 


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Updated on 19 April 2014:
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Mountain Home Idaho News and Adventures

ATV Trip on NFS Trail 612 - Wilson Flats Video

(June 16th, 2012) A beautiful weather forecast and a hankering to get out of town led to this ATV trip. Google Earth showed me the “virtual way” to a little visited place only about 20 air miles from Mountain Home, Idaho. It was up to me to research the legality of getting there on my Arctic Cat ATV. All the info I found said heading up National Forest Service Trail #612 near Wilson Flats / Granite Mountain would be okay...

Wilson Flat and NFS Trail 612 ATV Trip

The ATV Trip
  • Parking on the north side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, I unloaded the machine and headed up to Wilson Flat on NFS Trail #606. Addie the Plott Hound was loaded in the dog cage on the back of the ATV that she is truly getting quite used to riding on now. Even though I've been up this steep and slippery road with a shear cliff on a number of occasions, it still gets the blood moving just looking down 500 feet into the valley below.
From ATV Ride to Trail 612 near Wilson Flat in Idaho

  • Once up on “the flat” the road gets easier to negotiate but is still rougher than a cobb in places. We continued west on NFS Trail 606 towards our destination. I had to stop along Elk Creek to let the dog get a drink and explore the area for awhile. After all, “it's about the journey and not the destination”, right? With Addie filled up on water, we continued heading west towards Granite Mountain.

  • Hanging a right onto NFS Trail 611 led to a rougher and less traveled section of this area. I doubt my speed ever topped 10mph and most times it was in the 5 mph range. Not because of the roughness but the beauty and exploration value made slow speeds seem more logical and enjoyable. We came upon a downed tree across the trail at one point and not wanting to cut the trip short, I used my considerable weight to move the thing off the trail.
From ATV Ride to Trail 612 near Wilson Flat in Idaho

  • At the intersection of NFS Trails 611 & 612 we continued on 611 until it deadended. NFS 611 ends in a deeply forested spot and was quite cool and dark. Seems like a great place to camp sometime. It might also be a good spot to try for a hike to the summit of the 6,800 foot tall Granite Mountain? Who knows, maybe someday?????
Video of Ride on NFS Trail 612

  • With Addie leading the way, we headed back down NFS Trail 611 and made a left on NFS 612 and our planned destination. NFS Trail 612 is quite rough as it crosses a streambed a few times making an early season trip up this road unadvisable. But on this day, there wasn't any water at all to be found along the trail.

  • This trail deadends in a semi-open area that provides some grand views out towards Little Camas Reservoir and up towards the side flanks of Granite Mountain. We had lunch at this spot and headed back via a new route. Below you can see our whole GPS Track.
Interactive Map of Entire ATV Ride

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I hoped you enjoyed this article and it will encourage you to get out to explore Idaho either on foot, horseback or on an ATV/motorcycle. You certainly won't regret the experience.


Last Updated on Monday, 25 June 2012 20:25

James Creek Mountain Biking Trip

(June 13th, 2012)  The road up to the Atlanta Summit was still closed on June 13th, but that just means a trafficless mountain biking trip in one of the most beautiful places in the Boise National Forest. Normally referred to as “James Creek Road” or the “Road to Atlanta, Idaho” and it's normally one of the last roads in this area to open up each summer. So who can pass up a chance to mountain bike on a closed road? Not me.

Rocky Bar Idaho Mountain Biking

The Road Up to James Creek Summit
To avoid any false advertising claims I must point out right now...I did not make it all the way from Rocky Bar to James Creek Summit on this trip. I stopped at the Elk Creek Bridge and turned around. But you are more than welcome to do the entire trip if you think you have the chops.

From Mountain Biking James Creek Road near Rocky Bar Idaho

We parked just off James Creek Road, less than ½ mile north of Rocky Bar and right were the “Road Closed” sign blocked the way. From there it was all hike/bike on this out and back trip and mostly it was hike while pushing my Cannondale mountain bike up the road. But I can rightfully brag my partner on this trip never once climbed on the saddle during the grueling grind up the road.

Overall, the road is in pretty good condition but there are a lot of baseball to softball sized rocks lying on or slightly embedded in this dirt/gravel road. As I have hiked this road a number of times in the past, I also observed that it's much drier up there this year than the last few years. But one thing that has changed in the last 3 years is the steepness. This road has gotten much steeper since 2009 when I mountain biked this same road. Or maybe I'm more out of shape than I was 3 years ago?

