Soaking Zen in 2010 (expanded)

Bog Sunset
Note: Originally posted 12.31.09, Updated 01.02.10

First, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the fallen…

In 2009, we lost the pools at Molly’s Tubs, Vulcan and Rocky Canyon (more). All 3 hot springs are located in Idaho, and all 3 were deconstructed by the Forest Service due to reasoning centered around public abuse and misuse.

Over the last decade Idaho has lost many public hot springs in addition to the 3 above. It's going down in Idaho in almost the exact same way it occurred in Oregon and Washington in the past. Ever heard of Cougar Hot Springs? How about Scenic, Wind River, Bagby, McCredie, Olympic, Austin? These hot springs were all once incredible public soaks. Legendary, in their own right. Epic among hot springer circles. They all are either closed, or feature restricted access, expensive permits and/or excessive vandalism and vehicle break-ins (and of course unreal amounts of trash).

The good news is we can learn from their example, but we don't have much time. Jerry Johnson and Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho are now closed at night. Skinnydipper has a range of problems; vehicle break-ins, flat tire/vehicle damage, gang fights, excessive trash, drunken and lewd behavior (meaning swinger gatherings). Skinnydipper was actually under nighttime closure for two years ending in 2009. However, it was rarely enforced, and signage was destroyed as fast as it was enacted.

The Moral of the Story

If we can figure out how to keep these sacred places clean and safe, I think we can actually save them. If we let abuse and misuse run rampant, the powers that be will have no choice but to either restrict usage or enact strict access measures.

This brings me back to the post title – Soaking Zen in 2010. This year, clean-up the hot springs before you soak. If there are disreputable folks trashing it up – do something sensible. Say something. Maybe start picking up trash in front of them, or snap a pic of their license plate and report them to the nearest Ranger Station or public lands office.

Believe me, a sweet soak in a natural hot springs feels a lot better this way. Hot springs need protection if they are to be enjoyed by the public for years to come, as it should be.

With that said, I want to express my gratitude to all of the unsung HS heroes. All of the trash picker-uppers, conservation and preservation supporters, volunteers, eco-friendly public land workers, petition signers, bloggers, news anchors and directors and outspoken enviro do-gooders. I thank you, mother nature thanks you and a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts, thank you.

It is not enough to UNDERSTAND the natural world.

The point is to DEFEND and PRESERVE it.

-Edward Abbey

Happy New Year!

Trail Creek Hot Springs Clean Up


Due to lack of funding Boise River Volunteers went to Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho on 12/27 instead- and a great choice it worked out to be! The soak was AMAZING as can be expected! and the trash- moderate, it took a little bit of hunting, but once found we got nearly a black bag's worth. Here is the link to the pictures:

Boise River Volunteers in Hot Water

Idaho Hot Springs have a new group of champions; the Boise River Volunteers have expanded their cleanup efforts to now include hot water.

I would like to introduce Amber Hoid (Twitter), of the Boise River Volunteers as a new guest blogger here on! W00t!

She'll be posting (as in, has already posted twice) about BRV hot springs cleanup efforts... when they are, how to sign-up and pictures from past events.

Boise River Volunteer Information:

Official Website

Hot Springs Cleanup Forums

Wild Rose Hot Springs Clean Up 12/27/2009 New Volunteers Welcome!

Here is the link to our next clean up at Wild Rose Hot Springs in Idaho. If you are new, please fill out the contact section at so that we can add you to our email list for upcoming events, and so that you can post on the forum. We plan to leave Boise at 9am- clean then soak. Due to funding constraints and distance we ask that all volunteers bring about $10 for gas costs for this one! Also, if there are more volunteers than seats we someone else willing to drive with other passengers- to organize that please comment!

Pictures of Indian Hot Springs Volunteer Clean-Up 12/2009

Indian Hot springs 2009 Click here to view the Indian Bathtub Hot Springs cleanup pictures from 12/13 /2009. If you would like to volunteer for one of our future clean ups please fill out the contact form on, where you will also be put on our email list to be updated on all of our events and cleanups. This will make it easier for you to sign up for the ones you want. As a whole- the trash was abundant, tubs not so great this time of the year- but a great time nonetheless!

Loftus Lessons: Full Trip Report

11.01.09 Loftus Hot Springs Trip Report

Loftus Hot Springs

Finally... at last! A nice long soak was enjoyed at Loftus with minimal interruption. I visited Loftus in conjunction with a number of other hot springs along the Middle Fork of the Boise River. This trip was actually dubbed as the "PIE" trip. I like pie, but not this kind. Poison Ivy Eye (PIE).

I partook in a stellar soak, making sure to stick my head (face first) into the hot waterfall that feeds the pool from above. Afterwards, everything seemed fine and dandy. Even hours later, all was well. However, the next morning it was completely swollen shut. Ironically, this was the same day KIVI wanted to chat with me on TV about the demise of the pools at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs.

