© 2008 Idaho Explorer
Here is the familiar sagebrush and willow scene that I displayed on my last trip.
My companions heading toward the creek – which creek exactly, I’m not sure. I can’t quite remember where we are at this point on the map (a USGS topo map – and if you’ve ever tried to use one, you’d see how easy it is to wonder where the heck you are). The thing is, we weren’t looking at the map as we were driving. I figured I had a pretty good idea where I was. As a member of the 2005 B.U.R.P Crew for the Department of Environmental Quality, we spent a good portion of the summer driving around this area. But still, there are a lot of roads out here and a lot of creeks. My best guess is Shoshone Creek up by Bear Gulch and I’m pretty certain that I am right. Look how well the two blend in with their surroundings.
Here, I believe, are the Shoshone Wildlife Ponds. This, again, I can’t say with complete certainty, but there were a lot of ponds. There are also a lot of beavers and, incidentally, beaver dams. A beautiful place! The sun was setting so wonderfully and lighting up the sky with an array of sunset colors – unfortunately, my camera does not capture an array of sunset colors… (Update: This is not Shoshone Wildlife Pond. It turns out that the actual Shosone Wildlife Pond is some other thing in the vicinity that is just one pond and is fenced off. We (my husband and I) are calling them The Beaver Ponds, which certainly suits them.)
As you can see, there are patches of snow.
What a perfect Christmas-like scene! Collin was SO excited about the snow. I gave him some to hold in his hand. After it would melt into a cold puddle, he would say, “More.” The whole trip he was very happy and never got upset about being strapped into the carseat with only occasional journeys out onto solid ground. He loved looking out the windows at all of the beauty around him. Plus, he had a couple of rocks, a stick, and a pinecone – bits of nature we had collected along the way – to keep him satisfied. He really looks forward to these sort of outings – especially when he can explore. He enjoys looking at maps with me and repeats “South Hills! South Hills!” whenever I mention them. He’s truly a Nature Boy!
OK, this is where we got a bit lost. Well not lost, per say; it was more that we were second-guessing ourselves. We knew we didn’t want to go on Buckskin Road…
But look at the view the road led to! Once again, my camera does not do the justice my eyes saw! I stood out in the freezing cold for quite some time wanting to take in every bit of this scene and experience the feelings it filled me up with. Mountains…I love mountains!!
After the long, anxiety-ridden drive, we landed right at the Ranger Station and Magic Mountain Ski Area. This is where we were headed – well not actually here. We meant to go hike the Eagle trail, but being that it is three miles we decided against it. At this point we were ready to head home.
You can see it’s fairly dark out, but because Ross Falls trail (#244) is only .4 miles round trip, we decided to do it. I had been there before with my husband in warmer temperatures and it is really very pretty. It was pretty this time too (even while lugging my sleepy bundled up toddler).
Icicles, brrr. Mine and my mom’s camera batteries both died after we snapped a few pictures of the falls. Time to head home. Little did I know that my poor husband was at that very moment looking up Deadline Ridge on Google in order to come and find us and rescue us if need be. (He had just so happened to call me at that very spot we stopped to get our whereabouts and I mentioned to him the names – luckily we were at a high enough point to get service.) He figured we must have gotten stuck or something. He called numerous times when I had no service and my phone never showed any missed calls (but it did show voicemails later). The drive home (on paved roads!) was curvy and dark and my adrenaline was still a little high. I was just intent on getting home and kept thinking I would call my husband at such and such point, but didn’t ever release my death-grip from the steering wheel. Eventually he made one last call before heading out as a search party and it went through. We were just leaving Kimberly and I felt so sorry for not calling him! If it were me and I was the one waiting at home I would have been angry, but he was more relieved than anything and just a bit annoyed. He was glad to have us arrive safely at home and so was I!
© 2008 Idaho Explorer
Southern Idaho is made up of the sagebrush steppe – a wonderful ecosystem full of life and beauty. (Though I didn’t think so when I first moved here in 1994.) The area is sometimes referred to as a cold or high desert. Many people see it as a wasteland, but if one looks, one can find vast amounts of beauty and life. Unfortunately, the sagebrush steppe is dwindling in size due to special interest groups. Much of what does remain is badly altered. Luckily, there are people working to preserve this amazing habitat.
Looking to the right…
and looking to the left – quite the contrast!
A closer view.
I was very disappointed to find LOTS of trash – beer bottles, shotgun shells, plastic bags, pop bottles and cans, and the usual-out-in-the-boonies junk that seems to plague most isolated places. I can never understand how people can go out and enjoy these beautiful places and then leave their litter spread about. So careless and disrespectful they are!
Willows in a Sea of Sagebrush
Sun Shining Through the Cottonwood Tree
More from the South Hills
© 2008 Idaho Explorer