Thorn Creek to its Butte

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September 22, 2012
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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!”

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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8017711827

Hunter brought his friend Peter along. They ran ahead while I cleared some brush then waited for me to catch up with their ride.

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I think I can
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I think I can
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Finally we crawled out of the creek and back to a road, a bittersweet moment.

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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

  1. motoidaho.com/motoidaho
  2. flickr.com/…/detail
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mapmap http://flickr.com/photos/trailimage/8017724365

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.

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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.

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You’re almost twelve
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You’re almost twelve
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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.

  1. fs.usda.gov/…/recarea
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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.

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I was surprised at how dry even the higher mountains are. No wonder they’re all burning.

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Peter in Nature
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Peter in Nature
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Jess and I setup camp while the kids ran wild
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Jess and I setup camp while the kids ran wild
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Once our work was done we let the kids give us a tour of their several exciting discoveries.

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Underfoot
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Underfoot
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Bringing sexy back
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Bringing sexy back
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Fire safety
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Fire safety
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Dinner is served
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Dinner is served
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Hard to slow them down
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Hard to slow them down
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Black Boss Porter
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Black Boss Porter
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Good stuff.

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The well done mallow
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The well done mallow
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It sprinkled in the night but not so much it wasn’t bone dry again by late morning.

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Hot chocolate cheers
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Hot chocolate cheers
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Morning climb
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Morning climb
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Tractor beam
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Tractor beam
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Round of cocoa
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Round of cocoa
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Pretend it’s mist
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Pretend it’s mist
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