Sunday, April 26, 2009

Boise Ridge Road still snow-bound

Todd post-holes in the snow

Roberto, Mark and Jim at Eagleson Summit (6,000+ feet)

Scott pushes his bike through the snow

Hi all,

Today, we did a 20+ mile mountain bike ride up Hard Guy to Eagleson Summit and then down 8th Street to Scotts, Corrals downhill, Hulls and Red Fox back to Camelsback Park. I had wondered whether the Boise Ridge Road -- the ridgetop road that connects all of the great downhill trails back into Boise -- was clear of snow. Well, it's not but it's getting close.

We were able to hike-a-bike for about 30 minutes through multiple snow banks to get from the Hard Guy upper trailhead over to 8th Street, a distance of two miles or so. The snow is still a few feet deep, and it's condensed ... so it's possible to walk on it without post-holing most of the time. Hopefully, things will melt out in the next couple weeks.

- SS

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Join us for Spring Hike in the Boise Foothills Saturday

Hi all,

The Hillside to the Hollow Coalition will lead its second annual hike in the Boise Foothills at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, to showcase the area that the group has been working on preserving for more than a year. The public is invited and encouraged to participate.

“Join us for our second annual spring hike to get a project update (good things happening!),” said Steve Stuebner, a coalition spokesman. “Celebrate open space and Earth Day, learn about spring flowers, and enjoy some cookies and drinks afterwards. It’s a family-friendly hike. All ages are welcome.”

Meet at 10 a.m. Saturday by Lulu’s and Moxie Java in the Highlands shopping center. The weather is supposed to be grand -- high in the 60s with mostly clear skies.

The Hillside to the Hollow Coalition has been quite successful in building grass-roots support for the 350-acre swatch of foothills property bounded by 36th Street, Hill Road and Bogus Basin Road. It now has more than 2,500 individual supporters, the endorsement of 10 neighborhood associations, and numerous businesses.

The group has presented its case to the Boise Foothills Levy Committee, the Boise Planning & Zoning Commission, and will be presenting soon to the Boise City Council. Approximately 300 people showed up for the spring hike in 2008.

“We’ve all heard the phrase a “death by a thousand cuts,” said Michelle Cooper, coalition president, a mother of two who’s been hiking in the area for 15+ years. “Well, that’s what is happening Hillside to the Hollow. We’re losing land and trails incrementally to development.”

Watch a cool video about why we need to protect Hillside to the Hollow.

For more information, call Matt at 345-2413 or email Watch our web site for updates in case of nasty bad weather,

- SS

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Go see the mighty Snake bursting with life in Twin Falls

Top, Let's Make a Deal rapid
Next, flip in last rapid on the Murtaugh
Pair of Dice, right-side run
Shoshone Falls
(Photos coutesy Josh McDannel and Ted Day)
Hey all,

Every once in a great while, a perfect storm of weather, snowpack and water coalesce to bring the Middle Snake River to life for a few precious days -- perhaps even weeks in the springtime. Right now, as we speak, the gates of Milner Dam are open and the Middle Snake is running at more than 10,000 cubic feet per second and rising. The mighty Snake is running bank-full with lots of volume, and it's expected to do so for the next 10 days.

This means two things for recreationists:

1. Shoshone Falls is roaring, shall we say, thundering, and very much alive. Every Idahoan has to see the 212-foot Shoshone Falls, often called the Niagara of the West, flowing in all of its glory. Take the family and get pictures of the kids. Go for a day trip and bring a picnic. There's a park next to the falls.

2. Run the Murtaugh section of the Middle Snake, an awe-inspiring challenge for the experienced Class 4+ boater. Whitewater boaters who run the South Fork Payette Canyon, Hells Canyon, the Lochsa, the Middle Fork at high water, or the Selway should be capable of running the Murtaugh. The Murtaugh has some big drops like Pair of Dice, Let's Make a Deal and more.

If you're not an experienced boater, and your buddy can't take you, book a trip with Idaho Guide Service in Twin Falls. The outfitter, Olin Gardner, has been running the Middle Snake since the early '80s. He's the only outfitter permitted to run the Middle Snake, so there you have it.

Here are directions to the put-in and takeout if you're going to kayak or raft the Murtaugh on your own.