After a little freak out, I finally went to a doc in the box. I thought something was stuck in it. The doc took a look, then asked if I had been in any poison ivy. Well. I did notice a few growing above the hot springs, where the hot waterfall originates from. As well as, what I thought to be at the time, small clusters of oil in the actual pool.

Apparently, the ivy is too diluted once it enters the pool. However (lucky me), not the case with the waterfall. He prescribed me a $300 tube of steroid cream and was out. My eye eventually opened back up and looked like a beast eye for a few days. KIVI let me keep my shades on by shooting outside, and I have learned to not stick my head into hot waterfalls.

Thank goodness the soak was incredible. There was a friendly Asian fellow that soaked as well, but only for about a half hour before leaving. Who, I might add, spent more time than I in the hot waterfall. Nearby, there was a semi-awkward hunter guy who had setup camp at one of the primitive sites. He would wander out of his camp, where he just stood in one place, to a knoll above the road when vehicles passed by. Then, return to his standing position. Luckily he wasn't visible from the pool unless he was milling about. You see/meet all kinds out here folks.

I was just happy that there was practically NO TRASH, and that I got enjoy a kick*ss soak without having to pick up a bunch of trash first. Impressive, considering the terrible condition of the entire area my last visit.

Side Note: I took the Middle Fork Boise River Road off State HWY 21 near Lucky Peak on the way into the area. On the way out, I made a bad judgment call and took a series of forest roads up towards Morse Creek Summit thinking it would be a quicker way back to Boise. I've taken this route before, but only during the summer.

It was a NIGHTMARE. Steep, slick, rutted, wash boarded, frozen and littered with deep pot holes. I had good tires on my truck; a rear-wheel, two-wheel drive vehicle with virtually no weight in the back. It was one of those trips where I kept thinking "Crap. I'm pretty sure I didn't tell anyone where I went." over and over again. Obviously, I made it back, but not after thrashing my truck on the way out.
Rating: A-

Lost Photos of Rocky the Great

Lost photos found, of the former pools at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs...

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Lost Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

More Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Stanley Hot Springs YouTuber

Great video of Stanley Hot Springs (not mine)!

Calendar Power-Up


This year, I crafted out a calendar of my favorite northwest hot springs photos. Then, promptly forgot about it until today. I received an email from the calendar publisher telling me that it’s among a select few that are going to be featured on for the holiday. Score!

Click the button below to view/buy the calendar on Lulu:

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

View or Buy on!

Feel free to purchase in large quantities. ;).

Hangin from the Rafters


Loftus from Below

Been a busy couple of months, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  1. Adding limited Google Maps functionality to the GPS page for Idaho. Only a few HS have been updated, but more are on the way. Once I’ve got ‘em all linked, I’ll put something together like I did for commercial Idaho hot springs.
  2. Compiling a listing of “The Legends of Hot Springs”, or something like that. Hot Springs already have rich histories, but there are a number of influential individuals that I’d like to acknowledge. This will be a hot springs history lesson you won’t find anywhere else. Here’s the short list:
    Skip Hill
    Evie Litton
    Moss Man (no joke)
    Hot Springs Harley
    Keeper Ken
    NZ Defendress
    Scenic Rick
    Tim Messing
    D & J
    … and many others. Got suggestions? Please comment!
  3. Completing the trip report from visiting hot springs in the Middle Fork Boise River area. Codenamed the PIE trip (Poison Ivy Eye).
  4. Working on a post about the “Gift of the Waters Pageant”, held annually in Hot Springs State Park.
  5. Listings on IHS for the remainder of all commercial hot springs.
  6. Trip planning for a possible run at Arizona Hot Springs, near Vegas.

Winter Travel Reminder

Travel and soak safely; check weather, road conditions and webcams before leaving. Then, check again. Especially if you are heading into the backcountry. Pack like you’re going to get stranded a couple days – bring extra food, clothes, water thermometer and sleeping gear. Also, try to not fall into a hot springs with all of your clothes on.

In Idaho (and SE Oregon), most remote backcountry locations do not have cell phone reception. I’ve been through places that are plowed 1-2x/day, weather permitting, and have soaked in pools that freeze the hair on your head, face and inner-nose in seemingly seconds. Just be careful.

Loftus Lessons

Pics and a vid from a recent soak seeking trip where I ended up with poison ivy in my eye. Oh yes, a full trip report is on the way.

smojosh - View my 'loftus' photos on Flickriver

The Idaho SFW FTL!


wolves I’m getting a little tried of this anti-wolf business. The Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (see how they are trying to sound all official with their name resembling Idaho Fish and Wildlife) is having an animal killing derby featuring, you guessed it, wolves.

This deceptive group of ultra-rich cattle ranchers is primarily based/funded out of state, and is the very same group that Idaho Governor Butch Otter supports… remember his epic FAIL anti-wolf speech? Say, isn’t that Butch Otter a cattleman?

The Idaho SFW wants your money because (they say) they represent hunters, and that to be pro-wolf is the same as anti-hunting. The problem is, educated hunters know that wolves keep their game healthy and mobile (less wasting disease and environmental impact).

