Forest sheep herds clash with my pastoral expectations. I’m always surprised to encounter them. The kids were very excited to see this bunch along Thorn Creek as we headed into Boise National Forest mountains.
Snow and fire have conspired all year to keep us from the Trinity Lakes area. After studying the fire closures we came up with a reasonable alternate on Bald Mountain.
I let the GPS software plot the shortest “automobile” route. That thing is always full of mischief. This is where it put us: an ATV trail (NF 377). I guess that’s why the road had said “Dead End.” We weren’t much deterred, though.
Much of the trail was just Thorn Creek itself. The ATVs hadn’t done much to make it wide enough for us so I ran ahead a few times to clear branches. It was a lot of fun!
The non-creek parts of the trail were pretty steep — up, down, side-t0-side. The kids thought it was a hoot. Jessica’s thoughts sounded like “oh jeez!”
Hunter brought his friend Peter along. They ran ahead while I cleared some brush then waited for me to catch up with their ride.
Finally we crawled out of the creek and back to a road, a bittersweet moment.
Thorn Creek Butte was a destination on our first Idaho Adventure Motorcycle Club¹ ride in 2008 — hard to believe that was four years ago.²
Idaho has been full of smoke for weeks with our own fires and what blows in from those in Nevada, Oregon and Washington. We walked around the deck of the lookout but couldn’t see far.
The kids were curious about living in the lookout. I’d hoped to let them hear about it but there was no attendant while we visited.
I thought we would stay at the Bald Mountain Campground¹ a couple miles below the lookout but we all agreed it looked a little forest-ghetto. We would give up the National Forest picnic table and outhouse for better environs.
We followed some tracks off the main road and finally off the road completely to find something we thought we would enjoy more. We knew it was the right spot when the kids found forts in the rocks within minutes of stopping.
I was surprised at how dry even the higher mountains are. No wonder they’re all burning.
Once our work was done we let the kids give us a tour of their several exciting discoveries.
It sprinkled in the night but not so much it wasn’t bone dry again by late morning.