I am having major writers block in regards to a blog piece for the Squaw Creek/Poison Creek work project the weekend of the 18th. Nothing exciting happened at all. Nobody got bucked off, rolled on, stepped on, kicked, bit or required a medical evacuation. There were no injuries other than a few aching shoulders expected with the type of work we do. The only blood I saw the entire weekend was my own, and that didn’t occur until the last few minutes before loading up and heading for home. I got so bored I decided to use my pocket knife to cut the witches knot out of Annie’s tail. I missed her tail and sliced my finger; hardly anything to write home about, let alone blog about. I considered making something up. Not a lie exactly – more of a fictional elaboration of the actual events to sort of spice things up. I might convince Rob to go along with some fantastic account of adventure and intrigue, Lou Ann, however, is a different story. Lou Ann insists on seeing that I remain grammatically correct and honest in my storytelling at all times. Programmers.

We came, we cut and we conquered. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. It makes for a fairly drab blog piece, doesn’t it? Actually, the previous weekend was much more interesting, but has nothing to do with Back Country Horseman and would be more appropriate for another blog. I had just ridden out of the Eagle Caps after spending the earlier part of the week following a band of hippies through the mountains. As I said, this story is best left for another blog – but I will say this: What happens on the mountain does not necessarily stay on the mountain. One word of advice – DO NOT eat dried fruit prepared by a hippy chic living without proper sanitation facilities – no matter how hungry you get.

Jack had thrown a shoe sometime between the hippy excursion and home. I called every farrier I trusted within 100 miles without gain. I gathered all the old shoeing tools I could find, tossed in a handful of nails and picked up two size 0 front rims at D&B on my way through town. I can tack on a shoe in an emergency if I have to. I hoped I didn’t have to.  

Completely ignoring Dave the GPS – I followed the directions from the web site to Squaw Creek campground. I opted to go the long way through Ola. Even with newly installed trailer brakes, bearings and two new trailer tires, I didn’t feel up to four wheeling my way this weekend. It was just too easy. I pulled into the campground without making one wrong turn. At least it appeared to be the campground from the directions. Rob mentioned he would try to be there by noon and place a few signs. There were no signs and no Rob and it was coming on 3:30 PM. I temporarily high-lined Jack and Annie and parked my rig in an area easy to spot should anybody drive by, and waited.

 I wandered around the area checking it against the map. This had to be the right spot. Where was everyone? I hadn’t brought any feed for the horses and there was not much graze where I had high-lined. I decided if nobody showed up in the next few hours, I would move the horses to graze and set up camp for the weekend, right spot or not. As it was, Rob pulled into camp several hours later. Jack and Annie would be glad to see the certified weed free hay and I was proud of my sense of direction for probably the first time in my life. 

Rob took a look at Jack’s hoof and determined it would probably do more harm to tack on a shoe than to leave it as is. Jack has good, sound feet and they had grown out enough to give him plenty of hoof wall protection against the rocky terrain for one weekend. I brought along a pair of emergency barrier boots in case we were wrong.

 Lou Ann arrived just before dark. The three of us would make up the work crew for the weekend. I brought out a chicken broccoli casserole for dinner and the others tossed in various vittles to go along with it. Still feeling the effects of the previous weekend’s hippy adventure, I turned in early.

Saturday morning the three of us hit the trail bright and early. It was an experience in mounting/dismounting. A deadfall lay across the trail every 100 yards or less. Toward the top of the trail, one of the saws threw a bearing and seized up. The remaining saw was in need of sharpening and fast became worthless. We soon had nothing more to cut trees with than a paper weight and a spoon.

We reached the meadow about 3:45 PM. Lou Ann and I are still uncertain what came over Rob. One minute he’s meandering casually across the meadow, the next he’s spurred Payette into a lope and is dashing off carefree into the middle of a small group of cattle. It could be that Rob, not unlike Gus McCrae from Lonesome Dove, felt compelled to ride out in search of adventure for the pure joy of it…for no other reason than because he can.