From Mountain Biking James Creek Road near Rocky Bar Idaho

The “Not So Speedy” Return Trip on the Bike
The statement made by the pro mountain biker Juliana Furtado “The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash” certainly rang true on this trip down the hill. There were many near fatal crashes on this trip.

Being out of practice and having that 4 legged, non-riding partner running inches from my front tire made for a slowish ride down to Rocky Bar. Even though there wasn't any high speed bombing down the deserted James Creek Road, we made back in short order. The only downside to the speedier ride is missing the views you'd likely see if hiking.

Five Highlights of the Trip
1. Elk Creek Waterfalls: I stopped at the spot where Elk Creek crosses under James Creek Road. The waterfall was in its full glory and I had lunch beside the creek. Just a great place to stop and reflect on life.

From Mountain Biking James Creek Road near Rocky Bar Idaho

2. Bald Mountain: Something about this burned mountain peak that inspires me when I see it. And it's hard to miss when on James Creek Road.
3. Heading up a trail I've seen so many times but always ignored to get to my destination faster. I finally took the time to head up this trail at lat/long 43.723258, -115.274972
4. The solitude!
5. I came back unhurt and still able to walk, talk and see.

Map of the Mountain Bike Route  and Hike from My GPS Unit

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Go ahead and move the map around...if you can.

Stats of the Mountain Biking Trip
  • Total Mileage: 7.67 miles but less than half was actually “on-bike”.
  • Average Slope: 7% but when trying to ride uphill it felt more like 70%.
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,542 feet

Links to Explore

From Mountain Biking James Creek Road near Rocky Bar Idaho

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Last Updated on Sunday, 17 June 2012 21:22

Trout Fishing Lime Creek

(June 7th, 2012) This trip was to a creek that I suspect few fishermen venture to even though it's not too far from Mountain Home, Idaho. There are a few minor obstacles to overcome if you wish to tread where not many have gone. The road to the trailhead and the trail down to Lime Creek might be a sticking point. Read on to find out what it's like down there.

Fishing Idaho's Lime Creek

Getting to NFS Trailhead 193
I chose to park just off Anderson Reservoir Road and head to the trailhead on my Arctic Cat ATV. This isn't completely necessary but it gave me the opportunity to explore a few places after the hike if I wished. Just a word to the wise, the dirt road called NFS #181A to the trailhead is rather narrow, rutted in places and in places susceptible to rock falls onto the road. Still, the road is suitable for any high clearance vehicle.

From Trout Fishing Lime Creek

The directions from Anderson Reservoir Road are pretty straight forward:
  • At the intersection of Anderson Reservoir Road and High Prairie Road (coordinates 43.368145, -115.239203) make a left onto Moores Flat Road or NFS Road 181.
  • Continue on NFS Road 181 for about 4-5 miles until you see the left onto NFS Road 181A.
  • Continue on NFS Road 181A until it dead ends.

The Steep Hike Down to Lime Creek
Where NFS Road 181A ends, NFS Trail 193 begins. This is a short but rather steep trail that heads straight down to Lime Creek. Be aware motorcycles and horses are allowed on this trail. And it appears as if horse traffic is the main mode of transportation down to the creek.

From Trout Fishing Lime Creek

The 2nd half of this steep trail actually parallels a semi-annual creek and occasionally is part of the creek. But even after some recent rains, this small creek was completely dry. But in the early season I'd say you might want to avoid NFS Trail 193 if you are hiking.

The Lime Creek Area
The Lime Creek area is quite lush, green and beautiful. There are plenty of cool grassy camping spots if you decided to spend the night here. The creek itself was easily “wadeable” in many place when I was down there. But creek gradient sure doesn't support many pools or calm areas to wade through.

From Trout Fishing Lime Creek

There is an old pack bridge over Lime Creek but it is “posted” as closed. The decking of the bridge seems a little iffy and I suspect that is the reason it's closed. I didn't chance using the bridge but my hiking companion wasn't as cautious.

At the pack bridge the trail splits. NFS Trail 630 head northwest away from Lime Creek and NFS Trail 193 follows Lime Creek upstream for about ½ miles before leaving the creek behind. I traveled on both trails for a short distance. The only thing you need to know is it beautiful down there.

