Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring tease opens Boise Foothills to recreation

I went out for my first mountain bike ride of the spring in the Boise Foothills on Friday, March 20, and it was the warmest day (photo courtesy Joshua Roper) of the year so far - just nudging 70 degrees. It had been getting progressively warmer since Wednesday, the 17th, and so I expected the trails would be getting pretty dry.

Once Wendy and I got out there, we realized that everything was bone dry in the lower foothills trails. Cool! We rode Red Fox and Chickadee Ridge over to Hulls Gulch, and then climbed
Kestrel to Crestline, and then rode up to the top of Sidewinder. Again, everything was totally dry.

Yippee, I thought, the recreation season in the Boise Foothills has begun for yet another year of non-stop fun and relaxation. Being the first real warm day of spring, people were out in droves that evening. Hikers, joggers, mountain bikers and dogs everywhere! The creek in Hulls Gulch was running strong. Daylight-savings time already had begun, so it was a fantastic evening. We are so lucky to live in a place with 100 miles of trails at our doorstep.

But this year, we seem to be getting the warm, dry weather in small doses so far. I went for a 5-mile run in the Hillside to the Hollow area on the Saturday after that beautiful Friday, and it was still dry and warm, but a thunderstorm chased me home, and it rained all day on Sunday. On Monday, I did a quick ride after work in Military Reserve, and the trails had dried out by then - I just encountered a few small tiny puddles on Bucktail and Shanes. But the next couple days, it rained hard, and turned things to mush. By Friday of this week, things were drying out again, but more rain was forecast for Sunday.

To make sure that you're not causing any trouble on muddy trails, keep an eye on the dialogue in the Idaho Outdoors yahoo group and the new Boise Front Trails yahoo group. If you're not a member, it's easy to join. All you need is a yahoo login. Both groups have had a lot of dialogue about foothills trail conditions on a daily basis. You also can check trail reports on the Ridge to Rivers web site.

Please remember, if the foothills trails are muddy, just turn around and go for a ride on your road bike or a run on the Greenbelt or wherever you won't cause environmental damage. On weekends, consider heading out to the Owyhee foothills, south of Nampa or Marsing, or the Snake River Birds of Prey area. The trails out there are usually the first to dry out.

Thanks and have fun! - SS