Rob prepared chicken with a mushroom sauce and wild rice. Lou Ann had made green beans to die for and I whipped up a Dutch Oven peach cobbler.  I had brought the wrong Dutch oven for the job. The lid was the rounded, burry in the ground variety, and I needed a lid with a lip to hold the briquettes in place. Rob scrounged through his DO supplies and came up with an acceptable lid that would make do. That is pretty much how it goes on these trips – nobody expects perfection and everyone pitches in and makes do where needed. Aside from a little ash around the edges – dinner was served.

Poison Creek trail on Sunday would be cut rather short. A tangled mass of a dozen or more blow-downs blocked the trail shortly after the bridge crossing. We split up in three different directions to scout out an alternate route before coming up empty handed. We made the determination that Poison Creek would have to remain closed for the time being. We had neither the saws nor the man/girl power to tackle this one today. Rob would contact the FS and have them flag a route at their discretion. Squaw Butte would open Poison Creek on another day.

I looked down at the blood trickling from a small slash in my index finger. Well, that was the most eventful thing that’s happened all weekend. I wonder if I can’t come up with something a bit more exciting for the blog. “There we were – the three of us – each dedicated members of the Squaw Butte Back Country Horseman of America, face-to-face with, until now, an undiscovered tribe of hostile natives. The chiefs menacing black eyes sent shivers up my spine as the sun glinted across the razor sharp knife he held in his hand…”

09. August 2012 · Comments Off on West Mountain – Wilson Corrals to Gabes Peak · Categories: Work Parties and Projects




“Is this your idea of a joke, Dave? What the hell…you said to take a hard left…I took a hard left. You call this washed out, pot-hole infestation a road? This is a road for four wheelers Dave, not for trucks hauling 8,000 pounds of horse trailer and cab-over. I knew I should have Google mapped instead of relying on you. You have not been right one lousy day of our 5 year relationship. Five years Dave! Five years of wrong turns, dead-end shortcuts and illegal U turns. I can’t drive like this anymore, Dave. I’ve listened to your patronizing monotone voice for the last time. I have a notion to toss you out of the truck alongside this boulder lined rut hell you call a road. Don’t worry Dave, you’ll find your way. After all, West Mountain is just 25 miles due west as the crow flies. I hope you can fly Dave.

Click here to read the rest of the story.   More Pictures



“State Comm., this is Back Country Horsemen Mobile Two, over!”

With this simple statement spoken into a hand held radio, a whole series of events were put in motion.  What events led up to this radio call?

I tried State Comm. again and got an immediate response.  I explained who I was and that I had a sixty-five year old woman with me that was showing symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration.  A number of questions were asked and answered and I requested that they contact Valley County EMT’s and Rescue to meet us with an ambulance to transport her to the Cascade Hospital.    Read Rob’s journal of events     Read Mary Kay’s


I was a little worried that nobody was going to show up to my second trail project in the Payette National Forest. Rob, Phil and Robbin, a few of the more experienced packers in our chapter, would be away on a ten day support crew project in the Frank Church. Without some of our more seasoned members to guide us, I wasn’t sure anyonewould be willing to follow a directionally challenged newbie with a knack for misadventure. I would not blame them either. Especially since all they might get to eat for three days is bottled water and Beanie Weenies.

Rob assured me that I would not be clearing trail alone, even if we had to twist a few arms in the process. Feeling more like a fish out of water than a project coordinator of any kind, I set about preparing for a weekend of trail work and meal preparation for an undetermined amount of crew.

Click here for the complete story…

05. June 2012 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Squaw Butte Style · Categories: Work Parties and Projects


National Trails Day 2012

Boundary Trail Project

In celebration of the 2012 National Trails Day theme: “America’s Largest TRAILgating Party,” members of the Squaw Butte Back Country Horseman of Idaho set out to conquer a minute section of the 200,000 miles of America’s national trails system. Sixty feet of bog and waterlogged trail corduroy would challenge the small group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.