Why Idaho SFW is FTL (for the lose):

  • There’s this thing called … an ECOSYSTEM. Wolves need to be a part of it. Idaho SFW support anti-science, anti-environment, anti-wildlife and ultimately anti-hunting agendas.
  • The Idaho SFW is composed of a bunch of ultra-rich cattle ranchers that provide disinformation in order to rally support for their hidden, true cause. Most of these guys don’t even live in Idaho.
  • The Idaho SFW, instead of being straightforward about wanting to protect their cattle the cheapest way possible, mislead hunters into thinking that wolves are killing all of the deer and elk, when in fact, their return has increased deer and elk populations.

While we can continue to voice our opposition against the wolf hunt and support agencies like Defenders of Wildlife (which also compensate ranchers for cattle loss from wolves, which is much less than the number of cattle lost to disease every year), we can completely put an end to this Idaho SFW madness by not supporting them. Period.

Dark Days in Rocky Canyon


Yesterday (Monday), the Boise National Forest Service used sledge hammers to remove the pools at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs despite tremendous public outcry.

Rocky was one of those rare, special places that encouraged people to form relationships with nature by merely visiting. It was a place that also fostered environmental stewardship, and even created a few activists. Just by visiting. Rare indeed. A true place of peace.

Thank you everyone who called-in, signed the petition, wrote letters, commented and spoke out. You are all awesome! A special thanks to Loyd for creating the petition and Brandt for speaking out. Lincoln (KIVI) and Kelsey (KTVB) for the media coverage, and the pool builder for creating pools that complimented the natural landscape. I had no idea that Idaho’s hot springs had so many defenders.

KTVB ran a story yesterday that was updated today with pictures of how Rocky looks right now. Here’s the video clip:

What the Media Can’t Tell You

  1. The FS is considering rebuilding the mortar reinforced pools. Taxpayers footed the bill for their removal. This money could have been better spent.
  2. The tarp-lined pools that existed before the mortar reinforced pools were an eye sore and bad for the environment.
  3. The pools at Rocky were rock-walled, only reinforced with mortar. Many other area pools are composed of pure mortar. They looked more natural than those lined with blue tarps or all mortar walls.
  4. There are many mortar reinforced hot springs pools that the FS knows about, which receive a TON more visitors and have abuse problems galore that include death. Hardly anyone visits Rocky in contrast… it’s more off the beaten path.
  5. Complaints to the FS originated from a small group of people that represent a larger group that are known environmental abusers in the Boise National Forest. I didn’t believe it until I witnessed it first hand (read the last half of this post).
  6. Over 400 people signed a petition against the removal of the pools in just a few days. Far fewer spoke out in favor of the demolition.
  7. Most area FS employees loved and enjoyed the pools at Rocky and did not want to see them go. Pressure from a small group of influential people aimed at FS bosses was hard to ignore.

My heart sinks when I hear the complaints about the hot springs dealt with drugs, sex and alcohol. That is not a fair representation of geothermal enthusiasts. Like everything else, it only takes one bad apple.

Unfortunately, it matters not if the pools are rock/tarp or mortar reinforced. This type of abuse will continue. Removing the pools does nothing to address the situation. Which, if true, will be a problem again.

This means it’s up to us hot springers. If you see someone at a public hot springs doing something they shouldn’t be doing – say something. Politely if at all possible. If this type of behavior exists, and continues… we risk loosing them all.

474north - View my 'rockycanyon' photos on Flickriver

View all past blog posts about Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

View all tweets about Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

Last Stand for Rocky Canyon


Any day now a Boise National Forest crew will be removing the hot springs pools at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs. This is wrong. Here's why:
  • The improved pools are environmentally safe. I guarantee that within a week of removal, new rock pools lined with blue tarps will reappear. Blue tarps look ugly, draw attention to the hot springs and are not environmentally friendly.
  • The Boise National Forest has said that they will consider re-building the mortar reinforced pools once the current mortar reinforced pools are demolished. This seems ridiculous, considering the large taxpayer expense and environmental detriment involved.
  • The tribe complaining about the pools (one of the main reasons they are being removed) is just as responsible as the rest of us for dealing with misuse/abuse situations. The removal of the pools will do nothing to address this, as new pools will be constructed and misuse/abuse will continue.

Take Action to Save the Pools

The builder of the improved pools did an excellent job. His work resulted in clean pools with ample flow that were less visible from the road than the previous tarp-lined pools. He was 'punished' harshly for his actions, even though Boise National Forest employees watched him build the pools and enjoy soaking in the pools themselves.

