New HSG Blog is LIVE

That was fast! I aim to please.

With that said, this blog (powered by blogger and located at will no longer be updated. And, eventually, all posts will be removed as they have been imported to the permanent address:

See you on the other side!

No need to update your feed or email subscription, as they are already configured with the new setup.

HSG Downtime Soon

It's a good news/bad news kinda post...

The bad news first.

This blog will soon be going offline for a few days.

The good news.

This blog will return as a self-hosted, WordPress-powered blog. Which means it will be faster, with more features and flexibility. I am hoping to minimize downtime to a couple days, but I don't often get what I want.

While down, the blog will be available at the following address:

See you soon!

Wild Rose (Milford Sweat) Clean Up SUCCESS!


We finally made it to Wild Rose- and worth every second of anticipation in getting there. Along the way we pit stopped for a little morning motivation at Outlaws and Angels in Bliss, to find the craziest local bar any of us had seen in a while! Upon arriving at the hotsrpings the place was trashed! Largely with the normal cans, bottles, clothing, and cigarette butts, but then even to our surprise a few hypodermic needles, and other undesirable debris! The soak was great, good deep tub, a little slimy in spots, but all together excellent. Not hot, but warm enough to enjoy our well earned soak!

Gold Fork Glory

Gold Fork GloryGold Fork Hot Springs Idaho Trip Report

I have been way overdue for a visit to one of my favorite commercial hot springs, and Gold Fork did not fail to deliver. Highway 55 was in pretty good shape, as was the road to Gold Fork on the way out. However, on the return drive the roads were an ice rink. There was a terrible wreck on 55 shortly before reaching Cascade that involved a pickup and Brundage Mountain transit bus.

Check Idaho road conditions and live webcams here

While enjoying Gold Fork, I actually witnessed people drinking massive amounts of water right out of the hot springs! I know Gold Fork has some of the best quality water around, but really?

The water always feels a little different here. Heavier, and softer. It might have something to do with the geothermal water that feeds the pools, which has an Alkaline Ph of +9, the highest in the state. Lithium is the most prominent mineral in the water followed by potassium, calcium, sodium, fluoride, chloride, arsenic and boron. Don't expect a lithium trip. A ridiculous amount of water would have to be ingested in order to have any affect. Apologies to the dude that 'swore' the 'lith' in the pool is what keeps bringing him back.

Gold Fork was thriving during my stay. The soak was sublime, and surrounding area and changing rooms clean. I was surprised to see people drinking alcohol in the pool. For some reason, I had thought this was not allowed here. The presence of a super drunk annoying guy that continuously made his way around the pool pestering anyone that didn't look or move away was testament to this. His choice of discussion topics were offensive to say the least, and hearing about how he is a regular visitor didn't help the matter. However, the majority of the other patrons were very respectful of the hot springs.

I was also surprised to see children running around, screaming, jumping into the pools and climbing up large rocks to jump in the upper pool. Unfortunately, the person staffing Gold Fork was very busy, and didn't get to venture out of the yurt much due to the continuous flow of patrons coming and going. Quite a stark contrast to my last visit. Even though the soak was stellar and I overall enjoyed the visit immensely, it really increased my urge to visit a hard to reach, way-back, backcountry hot springs.

Rating B+

Gold Fork Directions

Gold Fork is approx. 15 minutes from Cascade and 90 minutes from Boise, Idaho.

From either Donnelly (north) or Cascade (south) head toward mile marker 128 on Highway 55, you are looking for Plant Road and a sign for Gold Fork. Head east on Plant road and follow the blue Gold Fork signs for 6.6 miles. The first 2.6 miles are paved, the rest is on a graded dirt road. The entire length of the road is maintained and plowed the year-round.

Gold Fork Hours and Rates

Noon to 9 pm
Noon to 11 pm
Closed Tuesdays for cleaning

Adults: $8
Children (11 and under): $6
Swimsuit and towel rentals available along with some other items (hats, shirts, sunscreen etc.)
Please note: no credit/debit cards

View on Idaho Hot Springs (.com)

Gold Fork Hot Springs Underwater


Located near the quaint recreation towns of Cascade and Donnelly, deep within Central Idaho's rugged mountains, lies Gold Fork Hot Springs. I actually saw people drinking massive amounts of water right out of the hot springs on this trip! I know Gold Fork has some of the best quality of water around, but really? The water feels a little different here, heavier, and softer.