Click here to read the entire post

click here for more info on National Trails Day

08. May 2012 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – June 2nd. · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

Boundary Trail Project

National Trails Day


Boundary Trail Sign

Click here for pictures of the project area 

I should have been more specific when I commented to Mike Mullin, West Payette National Forest trails manager, that I would like to check out Boundary Trail before the National Trails Day project. Mike mentioned we might have to hike an extra mile or so from the trail head if the latest round of rain had made the road too muddy. Hike? As in, on foot? Isn’t that why God made horses?  I stopped hiking two years ago after I bought one. I packed a quick lunch and, leaving a perfectly good horse standing in the pasture, headed toward town.

Click here to read the entire post


31. May 2010 · Comments Off on Packing Trip to Steens Mountain- Summer 2011 with the Burns OR BLM · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

The Burns District BLM has a pack string that we utilize mostly on Steens Mountain to accommodate field-going groups doing agency business. The string is also known for helping pack out unneeded fence materials from the Steens Mountain Wilderness/No Livestock Grazing Area, where dozens of miles of barbed-wire fence have been dismantled and set aside for permanent removal. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN HELPING WITH THIS EFFORT? Want to bring your mustang to Steens Mountain for a group ride/work party?? We could use additional packing horses and riders…. Dates have not been set; we are considering this possibility for Summer 2011…. but need to know if there’s ANY INTEREST out there…. LET ME KNOW! If you’ve never been to Steens Mountain, this would be a great opportunity to explore the area to the fullest extent!

Tara Martinak
Burns District BLM Public Affairs Specialist
Volunteer Coordinator  Tara_Martinak@blm.gov

10. April 2010 · Comments Off on April 2010 Wilderness Meeting · Categories: Public Meetings, Work Parties and Projects

Hi Everyone;
Winter has left the Emmett Valley, but yesterday we had our second meeting with the wilderness group and it snowed all day. We met with the Forest Service, Wilderness Society, the Idaho Trails Association, and Back Country Hunters and Anglers. We are making progress in working together for projects in the Frank Church Wilderness.

We have scheduled two projects for this summer. One north of the Salmon River and one South of it.  This is a great opportunity to work with other user groups and build a foundation of cooperation within the various groups. Remember what we said several years ago, “partnerships are the key to success”. If any of your chapter members can make these work projects please let me know and I will relay the information on to the forest service.

1. The first project is on the Churchill Trail out of Dixie. This project will have Ian Barlow using Traditional equipment to remove large trees and rocks. He uses sky rigging, ropes, slings, and pullies just like they did when the trails and roads were made in the mountains. The dates are June 25-26-27-28. The forest service would like about 8 to 10 people each day so people don’t have to work the full four days. We don’t need horses on this project, but if you bring them maybe you can get in some riding up around Dixie, I don’t know the trails there, sorry!

2. The second project is at Yellowpine on Missouri Creek. This trail has not been cleared in 12 years so expect to clear lots of fallen trees. The dates for this project are July 10-11.  We plan to have campfire gatherings in the evenings and this will be a great way to meet the people who walk those dusty trails and a great way for them to see that horse people are not all crazy. There are trails around the Yellowpine area to ride so bring your animals, good water, I don’t know about the grass in the area so plan on bringing hay.

If any of your chapter members are interested in these projects please let me know. As a side note: the federal mint is going to issue 6 new quarters this year and one of them will be the “Frank Church Wilderness” coin. If this area is going to be the gem of the wilderness areas in the United States, then it is up to us to help in any way we can as BCHI to keep those trails open.

Also, the NYC group will be working on Pistol Creek from June until mid August. They need people to pack in supplies for them, please contact Joe Williams if you can help.


Potential Idaho trail projects


Hi folks – sorry to be slow getting back to you all on results of the Idaho Trail Association meeting earlier this month. Here is a summary of potential projects for this year, for ITA and in partnership with others.


June 25-27 – Churchill trail, in the FCRNRW, on Nez Perce NF, near Whitewater trailhead on Salmon River, working with the informal wilderness trails partnership. Cutting out 1.5 miles of trail with crosscuts and other tools, which has not been cut in 12 years. Opportunity to work with Ian Barlow using rigging to move large logs.