Call in Numbers

  • John Erickson ranger station 208-365-7000
  • His boss-- Cecilia Seesholtz 208-373-4102 Boise Nat'l Forest Supervisor
  • Her boss--Harv Forsgren 801-625-5605(out of office this week) ask for Deputy Jerry Perez regional Nat'l Forest Service office located in Ogden Utah
  • Tom Tidwel- Chief Of the National Forest service in Washington D.C.202-205-8439
  • Senator James Risch office 342-7985 ask for Mike Roach
  • Congressman Walt Minnick 202-225-3029 speak w/Devon

10pm MST KIVI ABC Channel 6 Rocky Canyon


Tune-in tonight at 10pm MST to watch a segment by Lincoln Graves about Rocky Canyon Hot Springs on KIVI ABC Channel 6! You’ll hear both my thoughts and that of the forest service, along with other information relating to the removal of the improved hot springs pools.

If you are out of the Boise area, you can view the story and video on KIVI’s official website. I will also embed the video clip on the blog once available.

View all posts about Rocky Canyon Hot Springs

View Rocky Canyon Hot Springs on

A Rocky Update

Rocky Canyon Hot Springs (ID)

With all of the banter going on about the demise of the pools at Rocky Canyon Hot Springs in Idaho (note the picture currently at the top of this blog - it's Rocky Canyon), I thought I'd chime in.

Let me begin by stating that there are bigger threats to multiple hot springs to consider... all of this focus and attention on one hot springs is great. However, it's important to remember that we could lose a multitude of hot springs if Idaho remains as the only state not protected by the Roadless Rule. I'm not saying the fight to save the pools at Rocky are unimportant, just to keep the big picture in mind. Rocky will continue to exist even after the mortar pools are gone. Natural pools will return soon after.

I sifted through the 8 pages of comments in the Statesman article, checked out the KTVB story and have had conversations with a number of people involved in the situation. I've come to the following conclusions.

Points to Consider

1. Safety

Rocky has been around for a long time. The improved pools have only existed for a couple years. All of the incarnations of previously constructed natural pools presented stagnant water issues due to poor water circulation. The improved pools are well-designed, with plenty of water flow to flush and keep all of the pools continuously clean.

The old pools were often a sketchy soak... I once encountered 'swimming worms' in one of the upper pools. Yep. Rocky was actually on my 'soak with caution' list until the new pools went up in 2007.

The improved pools are also easier to reach. Where the previous pools required a steep, slick ascent up loose rocks and mud.

2. Pollution

Sadly, none of the comments I read addressed this issue. The previous pools at Rocky featured rock walls built in conjunction with the use of plastic tarps. Fungus eventually grows on the tarps and enters the water system where it can't be broken down. Fish eat it. Animals eat it. We eat it, recreate in it... you get the picture. The new pools do not make use of a single plastic tarp.

3. Tribal Concerns

We are all in this together. This is public land, where all of us are equally responsible for making sure abuse and misuse issues are addressed. Unfortunately, this issue will be ever-present in national forests, wilderness and hot springs - anywhere held as sacred. Abuse and misuse will exist regardless of if the pools are rock or mortar reinforced.

4. Other Offenders

I'm not trying to point fingers... but, there are quite a few other hot springs that have illegal, mortar reinforcements - just like Rocky that are even easier to access and have a TON of abuse/misuse problems. Like death. Vandalism. Gang fights... why the focus on Rocky Canyon with other blatant violators in the area? People have died at Skinnydipper. That's right, plural. The Forest Service didn't get sued, and it's way easier to get to.

5. Improved Pool Nuisance Issue

I'd say that the destruction left over from logging, illegal off-trail ORV vegetative destruction or incessant angler trash dumped on the riverbanks are all more of a nuisance than the appearance of a set of mortar reinforced pools.

Final Words

When this all started to go down, my first instinct was to support the return to natural built pools. However, the new pools are overall, better for the environment. Isn't that what is most important after all? Hopefully, some sort of a compromise can be reached. It seems wasteful for the forest service to announce that they will be demolishing the pools, but - afterwards, will consider re-building them.

Snively Sneak-a-Soak

Snively Underwater
Underwater view of Snively Hot Springs in Oregon

Occasionally, during the off-season, I like to sneak-a-soak at Snively Hot Springs in Southeast Oregon. Snively is a prime candidate for the sneak-a-soak, with it being only about an hour or so drive from Boise.

Water Level

It's always a good trip when there's hardly any trash to pick up. This place has sure undergone positive change over the years. This visit, the best soak was the only soak - a giant soaker which was a trick to find a suitable soaking temperature in. Hot and cold swirled all around, oftentimes the blasts of hot and cold were too much. All in all, a moderate soak. I'm looking forward to next years pool design, as spring runoff will surely destroy the current setup.

Thermal Creek
Thermal Creek

Hot, Meet Cold
Where Hot Meets Cold

Mud Walled
Mud Walled

View from Snively
View from the Pool

Snively Hot Springs on

Snively Hot Springs on

Boise National Forest to Demolish Rocky Canyon Hot Springs in Idaho

Well, I wondered what was going to become of the Rocky Canyon situation... I just received the following via email:


USFS to demolish Rocky Canyon Hot Springs...soon!!