Wild Rose Hot Springs Clean Up this Sunday, 1/24/10, 9:00am

We will be cleaning Wild Rose Hot Springs, located near Carey, Idaho this Sunday, 1/24/10- and nothing will get in the way this time! We will be meeting up at 9:00am, and would love some help if anyone is interested. If enough people sign up we may need some people to volunteer to drive too- let us know if you can. Sign up Here!

We will be soaking in the freshly cleaned pool upon completion!

Benefit Concert for Boise River Volunteers


Come join us at 9pm this Friday for a fun night of good people, and good music (Voice of Reason!) at Terrapin Station in Boise, Idaho. All door costs go to the Boise River Volunteers. There will be raffle items donated by local businesses, information about our organization, opportunities to get involved and then some! $5 at the door- click here to get a $1 off coupon!

RSVP and Event Information on Facebook


In all of our clean up efforts one of the most menacing things we find is broken glass, not only does it hurt unsuspecting people; but it also hurts animals that do not have the ability to take care of their wounds and destroys our gear. The good news is we now have Brewforia! It is located on Milwakee by Ross and Target. They sell a wide array of good microbrews, at a good cost in the CAN! They have agreed to give customers 10% off for mentioning that Boise River Volunteers sent them. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a quality beverage without all the harmful side effects of broken glass in the outdoors!

Loftus Clean Up 1/10/10

LoftusLast Sunday we went and cleaned up Loftus on a somewhat short notice, due to uncertain funding. It was a mess- the majority of it coming from a combination of glow sticks, the plastic pieces that hold them together and bullet shells. Other debris from tea light candles and other small odds and ends cluttered the surrounding area, upon cleaning it the soak was well worth the work involved! Check out our pictures!

View Loftus Hot Springs in Idaho on IHS

Salute to Scenic Hot Springs

Scenic Hot Springs in Washington has always been one of my favorites. Truly a stellar soak. Rick updated Scenic's Blog on Thursday with the sad news... complete closure. It's the same story we hear all too often in regard to public hot springs - the few that ruined it for the many.

Before it's official closure, this hot springs was something else. It was my first brush with a backcountry hot springs community. A place where all walks of life seemingly blended into one, that of the hot springer. Here's the trip report I wrote after visiting Scenic for the first time in August of 2001:

My good friend and I were camping throughout central Washington when we finally decided that this insane, dry, hot, desert camping was getting to be too much... all sun and no shade made us very unhappy. The areas I speak of are around Wenatchee, George, and Moses Lake, Washington.

After a few brutal days of camping we decided that this was enough. We first sought water, and camped in a not so bad BLM wildlife protected area near the sand dunes south of Moses Lake. The camping was still hot and dry, but at least there were a few small trees around - and the amount of cool looking birds that used the nearby wetlands was off the chart. I wished I knew more about bird species. Around 2am we were startled when a huge pack of coyotes ripped through our campsite howling like mad, and then back again an hour later. It was quite exciting! We made it out of our tents and into truck cabs seconds before our tents and camp were rampaged by about 20 running coyotes.

Anyway, after that adventure we headed straight for Leavenworth (the unique German-Bavarian looking town), we needed permits for camping and hiking before heading towards Steven's Pass. I remember seeing some alternative looking folks by the roadside in town, holding signs that simply stated "Scenic". Little did I know that I would later share a soak with the sign-holders.

It seemed like a rainforest to us after all the previous environments we'd experienced along our trip. We past the ski lodge at the summit and continued down I2 a bit further before pulling off onto a dirt road that took us down to some train tracks (just after the turn off to the train tunnel on the other side of the road) and a couple old cabins that mother nature was attempting to retake (they looked scary even during the day).

We then found a nice little road that took us about a mile or two into the forest, and then hiked a couple miles in and found a perfect campsite, one with a small waterfall only a minute away. A lady hiking around the waterfall that we talked to was there visiting because the ashes of her sister were spread at that very place. She and her sister had grown up near here, and she still lived in the area today. We spent time hiking out to Surprise and Glacier Lakes - the hikes were unreal, the scenery breathtaking!

Our first night camping in the area we hiked up to Scenic Hot Springs. It was quite a brisk little hike. Short, but steep at times. And, with it getting dark on us, we nearly missed a couple key turns at intersections we didn't even know we were at. It was all worth it though. The hike was spectacular, and the hot pools amazing. Lots of work went into the construction of the huge soaker pools, each lined with thick plastic and filled with piped in water. Wood decks and walkways skirted each pool which in turn had it's own specific temperature range with the Lobster Pot at the top.

