Thursday, May 26, 2022

Wet & Soggy weather coming for Memorial Day weekend in Idaho - oh well!

Radar image from 7 a.m. Saturday, May 28. 

Hi all, 

This is one of those Memorial Day weekends when you might be better off finding a place to practice your axe-throwing technique, binge-watch movies on your favorite streaming channels or catch the opening of Top Gun: Maverick.

The weather forecast looks positively soggy no matter if you're heading south into the Owyhee/Bruneau desert, east to the Thousand Springs region, or north to Cascade, McCall or Stanley. 

Even the Boise forecast is calling for quite a few showers Friday afternoon-Monday, though it appears there will be a few gaps between storms when you can get out for a quick ride or dog walk. If it really pours, the R2R trails will need to dry out, so stick to the Greenbelt or all-weather trails if need be.

Because of the wet forecasts, I wouldn't recommend my usual destinations (post from 2021) for Memorial Day weekend. But if you do go, be sure to bring a bomb-proof tarp! 

Gold Fork Hot Springs 

Instead, you might head for an Idaho natural hot springs (post from Visit Idaho: 7 must-visit primitive hot springs) or commercial hot springs like The Springs in Idaho City (reservations required), Gold Fork Hot Springs near Donnelly (vax cards required), or Zims Hot Springs near New Meadows. Don't think you can get to Burgdorf yet without a snowmobile? Maybe Valley County will plow it? 

Or you might go morel-picking in rain-gear? See my post from last week. 

Or rent a cabin in the Boise National Forest or rent a cabin through vrbo or airbnb?

Just as a reminder, please Recreate Responsibly when you're outdoors this summer. Spread the word! 


Have a fun and relaxing Memorial Day weekend! 
- SS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Morels are beginning to Pop in the forests of SW Idaho!


Wendy was excited about our mushroom haul ... 
Hi all,

For me, it's always exciting to go hunting for morel mushrooms in the forest. 

When you see the trilliums beginning to bloom, you know morels are beginning to pop! 

Then, it's a matter of finding them amidst all of the downed trees, brush, moss, wildflowers, and rotting logs. You really have to focus your eyes on the forest floor at a very small scale! It takes a lot of staring at nothing, patience and persistence!  

Weekend weather is going to feature high temps in the 60s in Boise, and cool in the mountains, with highs in the low 50s. But the sun has been shining enough lately to allow things to grow on the forest floor. 

When it warms up more next week, the mushroom crop might be better than it is now, but there's only one way to find out, right? 

Maybe you have your favorite morel-hunting spot. If not, go morel hunting in forested areas that have burned in recent times. The disturbance of fire tends to lead to the growth of fungi and mycelia. You can look up burns from previous years on this site

No permit is needed to hunt morels. You can explore in the Boise or Payette National Forest, state parks or on Idaho Department of Lands property open to recreation. 

What's so special about morels? If you like to eat mushrooms, morels are a delicacy. They are positively delicious, especially sauteed in butter and garlic, and mixed with eggs or served with steak, mixed into soups -- there's just all kinds of applications.

Morels are fun to pick because they're very distinctive ... they have a conical shape, kind of like a Christmas tree, but with honeycombs inside. My suggestion is to walk very slow through the woods, and stare at the ground, looking for morels. Once you see some, you'll find more. 

I seem to find morels more under fir trees than pine trees on open ground. If there's a lot of bear grass growing on the slope, it's not a good site for morels. Sometimes you'll find groups of morels popping up underneath alder brush. Once you find a fertile area for morels, you'll keep coming back to those spots for more.

If you stay in the Boise Valley this weekend, it should be great conditions for hiking and biking outings. I'd also recommend:
Have fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Weather drying out in the Bruneau Desert this weekend; Three trips worth exploring!

Courtesy Roots Rated web site CKnowles. 

Hi all, 

What an amazing week it's been! The freak snowstorm on Monday dropped 18" of new snow at Bogus Basin, and backcountry skiers flocked to the ski area to enjoy the fresh *pow.*

I found myself cutting up giant tree limbs and branches that fell off big maple trees around our house for the next 2 days! Did 4 runs to the Ada County Landfill on Tuesday morning. All of the tree services were booked out for weeks! Got 'er done! 

The weather looks wet in the mountains in this weekend (more backcountry skiing?), but there should be some weather windows to enjoy the Boise foothills trails at least by Sunday, when a high temperature of 82 degrees is forecast. 

I rode the Cartwright 4 Summits road ride yesterday (the dump loop), and the bitterbrush was beginning to bloom with some sunshine in the afternoon. Arrowleaf balsamroot is blooming everywhere as well along with some lupine and other flowers. 

Courtesy Roots Rated site/CKnowles

I'm not seeing any rain in the forecast in the Bruneau or Grandview areas this weekend, and they may see a high temp of 85 degrees on Sunday, so I'll share a few ideas to try in that direction.  

1. BLM Shoofly Oolite Interpretive trail - This is a great spot for young kids and families and anyone who'd like to explore some cool rock formations and learn more about the region's geology (ever heard of the ancient Lake Idaho?). How to get there - Go to Grandview, go left on ID 78, then right on the Owyhee Backcountry Byway. The Oolite site is 10.3 miles up the byway, on the right-hand side of the road. 

West Fork Shoofly Loop

2. West Fork Shoofly Quick Loop - This is a little discovery hike that I pioneered when researching the Owyhee book. Click on the link to an earlier blog post with all the details. The trailhead is located 18 miles off of the Owyhee Backcountry Byway, turning left off the main road onto a two-track road (AWD vehicles OK) that leads over to a trailhead in the Little Jacks Wilderness. Distance: 5.5 miles; travel time: 3 hours; 850 feet of vertical gain. The hike requires some navigation so be sure to print out the map before you go. 

3. Bruneau Overlook - If you've never been to the Bruneau Overlook, it's a spectacular sight to behold. Definitely worth the trip. Click on the link for driving directions. It's easy to get there, and you don't need a 4WD vehicle to navigate the good gravel road. Bring a lunch and plenty of water and enjoy the views. You can walk along the rim to see more of the canyon if you want. 

BTW - For trip-planning purposes, you might want to know that the weather gods are expecting that we will have continued wetter-than-normal weather, and cooler-than-normal weather in May.


Have fun! 
- SS