Located just north of Crouch, Rocky Canyon Hotsprings is enjoyed by thousands annually. This relaxing destination has been slated for demolition (according to John Ericson with the USFS in Emmett @ 208.365.7000) to happen within the next 24-48 hours.In a conversation with Cecilia Seescholz (208.373.4102) at the USFS in Boise, I was told that the reasoning that they were to be destroyed was because of building permit violations and tribal concerns.

It is an outrage for this to happen. Please, Please voice your opinion and help save a beautiful piece of Idaho that is enjoyed by thousands annually. Others to contact include...

John Erickson ranger station 208-365-7000
His boss-- Cecilia Seesholtz 208-373-4102 Boise Nat'l Forest Supervisor
Her boss--Harv Forsgren 801-625-5605(out of office this week) ask for Deputy Jerry Perez regional Nat'l Forest Service office located in Ogden Utah
Tom Tidwel- Chief Of the National Forest service in Washington D.C.202-205-8439
Senator James Risch office 342-7985 ask for Mike Roach
Congressman Walt Minnick 202-225-3029 speak w/Devon
Channel 7 Managing editor Lisa 208-321-5614
Idaho Statesman - 208.377.6200
Boise Weekly - 208.344.2055




The Return to Skillern Hot Springs III


09.25.09 - 09.26.09 Skillern Hot Springs

Video Clip

Cooler than Usual

Skillern Hot Springs

A Pleasure to Seat You

Skillern Hot Springs

It's a Tiny Soak

The soak at Pries at the end of the day was the icing on the cake.

It's Time to Take Action for Idaho Roadless Forests

Idaho's pristine roadless areas need a little of your help. The majority of roadless land in the United States is shared between Idaho and Alaska. FYI, roadless land only represents approx. 2% of all land nationwide. There isn't much left.

Why Idaho?

Idaho is the ONLY state not covered by the Roadless Rule. Over 9 million acres are at risk! Please sign the Roadless Idaho Petition asking President Obama to restore Roadless Rule protections to the state of Idaho.

Hoodoo Hot Springs, Lake and Mine

White Cloud Mountains

August is a great time to visit the White Cloud Mountains, located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), northeast of Stanley, Idaho.

Hoodoo HS

Hoodoo Hot Springs is also located in the White Clouds, and is near multiple backcountry trailheads to alpine lakes that are anywhere from a 2 mile jaunt to a 20 mile expedition to reach.

Icy Creek

While Hoodoo Lake is a mere 2 miles/2K ft hike, the trail is … rustic to say the least. Twists, snags, deadfall, huge boulders, jagged cliffs, scenic waterfalls and incredible views of the White Clouds; this hike has it all.

Hoodoo Lake

Bring lots of water, there’s any icy cool lake waiting at the top and a stellar soak at the bottom near the haunted Hoodoo Mines. J/K. Or, am I?

White Clouds

The access road, appropriately numbered FSR 666 is a tire killer. I made it in and out ok, but 3 of 6 other vehicles that drove into the area took on flat tires.

And, the bugs! Were insane! I’ve been out here a few times a few different years and this one took the gold. Luckily, I had a mesh shelter that I finally got to put to the test … it was so awesome to be able to take a bug break, especially when eating. At least it was only during the day, shortly after nightfall they thinned out quick. High altitude has that effect.

Hoodoo HS

The hike to the lake was a surprise challenge. The reward at the top made it more than worth the brutal scramble during 90 degree heat. And, the hot spring at the bottom felt good on the muscles and took the chill out of the evening mountain air.

Visiting Jerry in Early June

After Revver held up the processing of this video for a couples months due to the large amount of awesomeness involved I finally gave up and uploaded to YouTube.

I'm actually quite chatty early on in the clip, but then dwindle off for some reason. Sweet low-quality footage of a beautiful national forest and hot springs, however.

More about Jerry

A Tasty Tiramisu Treat


Backcountry Tiramisu Camp Recipe

Super delish Tiramisu can now be your next favorite backcountry treat!

Serves 2-3 

Here's what you need:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (get one of those mini-bottles from the liquor store)
  • 3.4-ounce packet of instant white chocolate pudding
  • 2 cups milk (use 2/3 cup powdered milk plus 2 cups water)
  • 16 ladyfingers
  • Dark chocolate

Here's what to do:

  1. Heat water to a boil, then mix in espresso and Kahlua.
  2. Make pudding according to package directions.
  3. Place six ladyfingers in the bottom of a pot; drizzle with half of the espresso mixture, then half of the pudding over it. Repeat to form a second layer.
  4. Use a pocketknife to shave thin strips of chocolate on top and serve.

And, a video to show you how:

If you try this out please post a comment! I am planning on it in a few days.

On a Lighter Note...

Just when I finally figured out how to reduce this blog's ranking for the search tearm "hot guy" (ugh) another blip on the radar appeared...

Now I've gotta figure out how to separate traffic from the good ol Hot Springs Hotel franchise.

Idaho Wolf Hunt is Unfortunately a Go


The Idaho wolf hunt officially started on September 1st, 2009. I’ve blogged about Idaho’s misguided, misunderstood and uneducated views about wolves a few times in the past.