There were at least 30 to 40 people there. A small percentage of the soakers had suits or bottoms on while the majority enjoyed the springs the natural way. Words can't even describe this place. The views were rare to me and were obtainable from a sitting position in any pool.

I remember sitting in a pool with a couple off-duty wildland firefighters, a couple from Finland, a bevy of businessmen and women from Seattle and a handful of hippies from Eugene, and was amazed at how kind and decent everyone was to each other. This theme ensued, and it reminded me of how Native Americans historically treated hot springs; as sacred places where all are equal. Even during times of war, there was always peace at the hot springs.

A special thanks to Rick and friends for taking care of Scenic. Even though it's closed, you can bet that group will continue to move forward with plans to re-open Scenic in the future. Until then, Scenic need be left in peace, it's in good hands.

View all Scenic Hot Springs Posts

View Scenic on IHS

Wildlife Slaughter Tournament in Twin Falls Saturday


The Idaho Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW), Governor Butch Otter’s mostly out-of-state ultra-rich cattle rancher buddies, are back at it again with a Wildlife Killing Derby in Twin Falls, Idaho this Saturday.

Sadly, this disturbing event is sponsored not only by Idaho’s Governor and Fish and Game Chair Wayne Wright,  but by Cabela’s and Sportsmen’s Warehouse despite outcry from many reputable hunters and hunter organizations.

I always catch major flak when I post about the Idaho SFW and protecting wildlife in general in the form of nasty emails, comments and un-subscriptions. Even threats. With that said, I hope this post doesn’t offend any of you, my aim is to enlighten those that would like to see wilderness and wildlife around for generations to come.

Think for just a second before believing the hype. That is all I ask.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Idaho SFW (most are not even from/live in Idaho) is a group of well-funded cattle rancher anti-wolf lobbyists that portray themselves as the average joe hunter in Idaho. Their agenda is to miss-lead Idaho hunters into falling in-line for their cause.

REAL hunters, educated hunters – that respect the animals and habitat for which they hunt sustainably revolt against the Idaho SFW, as we all should. Their Wildlife Killing Derbies are a front for their wolf killing agenda. The addition of coyotes and other animals are merely a bonus for the kill and waste types.

I know this is a hot springs blog, but wild animals are part of the last bits and pieces of semi-untouched wilderness, just like most natural hot springs. They represent the last of the wild places. An attempt need be made to preserve all components of these vanishing ecosystems.


From Wild Earth Guardian Wendy Keefover-Ring:

Wildlife will be running scared tomorrow in Twin Falls, Idaho.

The Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife are hosting a wildlife-killing derby.  Participants are awarded points for each wolf, coyote, bobcat, or fox they kill.  Prizes are given to the shooters who have the most points.

Tell Idaho's governor and Fish and Game Commissioner as well as the event's co-sponsors, Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse, that this is unethical and should be stopped.

The wildlife killing derby encourages the use of live animals as targets. This practice directly contradicts the tenants of ethical hunting which include respecting all wildlife and taking responsibility to care for wildlife and their habitat.

Furthermore, carnivores such as wolves, coyotes, bobcats and fox have been known for decades to be crucial players in the health of the ecosystems that they inhabit.  Without carnivores, animals like deer over-populate and strip their landscapes of vegetation.  These barren habitats eventually lead to the demise of species in every link of the food chain.

Jim Posewitz, author of Beyond Fair Chase and founder of the Orion:  The Hunter's Institute, promotes ethical hunting.  Tenets of ethical hunting include: an appreciation for the opportunity to hunt; respecting all wildlife, especially the animals we hunt; and taking responsibility for the care of wildlife and their habitat.

The January 9th Twin Falls animal derby is in direct contradiction to the tenants of ethical hunting. High-body-count-contest hunts tarnish the image of all sportsmen. This derby encourages the use of live animals as targets, encourages mass killing for no purpose other than to collect prizes. The bodies will not be used for food. Waste is encouraged.

The belief that killing carnivores will benefit deer was dismissed as early as 1941 by hunter and conservationist Aldo Leopold in his essay, "Thinking Like a Mountain." In those days, wolves were seen as evil and ravenous and thus were exterminated throughout the continental U.S. But the consequences were dire. Leopold noticed that with the demise of the wolf came the over-abundance of deer and harm to the mountain. Deer stripped the mountain of vegetation. The mountain, now barren, could not support deer and other species. The deer died in droves. 

I urge you not to sponsor this event and to shut down this killing contest. It tarnishes the reputation of sportsmen, Idaho, and your business.

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