July 9-11 – Missouri Creek trail, at edge and into FCRNRW, on the Payette NF, east of Yellow Pine, working with the informal wilderness trails partnership. Cutting out 6 miles of trail that has not been opened in three or more years.


Aug. 7-8 – Duck Lake to Hum Lake trail, in Secesh proposed wilderness, on Payette NF, near Lick Creek summit, ITA taking lead, working with Clem Pope at Krassel RD and with Jeff Halligan. Basic trail maintenance.


Aug. 15-21 – Dan Ridge Trail in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, on Powell RD of Clearwater NF. ITA working with Selway-Bitterroot Foundation, which will arrange for packer and crew cook for 6-10 people.


September – Boise Front trail project, working with David Gordon, Ridge to Rivers coordinator, at location and time to be set. ITA taking lead and partnering with Backcounty Horsemen of Idaho if possible.


Based on the April 8 meeting in McCall, ITA will work with the informal wilderness trails partnership for the Churchill trail and the Missouri Creek trail.


We are working to set up at least a bare bones ITA website, for contact points. We anticipate sending out a public version of the project list for the Duck-Hum lakes trail, Dan Ridge and Boise Front, with contact points for people to get more information and to organize additional participation. Does Holly or anyone else anticipate putting out a public call for volunteers, with contact/information points, and do you want to coordinate efforts? We also have some ideas for trails in the Boise Front and need to narrow a plan.


Hope we can continue to coordinate trail projects…john

John McCarthy

Idaho Forest Director

The Wilderness Society

950 W Bannock St. Suite 605

Boise, ID 83702

208-343-8153 x4



Bull Trout Lake, Stanley Basin
Latitude: 44.2988 Longitude: -115.2532
Elevation: 6955 ft (2120 m)

Squaw Butte and High Desert chapters of Backcountry Horseman of Idaho will be spending the 4th of July weekend in the Stanley basin camping at the trail head near the Bull Trout Lake camp ground. Directions from Emmett are posted on the SBBCH website or at http://www.sbbchidaho.org/Directions_toBull_Trout_Lake.pdf. Pictures from previous trips are at http://picasaweb.google.com/sbbchidaho2007/BullTroutLake#

The chapters will be camping in the meadow near the trail heads on the south side of the access road. Horse water is near, and it is a short walk to the FS bathroom and a fresh water hand pump. This is a no fee area of the campground. Members will start arriving either Thursday night or Friday morning. Friday is get your camp set up and fun ride or fishing day. There are a number of trails that are available from Bull Trout Lake. On Saturday for those members interested a work party will be formed to work on removing down fall from the Gates Creek Trail [148]. For members not interested in the work party, a ride on the Pass Creek trail [148] towards the Cats lakes by Red Mountain or Dead Man Creek [147] is an option.

Map of Bull Trout Lake trails:  http://sbbchidaho.org/pdf/bull_trout_lake_trails.jpg

Meals:Breakfasts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be communal with members providing fixing like eggs, juice, melon etc. Dinners will be pot luck on Friday and Saturday night. Members should plan on providing one dish for one of the two dinners. Lunches are up to the members to provide for themselves.

Stock: There are good locations for setting up portable corrals as well as high lines. There is good access to water for you stock on the north side of the meadow. The trails in this area have some small bridge crossing. It is a good place to do bridge 101 if your stock has little experience with bridges.

On Sunday for members interested and assuming the trails are open for use (snow above 8,000 feet) an optional ride out of the Iron Creek Trail head to Sawtooth Lake is possible before making the drive home. http://sbbchidaho.org/pdf/Iron Creek Area.pdf  The trail to Sawtooth Lake is full of spectacular mountain scenery and is one of the most popular in the SRA. Bring your camera.

03. May 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Projects & Events · Categories: Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Work Parties and Projects

I welcome all our new SBBCH members and say welcome back to all of our returning SBBCH members. We have a full schedule of events, activities and work weekends lined up for 2009.