Essentially the state is issuing a ton of wolf tags in order to reach the kill threshold of 220 wolves. If just a portion of the tags are used, Idaho’s entire population of approx. 1,000 wolves could all be slaughtered. There are no stipulations regarding wolf pups and mothers nursing pups in addition to alpha male and female wolves. If too many of the wolves are killed, the grey wolves will return to the endangered species list and reintroduction efforts will begin anew… costing taxpayers a ton of money for reintroduction – again.

Here’s a couple quotes I pulled from a Defenders of Wildlife statement:

“No other endangered species has ever been delisted at such a low population level and then immediately hunted to even lower unsustainable levels. This clearly is not responsible wolf management.”

“Idaho’s wildlife agency has stated that its intent is to reduce the population to only 518 wolves, while the Idaho state legislature’s official policy is that all wolves be removed ‘by whatever means necessary.’”

- Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife

Send a Message to President Obama Asking Him to Take Action to Stop the Idaho Wolf Hunt!

Politico FAIL

The Idaho wolf hunt sparked off the “Obama Tags” controversy with yet another example of stellar political representation of Idaho. Honestly, it is getting more and more difficult to tell people I live in Idaho. Read this NYT Opinion piece : Hunting Wolves, and Men for more.

The Bottom Line

Wolves are a natural part of a thriving, healthy ecosystem. Since their reintroduction to Idaho deer and elk numbers have actually increased. Many hunters mistakenly blame the devil wolves for killing off the deer and elk (and on occasion stealing their women and whiskey) available for hunting when in fact, their numbers are rising. Fear and lack of education is a dangerous mix.

Many of the anti-wolf crowd think wolves are going to eat their children – seriously. All things considered, one has a greater chance of being struck by lightning. Yes. Lightning.

My personal experience with wolves have all been positive. I’ve backpacked, hiked and camped all over Idaho in areas with wolves and have never once experienced a problem. Wolves do not like people – at all. Wolf encounters typically occur in areas where human habitation has overtaken wolf habitation. Meaning, they’ve got no place to go.

Bad News, Good News

Environmental groups were recently told by a federal judge that wolf delisting from endangered species act protections was likely illegal. Despite this, the judge won’t grant an injunction against the hunt, however, a future lawsuit may restore the wolves to protected status. As of this writing 8 wolves have already been killed.

Learn more about how to help wolves, visit!

Ask Obama to Stop the Idaho Wolf Hunt!

Anglers Leave a Heavy Footprint


The following trip report is from a mid-July Boise and Payette National Forest venture, that took place northeast of Cascade, Idaho in the Krassel Ranger District.

smojosh - View my 'trailcreek' photos on Flickriver

Trail Creek = ultra slammed! A brief stop revealed less trash in the pullout than my last visit. On down the road.

Forest Service Road (FSR) 474 South was under heavy construction. ALL official and primitive camping areas are still off-limits due to area restoration efforts. Why the National Forest doesn’t just close the road to recreation traffic, or AT LEAST post 474 S as being under construction (massive mud/rocks) and that no camping is allowed, is beyond me. You would think they could work more efficiently with less traffic. Plus, aside from visiting (not camping) Vulcan (only roadside parking), Molly’s and Molly’s Tubs all other areas are off-limits.

smojosh - View my 'mollystubs' photos on Flickriver

The tubs at Molly’s Tubs are really, truly … gone. And, (big surprise) so is the trash. I recently received a trip report about the formation of two natural pools, however.

In regard to Molly’s Hot Spring… red spider mite alert! More and more people have been letting me know about this, and a recent email entailing of a spider mite infestation got me thinking it was time to ring the alarm. Why are so many of Idaho’s hot springs afflicted by the mites? Here’s the complete list of hot springs that have reported red spider mite activity… if you have more to add – please comment!

FSR 474 North was under pending construction. Nothing was going on, but the signs stated that construction would begin soon and would completely shut down the south fork road for about a month. They are going to replace all of the main culverts that run underneath the road.

Also worth noting, 474 N currently does not grant access to Yellow Pine and the Mule Hill trailhead to hot soaks in the Frank Church Wilderness (Kwis Kwis and the Middle Fork hot springs). Bridge out. To reach the afore mentioned destinations, take the Stanley-Landmark Highway instead. Drive past the 474 N turnoff towards Warm Lake and look for it near the lake heading north. There are plenty of signs to help you along.

This brings me to the title of this post. After turning onto FSR 474 North (AKA the South Fork Road) I began to notice a trend that made me feel very uneasy. Trash. Everywhere. Yep. Animals got into it.

I’ve been coming up here for almost a decade and have never seen it this trashed. Not even close. Not even after (or during) a fourth of July weekend. Campsites, both primitive and official – trashed. Garbage on the roads, trails and riverside. Fish entrails everywhere.

Apparently, this week a particular tribe is granted access to this area for fishing rights and free camping. Sadly, this type of behavior was something I’m accustomed to from other groups. I know so few fishermen that respect the land these days. Gotta give the Krassel crew a pat on the back for the cleanup. I picked up a ton of trash myself… it’s a compulsive habit nowadays. It barley made a dent though.

