SE Idaho's Indian Hot Springs, City of Rocks, and Craters of the Moon

turbodb

Well-known member
Double Dose of Indian Hot Springs
The day started out just like any other. Well, any other where the previous included a 12-hour drive from home to the starting point of our next adventure.

So let's back up for a moment... We'd arrived at Bruneau Canyon Overlook just after 10:00pm the day before - our drive from home behind us, capped off by dinner with Ben @m3bassman, Kirsten, Mikey @pizzaviolence, and Amber at their local taco joint - Enrique's - a place they'd recommended a year before when we spent Two-and-a-Half Days in Idaho.

Having grown up in California and with a few great taco trucks at home, I'd have to say it was OK, but not great :)sorry: y'all); the company on the other hand was fabulous! And, as we'd parted ways, Mikey had recommended that we spend the night at Bruneau Canyon Overlook - a couple hours closer than we'd planned to camp, and a beautiful spot come morning light. So, as the sun set behind us, that's exactly where we ended up.


And with that, we're all caught up. It's TODAY again!

Our time zones all screwy, it was early - 4:15am or so - when my alarm went off, urging me out of bed to capture the orange on the horizon, an hour or so before the sun would make its appearance for the day.


And then - as has become a habit - I was back to bed The previous day had left me exhausted, and the already warm morning air was such a nice change from the freezing cold that I'm used to waking up to. Soon, I was fast asleep, and nearly 4 hours passed before @mrs.turbodb and I were awoken to the scream of a jet engine and a sonic boom overhead!



There are few things as exhilarating to me as watching low-flying jets - perhaps an indication that I'm still young at heart - and we watched as 8 jets sped north over our camp site - each and every one doing barrel rolls and having a splendiferous time. Man, how I'd love to get a ride in one of those puppies! And then, as we lay in bed, I looked over and said, "I've got an idea."

Hey! Get. Your. Head. Out. Of. The. Gutter.

See, we'd planned to spend the day heading to Indian Hot Springs via the east entrance - a dirt track that we'd been meaning to take since we'd first come to Idaho 18 months ago to pick up the CBI Outback Bumper. Having run our of time, we'd headed straight down to The Maze, Canyonlands, and we'd never made it back. Then, at dinner the night before, Ben reminded me that he and Kirsten had tried to reach the springs via the west entrance - stymied by a rock slide on the final descent down into the valley.

So I proposed to @mrs.turbodb that we try the west route first. And then, if we couldn't make it down, we'd drive around to the east. But if we could - and if we could ford the Bruneau River (since the bridge over the river had reportedly been out for a few years) - then we could do both sides on our way east towards City of Rocks, our next destination.

My proposal was accepted, and we climbed out of the tent to a hot 75°F morning. And it wasn't even 9:00am yet.


As breakfast was made - homegrown blueberries and Cheerios - I took a few minutes to try (and if we're honest, fail miserably) capturing Bruneau Canyon; what turned out to be a perfect spot to camp for the night.



And then, we headed out - backtracking a few miles to ID-51 where we'd head south, our well-planned trip now "off-the-rails" before we really even started. The best kind of trip - if you ask me. ?



Routeless at this point, we pulled off the highway at a road that looked like it went the direction we needed to go, and set of east - the temperature now already above 80°F, both of us wishing that the AC was in full working order (and a story for another time). But, we couldn't complain about the surroundings - as usual, out here and away from the hustle and bustle of everything else, it was beautiful.





Along the way, we ran into a couple on a side-by-side - out scouting for Elk, the woman having drawn a tag for later in the year. Curious where we were off to, they were surprised to hear of the hot spring and decided it might be just a bit more fun to follow us than continue their scouting mission - a bit of a bummer in our opinion, but who were we to tell them where they could go?

At any rate, ahead of us on the trail, they paused at each fork to see which way we'd go - that is, until the last one where they proceeded left as we went right. Strange, but just fine with us - as we pulled up next to an old rock house at the top of the cherry-stem descent - to an old ghost town located at Indian Hot Springs.