We need all of our members to participate so we can achieve all of our commitments. While we do have fun rides, the core purpose of our organization is service. We work to maintain access to trails and trail heads. But we are a volunteer organization; we don’t kill ourselves in pursuit of this work. And we have lots of fun and fabulous food while performing the work.

Food is a core value of our chapter and figures prominently in our work weekends. We make work a social event. Work weekends are a great way to get to know the various SBBCH folks. Our monthly meetings are filled with lots of information, but are not a great way to get to know SBBCH and its members.

So just what are the work weekends like and what are they NOT like?

Work weekends are NOT marathon work events. We hit the saddle Saturday after a very filling communal breakfast. We stop for lunch. We try to be back in camp about 4:30 in the afternoon. Sunday is usually a fun ride in the same general area.

Everyone is NOT required to have pack stock. We usually have a few tools, a couple of chainsaws, and fuel to pack along and only need a few animals to tote it. Everyone does NOT need to run the chainsaws. There is plenty to do lopping out the overgrowth, removing cut logs, and holding horses. If you have a bad back, bad hips, bad knees, or bad whatever, stay in the saddle. But do come and ride with us.

The trails are NOT for ONLY experienced horses and riders. Most trails are suitable for novice horses and riders and riding the trails with the SBBCH folks will increase you and you mount’s experience and confidence.

SBBCH folks observe trail etiquette guidelines. We ensure every one is in the saddle before moving off, we wait to make sure everyone has crossed the bridge or water, we keep tabs on the slower riders and wait for them to catch up.

SBBCH DOES try to make it easy for our members to attend the work weekends. SBBCH provides the certified hay. Trail head directions are available on our web site. Trailer sharing and trailer caravanning is available. SBBCH members are willing to help others learn to camp with their horses and often have excess equipment, like a highline, to lend. SBBCH sets up a communal kitchen, Saturday and Sunday breakfast is communal and Saturday dinner is pot luck.

I look forward to seeing familiar faces and new faces this year at our rides, events and work weekends. I look forward to getting to know each of you better.

17. April 2009 · Comments Off on National Trails Day – Yellow Jacket TH, Near Warm Lake (Cascade) · Categories: Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Saturday/Sunday  June 6-7 2009

Project Leader- Rob Adams, projects@sbbchidaho.org or 208.584.3780   Directions:   Http://sbbchidaho.org\pdf\Yellow_Jacket_TH.pdf

Camping at the Hunters camp at the junction of Rice Creek Road and Stolley Road //  It will be marked and reserved.  Lots of parking for trailers, water for horses near.  Some old corrals, may not be in useable condition.

Three Projects:

1:    Rebuild foot bridge to Vulcan Hot Spring
Tools needed:  Hammers, power drills and bits, socket wrench set, wrecking bar / crowbar, shovels, polaski,  (Dan Fisher – Ranger will be crew chief on this project)

2.    Remove old dam from the hot springs,
Plan on getting wet:  Wrecking Bars to remove dam, springs has silted up due to fire.

3.    Trail rehab crew //  Standard trail project.  Yellow Jacket trail or Telephone Ridge trail possible.

Most members will travel friday night and camp at the trailhead.  Breakfast Saturday morning, work parties start at 09:00.  Provide your own lunch.  Potluck  Dinner Saturday.  Breakfast Sunday.   Plan on a halfday fun ride Sunday.

We had a great turn out for the Hitt Mountain Tool Cache project. Ten members and one guest worked on two trails. Eleven head of riding stock and eight head of pack stock were brought to support the project. The riders on the 268 trail reported it was an enjoyable ride, with great views, ending close to the Sturgill Peak Lookout.

The 270 trail was difficult at first to find due to numerous cow paths and healed over tree blazes, but was successfully found after some scouting around. There were quite a few down trees, and a lot of brushing done. Approximately 2.5 miles of the trail was cleaned.

As usual, we had delicious group meals and lots of good conversation. We have some fantastic camp cooks in our group.