This was also the first time I have witnessed pimped-out cars bumpin gangsta rap in this area. Lovely to say the least. It was especially fun having a car pull into my campsite late at night just to be rudely asked “where are the hot springs?”. Oh joy. You can guess what I did. Played dumb. :)

Keep in mind, great soaks under the stars were had along with excellent mild-weathered hiking during the day. Wildlife was abound everywhere. Including the bugs. Even with bug juice on they ate me alive. Mosquito bites on my hands and face, a big (itchy) spider bite on the inside of my palm (still visible) and a mutant bug bite on my belly that left a scar! After a trip like this I’ve decide to look into garlic tablets.

“Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir

A Round of Idaho Updates

Summer Greetings!

Apologies for the lack of updates... however, that only means one thing - I've been out and about. I would have had a video clip of Jerry to post, but Revver has been gummed-up lately. Looks like I'll have to go with YouTube when I've got some time to re-upload the clip.

Not hot springs related, but here's some incredible pics of Coeur d'Alene Lake that I recently took while traveling...

smojosh - View my 'CDA Lake' set on Flickriver

I just received an email update from Will about Loftus (Boise National Forest) Hot Springs stating that the springs are clean save for glass in the upper pool... most was removed (courtesy of Will, many thanks friend) but not all was completely removed.

Rnspringer posted on the forums about a recent visit to Pine Burl and Moondipper (Boise National Forest)... you can check that out here...

A good friend of mine, Conedog, just returned from the Warm Lake area where last weekend was the once a year weekend when the Nez Pierce and Shoshone tribes are granted fishing rights to the area. My knowledge is pretty weak regarding the ordeal, and will be researching this soon, but it sounds like the rights are granted as part of a treaty or some kind of agreement for tribes that inhabited the land prior to the deal making. Please chime in if you've got some knowledge to share. Anyway, Conedog was fortunate enough to share a soak with a Nez Pierce family that enlightened him of the situation. The family also told him that there was a tribe hunting in the area that shouldn't be... i.e. they were not involved in the agreement, but are taking advantage of the right. Conedog mentioned that they used nets to trap the fish, then a modified spear to bring 'em in. I had no idea.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule AKA RAC Rule AKA Roadless Rule controversy is heating up again... thank goodness! I've gone on and on and on about this... and decided to create, please visit, take action, link-up and spread the word. Let me know if you link-up, and I'll add you to the supporters list on the site. Please take a minute to send a message to the prez - Earthjustice style - Ask Obama to Protect America's Roadless Forests!

I've also received brief, positive reports for Goldbug, Molly's Tubs and Juntura (Oregon). Overall, it seems I'm getting more reports of cleaned-up hot springs vs those that are trashed. I would love to see that trend.

Hope you are all out enjoying the great outdoors, or have got plans to do so. Please remember to pick up all trash and never bring glass. Happy Trails!

Hangin w/ Jerry

JJ Signage
The lower sign no longer exists

It has been awhile since visiting, what I like to call, the highway 12 region. Three stellar soaks, all accessible off the same highway.

Sadly, Weir Creek was overrun with soakers. Not that I mind the company of fellow hot springers, but Weir Creek can only hold so many. Which lead to the logical conclusion - Jerry Johnson. I would have spent the whole week at Stanley Hot Springs, but fording Boulder Creek was out of the question.

Interesting to note; the trailhead to Stanley Hot Springs was actually posted clothing optional. While the signage that has been up at Jerry that states the hot springs and trail are both clothing optional has ... evaporated.

From what I've read, all National Forest in Idaho is in fact clothing optional unless otherwise posted. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, visiting Jerry was an enjoyable reunion.

Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Source 2

I've never actually soaked at the second source pool before. This time, the temperature was just right. The soak was indeed stellar. Visiting early yielded to having the entire complex of hot springs to oneself for a handful of hours. Not bad, considering the waterfall pools at the first source were submerged.


All in all, Jerry was a great soak. I think the main reason why I has such a good time was that I didn't have to cart hardly any trash out (!). Remarkable, considering the nature of this particular soak.

Learn more about Jerry Johnson Hot Springs:

Pics of Jerry

smojosh - View my 'Jerry Johnson Hot Springs' set on Flickriver

More about Jerry...

Kirkham Hot Springs Kybosh

Kirkham natural Hot Springs in the Boise National Forest. This video is from visiting Kirkham on the way back from a trip to Stanley, Idaho. The hot springs campground was almost free from winter snow and signs of spring were plentiful. As always, pick up all trash and please don't bring glass to hot springs.

Trashed Trail Creek


Trail Creek, usually a stellar soak, and usually littered with a moderate amount of trash. This time however, the entire surrounding area was trashed. Is it really that hard to pick up after oneself? Why come out to the woods to begin with if that's the mindset?