- SS

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bike & Trike event a great opportunity to ride with Kristin Armstrong

On Saturday, families and kids and hard-core elite racers are heading out to the Bike & Trike event in Middleton to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong. The event is a fund-raiser for the Middleton Library. I personally have never met Kristin, a Boise resident who is still active racing around the globe, so I'm excited about meeting her, and I know the kids and parents will really appreciate hanging out with her.

The Bike & Trike event is being held at the new West Highlands community in Middleton, where Coleman Homes is making brand-spanking-new pavement available for elite bike racing, adults racing on trikes and kids bike races. We will be giving away a free kids mountain bike ($300 value) to people who sign up for the kids races (must be present to win). All race participants will get a free water bottle and T-shirt.

Coleman Homes is co-sponsoring the event with George's Cycles. Mike Cooley, the bike racing guru from George's who puts on the Twilight Criterium every year, is organizing the races. The day will start with Miss & Out races on a half-mile course. You can set up your lawn chair on a sidewalk right next to the course and feel the speed of true bike racing. The last rider to cross the finish line on each lap is out of the race. So they'll be riding for their life.

At lunchtime, we'll hold some celebrity trike races, featuring local TV and radio personalities and elected officials. Trike racing is available for the general public as well. We have some modified trikes that are slightly larger and can be ridden by adults. Check out this You Tube video of what a trike race looks like. It's hilarious.

A no-host catered lunch will be served by Darcy's Catering in Nampa.

And then at 1:30 p.m., the kids bike races will start, with categories of age 3 with training wheels on up. Kristin Armstrong will ride victory laps with the kids, award medals and sign autographs. The kids races are open to ages 3-14.

How often do your kids have a chance to rub shoulders with an Olympic gold medalist? And get a free T-shirt and water bottle to boot? Kristin Armstrong is very generous to share her day with us. I hope you can bring your family out and have a good time.

More information can be found at You can sign up for the event in advance at or register Saturday morning at West Highlands. Feel free to call me for more information, 484-0295, - Steve Stuebner

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring a perfect time to visit Leslie Gulch

In the late afternoon, the sun casts a golden glow on the beige and rouge spires that rise dramatically from the gentle sagebrush hills in Leslie Gulch. I always feel like I'm in southern Utah there, and yet, it's really eastern Oregon, just 1.5 hours from Boise.

Leslie Gulch is an awesome place for hiking honeycomb canyons, fishing or boating on Owyhee Reservoir, and mountain biking on desert two-tracks. It's also a great place to car camp. I've even done a short backpack in a honeycomb canyon ... go get lost in the magical rocks, surround yourself with beauty, bask in the serenity.

For the Tip of the Week, I recommend that you go hiking and camping in Leslie Gulch. My hiking and trail-running book, Boise Trail Guide, suggests a 5.5-mile hike to the summit of the Yellow Jacket peak, a stunningly beautiful rock formation that lords over Leslie Gulch. The peak is about 900 vertical feet from the valley floor. I'll attach a map.

Park at the Juniper Gulch trailhead on the right side of the gulch. Hike uphill on a winding creek bottom for 1 mile, enjoying the volcanic tuff-rock walls and Swiss-cheese-like formations in the canyon. After the canyon opens up, look for a left-hand draw where you can scramble to the top of the ridge, and the top of Yellow Jacket. Return the way you came.

When it's a wet spring, like the one we're experiencing now, many of the dirt roads in the Owyhee Mountains can be impassible One advantage of going to Leslie Gulch is that the roads are heavily graveled and thus, more dependable.

Come prepared for a self-supported camping experience in Leslie Gulch. Bring your tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, kitchen stuff, water, even your own firewood, come equipped for cold weather, and you'll have a great time. There are several vault toilets in the gulch. There also is a great deep-draw boat ramp for launching your craft.

Directions to Leslie Gulch: Take I-84 west to the ID 55 exit in west Nampa. Go south on ID 55 18 miles to Marsing. Drive through Marsing and then watch for a turnoff to U.S. 95 south on the left. Take U.S. 95 south about 16 miles until you come to a BLM sign. Turn right on the gravel road and follow signs to Leslie Gulch. It's 22 miles to this springtime wonderland.

- SS

Thanks to the Malheur Agricultural Experiment Station for their web photos.