If your interested in a nice ride up West mountain with interesting trails and nice views I can recommend that you make a loop ride out of the Wilson Corral trail [TR135] and the Gabes Peak trail [TR136]. Truck / Trailer parking can be either at the Wilson Corral trail head or Rammage Meadows camp ground where the Gabes Peak trail head is located. I recommend you ride up [TR135] and down [TR136] but either way works nicely.   The Gabes Peak trail has some climbs that make it slow going up.

Wilson Corral trail follows a creek in tall timber for the first couple of miles and then crosses a string of meadows ending up north west of the Radar Dome on Snow Bank mountain. In the meadows the trail gets quite indistinct, as cattle summers graze this area. You will see trees marked, and rock carrions. Continue up the meadows until you can not go any higher without dropping down into a small valley, around 7400 feet.

Look to your right and you will see a small meadow down through the trees and a rocky hillside between you and the radar dome. The trail heads down the hill through the trees into the north end of this meadow. You really don’t want to cross the rocky slope as the going is dangerous on very loose rocks. A nice place to give your horses a drink is located in this meadow.

From here the trail heads south and is easy to follow. You continue south along this grassy valley until you come to a line shack. At this shack, the Gabe’s Peak trail branches off to the right. The trail go left of some large rocks and works it’s way along a south facing slope into a series of meadows along a ridge. Stay in these meadows and on the crest of the ridge and you will have little trouble following the trail. The trail leaves this ridge on the north side and works its way through some large timber coming out on an old logging road. Follow this road to Rammage Meadows. Robbin, his grandson Al, and I rode this loop trail easily on a Saturday leaving the trail head around 10:00 and being back at camp in time for cocktails. This assumes that trail maintenance has been performed prior to making this ride, else it will take a bit longer.

25. July 2008 · Comments Off on Lightning Ridge · Categories: Fun Rides, Work Parties and Projects

The Lightning Ridge trail is a 13.5 mile ride between Deadwood Reservoir and Forest Service road NF-611 (Lightning ridge road) in Garden valley.  Linda Hays and I rode some of this trail from the west, Garden Valley end.  The one lane road to the trail head is in very good shape, and the parking for trailers is limited, so this is not a good chapter ride.  But for small groups, of not more then maybe 4 trailers this trail offers one of Idaho’s best ridge rides.  This is not a ride for people or horses that don’t like to climb and are not comfortable riding on a hill side, as this trail has both.  It also has some wonderful granite rock formations and great views of Scott Mountain, Onion Valley, Garden Valley and the surrounding mountains.  During our ride the wild flowers were doing their best to cover the hillsides.  The west end of this trail is dry, not crossing any streams and the section we rode did not have a lot of shade.  On our trail scale of 1 to 5 with one being a flat dirt road and 5 being OMG, this is a 3.5

This project will be a nice ride to the work site and back with the project work itself boots on the ground. We in concert with the Emmett ranger district and some other volunteer’s are going to re-route a section of this trail from off a very steep ridge into a series of switch backs. The problem with the current trail is erosion and currently installed water bars just made the problem worse. Plan on a few hours with shovel and pick. We will have pack horses to carry the tools, but you should bring your favorite shovel. We will be setting up high lines at the work site for the stock while we work. Directions to Peace Creek Trailhead

This project is to open four trails in the Johnson Creek and Riordan Lake areas. Assuming we have enough members to have four crews, each with a chain saws and other required equipment. All trails were impacted by last years fires, and may have their access limited by late snow and or mud. Wapiti Meadows Ranch will be providing tent camping / camper space, and areas to set up high lines or portable corrals and access to stock water. The chapter will be providing weed free hay for the weekend. Wapiti Meadows Ranch will be providing Saturday and Sunday breakfast and Saturdays dinner. Friday dinner is a chapter provided BBQ, members will provide their own lunches. To attend a “Wapiti Meadows Trip Registration Form” must be filled out and sent in no later then June 5th, 2008 This is going to be a great trip, don’t miss it! Directions to Wapati Meadows South Fork / Johnson Creek Area Map / Wapiti Meadows trip Registration / Directions to Wapati Meadows via Landmark