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It was here that I decided it would be prudent to walk the trail for a bit before proceeding. This was where Ben had been turned around, and I figured that it was better to find out if the rock slide was still there before we headed down rather than make it half way down, only to have to back up a narrow ledge road. And it was quite the road - only a few inches wider than the Tacoma's track in a few places, eventually making its way down into the valley...


Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...

Keep reading the rest here
Double Dose of Indian Hot Springs



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turbodb

Well-known member
We Take Up Residence in Idaho's City of Rocks

There's nothing better than a night with temps in the high 40's a light breeze, and a river gurgling along below camp. Coupled with our position at the bottom of a valley, there was no reason to get up for sunrise, and it was nearly 8:00am before we finally poked our heads out of the tent to take in our beautiful surroundings - the creek below, the hot springs to the west, and pinnacles to the east. And, we did it mostly because we knew that it wasn't going to be long before it got even hotter than the previous day, and we wanted to get a move on before we were sweating it out under the mid-day sun.


Opting to skip breakfast given the mosquitoes, we figured we could spend a few minutes exploring the ghost town on the east banks of the Bruneau River before heading out, so we crossed the bridge and checked out the old stone buildings - most of them reduced to their rubble foundations, but one still partially standing, even it's roof resisting disintegration after all these years.


And then, it was back up the road and out past the old Chevy pickup as we made our way to the top of the canyon, where we were greeted - as one is - by a cow hip guarding the road.




Taking our cue from the cow hip, we kept moooooo-ving, making our way back along the poorly maintained road as quickly as we could. Having come this way only 12 hours earlier, we didn't stop much - though an Idaho Centennial Trail marker and some red wildflowers were enough to get us to pull over as we ticked the miles away, eventually hitting a well-graded gravel road.


Travelling along the gravel road - Balanced Rock Road - we hoped that there'd be something cool to see - so as the road ended at a paved intersection, we figured it was time to air up for the several-hour cruise to our next destination - Idaho's City of Rocks National Preserve.

Tires full, it was only a mile or so down the road that we ran into Balanced Rock! Now, it seemed a little strange that it wasn't actually on Balanced Rock Road, but we'll just chalk it up to Idaho being a little on the weird side - I mean, given what we know of the good folks who live there. ?


From there though, it was smoothing sailing with only a quick stop for food and fuel - the Tacoma racing along towards City of Rocks, happy to have full tires and a full tank of gas. And so, it was early afternoon when we arrived at City of Rocks, a place we'd been excited to see since Ben @m3bassman had posted some photos of a trip he'd done with Will @willhaman21 earlier in the year.

It was an extra-nice surprise to find that the roads leading to the reserve were dirt as we pulled into the northeast entrance.


Side note: we'd later find that they'd recently sprayed Magnesium Chloride on the road for dust control - the compound pulling water from the surrounding air to keep dust particles down - and in the process, sticking to every surface it touched. Liquid rust, as it were. Needless to say, the truck was getting a good undercarriage wash when we got home.

For now, unaware of the extent of the evil, and excited for the views that were expanding in front of us, we continued on - our first stop the deliciously-stacked Breadloaves, surrounded by wild iris.




As we made our way to the visitor center to check in and get the run-down on any aspects of the park that we shouldn't miss, we stopped a few more times - the City of Rocks rising up around us - the sights irresistible.





Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...

Keep reading the rest here
We Take Up Residence in Idaho's City of Rocks



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turbodb

Well-known member
From City of Rocks to Craters of the Moon
July 3, 2019.

Hoping for a colorful sunrise framed by City of Rocks' formations, I was up early - right around 5:00am - greeted by clouds on the horizon and a showing that was at best, "meh." You can't win them all, and I was quickly back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep.


Still, we were up earlier than we'd been the previous mornings - because we had no idea how long today's adventures into the Sawtooth National Forest would take - and we figured it would be a good idea to evacuate our adopted camp site reasonably early, regardless. As we looked around, I was glad we'd explored most of the reserve the day before - the morning clouds having spread across the sky, casting a flat light over the landscape.



Before heading north, we enjoyed a quick cereal breakfast with the last of our homegrown blueberries and entertainment from the local "wildlife." And then, we were off.




Now, the previous day at the visitor center, I'd noticed a photo of a log cabin in the reserve with the Twin Sisters in the background.


