Ponderosa State Park

Dom, Sue and I took the “scenic” drive through Ponderosa State Park one evening while visiting McCall, Idaho.  I put “scenic” in quotes because while the park is located on a peninsula in Payette Lake, all we could see were trees.  There was nothing scenic about it except the plethora of deer.

boulder lake

Happy Hiking: Boulder Lake

While in McCall, on two different occasions, the locals mentioned that they hiked to Boulder Lake this week.  They were excited to report there was minimal snow at this juncture, Memorial Day Weekend.  They seemed so enthusiastic, that I added Boulder Lake, located in the Payette National Forest to my hiking list.

Happy Hiking!
bear basin grand traverse loop

Happy Hiking: Bear Basin

Bear Basin Nordic Center

Bear Basin is a Nordic center located in McCall, Idaho.  In the summer, it is a popular mountain biking and hiking area, though more so for mountain biking.  After having driven a decent amount to get to trailheads recently, I decided I wanted a place with an easy hike that was easily reachable.  Bear Basin met both of these objectives.


Happy Hiking: Goose Creek Falls

Goose Creek Falls is located in Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho and the Brundage Mountain Ski Area.  There are a few ways to hike it, one hike is 5.8 miles round-trip and another is 3 miles roundtrip.  We were going to take the longer way, but after seeing a couple of mediocre reviews on AllTrails, we took the shorter route.

After having been there, I’m uncertain how this hike could be called “boring”.   We loved it!  We began on a soggy Wednesday morning around 10:30. Only two others were in the large parking area with a pit toilet when we arrived.  Perhaps the snow/rain mix for the previous five days had something to do with it!  Regardless, it was great to have Dom and Sue join me on my road trip adventure for a few days.


Six Places to Go Sandboarding Around the World

Some people in the world, just love being on boards: skate boards, surfboards, snow boards, skis, sleds and less common, sand boards.  While I’m not a huge boarder of any kind, I have surprisingly been sandboarding at a handful of places around the world.  Below are a few places for sandboarding:

camas lilies at camas prairie centennial marsh wma

Camas Prairie – Centennial Marsh WMA

Camas Prairie – Centennial Marsh WMA is a high prairie, seasonally-flooded wetland.  It is best known for it Camas Lily bloom that occurs in late May to early June.

I called the regional office to find out about the bloom, dogs and hiking trails.  The young lady didn’t know much about dogs and hiking trails.  She replied, “Yes, I think they are allowed, and I think there are some trails.”

In regards to the Camas Lily, she said, “They are supposed to peak in 3 or 4 days, but it is not a super bloom.  They are just average this year.”


Three Early Season Hikes in Sun Valley

Well, I had hoped to write about four early season hikes in Sun Valley, but the East Fork of the North Fork of the Wood River was in such bad condition, that I won’t burden you with scrambling over a forest of fallen trees.

That said, I did find three early season hikes in Sun Valley that are worth taking.  All have a moderate difficulty and range from four to six miles, give or take.

bike path on sun valley road

Top Things To Do in Sun Valley

The History of Sun Valley

Sun Valley is a small city located in Blaine County, Idaho.  But the term “Sun Valley” is more widely used to describe the surrounding region including the Sun Valley Resort, the ski areas of Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, the nearby City of Ketchum, and the Wood River Valley which extends to Hailey and Bellevue.  It became popular in the 1930’s when the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper frequented the area.

Prior to tourism, the area was a thriving mining and smeltering community.  After mining operations subsided, the area turned to sheep herding.  With the arrival of the railroad, the Sun Valley resort opened, and the area has been catering to tourists ever since.

I only spent a limited amount of time in Sun Valley and the surrounding area ten years ago while on a year long road trip in VANilla.  I have now returned in VANgo and really enjoyed staying in and exploring the area.


Happy Hiking: Murdock Creek Trail

The Murdock Creek Trail is a 6.3 mile hike located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA).  In fact, hikers drive right by the SNRA office at the turn off to the trail on Forest Road 146.

SNRA Office and Murdock Creek Trailhead

The office was closed due to COVID when I visited, but there are still many trail maps and other useful information about the area in the foyer.  If it is open, you can see a variety of animals on display such as a wolf, fox, and badger.

Forest Road 146 is dirt, but easily passable by passenger car.  The Murdock Creek Trailhead is a little over a mile down the road and on a spur to the right.