From Trout Fishing Lime Creek

Fishing Lime Creek
First things first. I caught 2 trout on this trip. The biggest one measured in at close to 4 inches long. Obviously the other fish was smaller. I had a few nibbles and following fish but none that were quite as big as the one I caught :-)

Lime Creek, at least in the area and time that I was there, is a tough fish. The swift current and lack of any sizable pools isn't exactly suitable for ultra-light spinning gear. But it was fun and challenging casting into small eddies knowing tree branches were just itching to grab my lure before it hit the water.

What was that? You asked, was it worth the effort to hike down into Lime Creek just to catch 2 minnows trout? Well, of course it was. I'm already planning on another trip down there in mid-July. Maybe as the stream flow decreases, some nice pools will be there for me. And even if I don't catch any trout, who cares...the experience alone is worth the effort. This is one area that requires more than one visit just for its scenic setting.

Interactive Map of NFS Trail 193 and Lime Creek

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The Stats for the Hike

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Last Updated on Sunday, 10 June 2012 08:00

Mile High on Green Creek Trail

(May 31st, 2012) The last days of May saw me hiking on Green Creek Trail between Pine and Featherville, Idaho. This out and back hike is both strenuous and gentle depending on which way you are headed. To me, this is a claustrophobic hike as the trail remains in a narrow canyon while following Green Creek rather closely and sometimes, too close. Take a look at some of the photos I took on this hike.

Trailhead for Green Creek Hiking Trail near Featherville Idaho

The Hike Green Creek Trail
The Green Creek Trailhead also known as National Forest Service Trail #270 is located inside a rather large vacation home subdivision near the Johnson Hot Springs. And as such one would assume there would be a designated parking area but there isn't. I could also assume there would be signs leading you to the trailhead but there isn't. Signs and parking would likely ease any tension between landowners and hiker but it's no skin off my nose either way.

Parking near the trailhead at 43.542973, -115.287412 you start the hike going through private property. But it's not long before you are fully on NFS lands and heading uphill. You could possibly be sharing the trail with motorcycles, mountain bikes and horses as these folks are allowed. On this day, I didn't see a single soul on the trail but there were motorcycle tracks.

From Mile High on Green Creek Trail
Click for a larger photo.

For the most part, Green Creek remains relatively close to the trail and the sounds of the “babbling brook” were a constant companion and watering hole for my dog. On the section I hiked there were 2 stream crossing where your feet will get wet. And there were some sections were the stream was the trail but these sections were rather shallow and easy to navigate/stay dry.

My goal on this hike was to get high enough to enjoy sweeping views of the valley below. But the combination of a rather steep trail gradient and a section where the trail become a stream ended my hike. My secondary goal was to make it to the “mile high” or 5,280 foot point on the trail. I had to do a little off-trail hike to make it that high but I made it. And just to be honest, I was pretty darn tired and ready to turn around where I did.

From Mile High on Green Creek Trail
Click for larger photo

Overall, I have done better hikes in this area. My only complaint was the lack of sweeping views. Yeah, I know...whine, cry and complain, when I don't get spectacularly long vistas when hiking in Idaho. But the solitude, short range views and ruggedness made for a good hike. A hike I'll do again just to challenge myself to make it to that saddle.

“Tracks On” National Forest Service Trail #270

View Larger Map
Interactive Map:  The blue line is the track from my GPS unit and you can move the map.

Stats of Bondy's Hike on Green Creek Trail

  • Hike Mileage: 4.84 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,412 feet
  • Average Slope of Hike: 9.6%
  • Water for Heat Intolerant Canine: Suspect creek runs most of the summer-fall season
  • Road Miles Mountain Home to Trailhead: 56 miles
  • Land Ownership: Mainly National Forest Service, Mountain Home Ranger District of Boise National Forest
  • 1:24,000 USGS Topo Map: Featherville, Idaho quad
  • Link to all uploaded photos from this trip:

Consider This
Spread the word...if you liked this article share it with someone you think might enjoy it also. Use the Twitter, Facebook and/or Google + buttons below if it would make it easier. Got questions or something burning a hole in your brain? Then leave a comment. So, have you ever hiked on the Green Creek Trail? Nope? Then get moving and do it.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 18:55

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