Named the Moon Homestead, there was no other information about it's location. Curious, I suggested that we go looking for it, and @mrs.turbodb was game, so we turned around and set out on foot. Eventually I found the spot, but alas, the building was gone - perhaps burned in a wildfire, or removed for liability reduction. Either way, a fun hour of detective work, and an unsolved mystery.


With that, we headed north once again, making our way through what we'd see the day before, and towards FR-562 and the unknown - at least mostly. We did know that the camp site we'd technically reserved was up this road, and we knew that the road was covered in impassable snow a couple short months earlier - but besides that, we figured we'd see what the mountains had in store, hopefully leaving the area by 5:00pm so we could make it to Boise and our next adventure a few hours after dinner.



A short way up FR-562 and we quickly decided it was time to air down. Though dirt, the roads in City of Rocks were in great condition - the necessary result of having to cater to family camping. But, as we climbed in elevation, passing the last of the reservable camp sites, the road quickly became one less traveled. We found a nice bluff overlooking the rocks below and aired down as we took in our surroundings - now void of the crowds we'd seen the day before.


Then, we continued our ascent - climbing up some 2500' over the City of Rocks - into the Sawtooth National Forest and eventually to the top of Graham Peak, where we once again got a view of the valley below - and a sister valley to the northeast, not part of the reserve, but with similar rock formations that looked worth exploring in the future!




We explored leisurely before heading back to the truck and continuing on our way through the maze of roads that wound up, around, and through the forest - in and out of trees, across wildflower filled meadows, and to several spectacular viewpoints. Even destinationless and meandering, it turned out to be my favorite part of the trip so far.




Then - as we neared 8600' - snow! We'd figured we would hit it, but we weren't sure if it'd stop us in our tracks. The first few drifts didn't - they were shallow enough that we could plow right though. But then, only a quarter mile before the end of the road, a 3' deep drift across the road spelled the end of the line for us - this wasn't something we were going to tackle as a solo truck, that was for sure!


Don't miss the rest of the story, and all the remaining photos that don't fit here (due to max post size). Hopefully that can change in the future, but until then...

Keep reading the rest here
From City of Rocks to Craters of the Moon



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Idaho_Pakeha

Occasional Archaeologist
I have stayed in the same camp spot at City of Rocks. I think it is a group spot so it is away from the other ones. I have also been down to the bridge at Indian Hot Springs on the Bruneau. It was in pretty rough shape 20 years ago...
 

turbodb

Well-known member
I have stayed in the same camp spot at City of Rocks. I think it is a group spot so it is away from the other ones. I have also been down to the bridge at Indian Hot Springs on the Bruneau. It was in pretty rough shape 20 years ago...
Yeah, that is a group spot; we were lucky to have it to ourselves that evening for sure!

And that bridge in Indian Hot Springs... well, it's not in such rough shape anymore... Check out this story:

The Long Road to Silver City, Wickahoney, & Indian Hot Springs – Owyhee Redux #4

Or, if you want to read the entire trip report (through more of Owyhee), Owyhee Redux (May 2020)

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Idaho_Pakeha

Occasional Archaeologist
Yeah, that is a group spot; we were lucky to have it to ourselves that evening for sure!

And that bridge in Indian Hot Springs... well, it's not in such rough shape anymore... Check out this story:

The Long Road to Silver City, Wickahoney, & Indian Hot Springs – Owyhee Redux #4

Or, if you want to read the entire trip report (through more of Owyhee), Owyhee Redux (May 2020)

49985315397_134bb13697_h.jpg
wow, that is an improvement. Have you been upstream on Clover-Three Creek Road to Jarbidge? If you have, you have driven by Juniper Butte USAF Range. I worked on archaeological survey there for a year with another couple of years doing ancillary facilities all over that area, camping the whole time. My camping setup started as a little Eureka tent with a backpack stove and after a couple of years it was a 10 x 14 canvas tent with a cot, a chair and a rug. It's one thing doing an overnighter, it is something completely different camping for a whole summer out there. Ticks, Badgers, and Rattlesnakes, oh my! Love your pics, even after all that time, i still love that area
 

Idaho_Pakeha

Occasional Archaeologist
BTW your pic of the unknown "compound" near Wickahoney that you surmised might be a correctional facility or something is actually a military target. If you had looked at it up close you would have noticed that it has no actual foundations, just posts on cinder blocks. There are some other strange features too, like the "smokestacks" that are made of sheet metal. it is actually a simulated "Iraqi Chemical Weapons Plant", or so i was told when we visited the site back in the day, prior to construction. Oh yeah, i camped for six weeks at the ruins of Wickahoney. Here is a pic from "somewhere" near there I took this last May. Mounted figures are actually pretty rare on petroglyphs. I've seen lots of petroglyphs but none like this.