View more info. about Trail Creek Hot Springs in Idaho

Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs

Mountain Village Hot Springs Resort in Stanley, Idaho pictures...

smojosh - View my 'Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs' set on Flickriver

View the complete listing on

Pics of Kirkham

Pictures from a recent visit to Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho...

smojosh - View my 'Kirkham Hot Springs' set on Flickriver

View Kirkham on IHS

The Fate of the Yellowstone Grizzly

BTW, Today is Endangered Species Day!

The following essay snippet was written by Doug Peacock, and is in support of returning Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to Yellowstone Grizzly Bears.
Some 54 grizzly bears were known to have died in 2008, the highest mortality ever recorded; this number probably exceeds the extensive killings of forty years ago, when Yellowstone National Park closed down its garbage dumps and bears wandered into towns and campgrounds. The Yellowstone grizzly population sharply declined in the early 1970s and, consequently, the bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975.

In 2008, hunters and other humans shot bears in record numbers. People killed grizzlies because they could—sadly, a not uncommon human attitude in the American West—and since Yellowstone’s grizzlies had been removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act, there were virtually no penalties for shooting them. Bear management had been turned over to the Fish and Game agencies of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana who tend to accept any hunter explanation of self-defense in grizzly country. In short, the grizzlies were easy to kill because their lives were made less valuable by delisting.
Continue reading - The Fate of the Yellowstone Girzzly on Counterpunch

Learn more about Endangered Species - Save Grey Wolves from Extermination - Stop Yellowstone Bison Hazing Operations

Earth Day - Everyday!

It's hard to explain the importance of intact ecosystems, wilderness and habitat conservation land planning to folks these days. Environmental education is weak, and so few of us have real relationships with the great outdoors.

In truth; "Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man." - Stewart Udall

Protect Earth Everyday:
  1. Take every opportunity to preserve what's left of our roadless lands. Stand against invasive mining, logging and road building in every form. Sign the No Dirty Energy and No Dirty Gold pledges.
  2. Eat local food and less or no meat. Everything has a transportation cost attached. A pound of beef typically equals a pound of oil. The oil went for transport, antibiotics, hormones (to make the beef bigger, faster, in unsanitary factory farm conditions), fertilizers, pesticides, plastics (styrofoam tray) and of course the energy to make them all. Each and every one of these uses of carbon is unnecessary and directly contributes to global warming. Every meal you eat that doesn't contain any meat is far better for the environment in every way. Eating less or no meat also helps the last herd of genetically pure bison left in Yellowstone...
  3. Defend the Endangered Species Act, Endangered Species and threatened wildlife vital to healthy ecosystems. Join the national outcry to Save Wolves before May 4th!
  4. Always pick up trash and leave a light footprint when visiting the great outdoors.
  5. Keep good stuff out of landfills, take advantage of websites like freecycle and craigslist.
  6. Unplug electronics and appliances. Computers, coffee makers, TVs, cell phone chargers etc. all have one thing in common. They suck power even when turned-off. Unplug 'em, and pick up a special green surge protector.

"Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir

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Mountain Village Resort Hot Springs Video Clip


Video Features: The hike out to the soak shack, inside the soak shack overview, hot springs pool and soak

View the complete listing for the Mountain Village Resort, located in Stanley, Idaho.

Natural Hot Springs - Big Mountain Views

View from the top

Stanley, Idaho is well-known for being a tad chilly. It has even been, at times, the coldest place in the United States. My good friend that works at Denali National Park will surely contest this.

Mtn Village Hot SpringsSo, you might be thinking - why on Earth would anyone want to spend spring break in such a place? Well, for starters, Stanley is quiet and engulfed by the mighty Sawtooth Mountains. Other benefits include: hot springs (of course), lack of people, snowshoeing, incredible scenery, wildlife and yes - homemade blackberry pie (this one was a bonus).

One evening spent soaking and gazing at the Sawtooths involved watching a live episode of the playful coyote. In this episode, the coyote romped and rolled around in crunchy snow amongst a gaggle of nervous Canadian Geese. Much better than any talk box show I could think of.

This particular natural hot springs is rather deluxe, and is only available to guests of the Mountain Village Resort. Which I ended up calling 'Mountain View' a few times in the video clip. It's rather difficult not to think 'Mountain View' up in Stanley when surrounded by the majestic Sawtooth Mountains.

Mtn Village Hot Springs

In a nutshell; staying at the Mountain Village Resort was better than expected thanks to friendly staff, clean rooms and good food (homemade pie!). I can also imagine that cleaning up their guest-use hot springs facilities is quite the chore. I thought it was rare to see a garbage can at a hot springs. Despite the presence of the receptacle, many guests still opted to throw their trash everywhere else. One would hope that those visiting areas like this would be least likely to be trash mongers. One would hope.

Here's the skinny on Mountain Village Resort; includes additional pictures and video.

Stanley, Idaho Map

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Sawtooth Mountains on Wikipedia

Stanley, Idaho Chamber of Commerce

Stanley Idaho on Wikipedia

[where: Stanley, ID]
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