IMG_7286.jpg
 
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turbodb

Well-known member
wow, that is an improvement. Have you been upstream on Clover-Three Creek Road to Jarbidge? If you have, you have driven by Juniper Butte USAF Range. I worked on archaeological survey there for a year with another couple of years doing ancillary facilities all over that area, camping the whole time. My camping setup started as a little Eureka tent with a backpack stove and after a couple of years it was a 10 x 14 canvas tent with a cot, a chair and a rug. It's one thing doing an overnighter, it is something completely different camping for a whole summer out there. Ticks, Badgers, and Rattlesnakes, oh my! Love your pics, even after all that time, i still love that area
I have been upstream along the Clover-Three Creek Road, and know the USAF range there. Actually, got a great photo as we passed one of the "objects may fall from the sky" signs. Was in the first post of the this trip report actually... or at least, was there if you clicked the link to keep reading the rest on my blog ;).

That definitely sounds like quite the summer out there. I could do without the Ticks, but Badgers and Rattlers sound interesting to me - though, have to watch where you step, I suppose!

BTW your pic of the unknown "compound" near Wickahoney that you surmised might be a correctional facility or something is actually a military target. If you had looked at it up close you would have noticed that it has no actual foundations, just posts on cinder blocks. There are some other strange features too, like the "smokestacks" that are made of sheet metal. it is actually a simulated "Iraqi Chemical Weapons Plant", or so i was told when we visited the site back in the day, prior to construction. Oh yeah, i camped for six weeks at the ruins of Wickahoney. Here is a pic from "somewhere" near there I took this last May.View attachment 612830
Thanks for the info on that facility - I'd heard as much from a few other folks when I started asking around, but no actual confirmation, and definitely no detail like you have. Super cool to know, and I'm going to update my blog post with that info.

Wickahoney turned out to be cooler than I thought it would be - on satellite imagery, it just looks like a foundation, but it's obviously so much more. I might have to go explore again and see if I can find your "somewhere," it's always great to stumble upon those. And, even if I don't find it, the search will be fun!
 

Idaho_Pakeha

Occasional Archaeologist
I have been upstream along the Clover-Three Creek Road, and know the USAF range there. Actually, got a great photo as we passed one of the "objects may fall from the sky" signs. Was in the first post of the this trip report actually... or at least, was there if you clicked the link to keep reading the rest on my blog ;).

That definitely sounds like quite the summer out there. I could do without the Ticks, but Badgers and Rattlers sound interesting to me - though, have to watch where you step, I suppose!


Thanks for the info on that facility - I'd heard as much from a few other folks when I started asking around, but no actual confirmation, and definitely no detail like you have. Super cool to know, and I'm going to update my blog post with that info.

Wickahoney turned out to be cooler than I thought it would be - on satellite imagery, it just looks like a foundation, but it's obviously so much more. I might have to go explore again and see if I can find your "somewhere," it's always great to stumble upon those. And, even if I don't find it, the search will be fun!
Thanks for the link. Yeah you have a lot of photos from that area, I will have to take some time and look at them all ;). Here is another pic from the petroglyph site out there. Maybe sometime you are exploring out here we will cross paths. IMG_7253.jpgIf i am around i would be happy to show you some cool stuff you might not have come across.
Chris
 

Pacific Northwest yetti

Expedition Medic
I am also in the PNW, its a beautiful place. Ill check it out thank you.

Happy tails and Safe travels
Hopefully sent from somewhere pretty and remote.
With my entertainment and navigation multitool.

Contract AEMT, Firefighter, MCPIC,Remote Medic, Safety Manager.
 

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