Silver City, looking southeast; note mine spoil at upper right

Road Trip: Silver City, Idaho


The Owhyee Mountains in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon aren’t the product of a single geologic event, or even the same series of events. In the case of the parts of the Owhyees around Silver City, Idaho, it’s more of a damaged geologic layer cake: Cretaceous granodiorite, which penetrates Paleozoic sedimentary rock, all overlain with…

Long-billed Dowitcher, Blacks Creek Reservoir, July 2017

Birding Blacks Creek Reservoir


WC spent a morning walking around Blacks Creek Reservoir. Blacks Creek is a small, mostly seasonal irrigation reservoir located a few miles southeast of Boise. The reservoir is a patchwork of ownership interests, but an effort led by Golden Eagle Audubon Society a few years ago has created a birding gem. The reservoir varies from…

Local History ≠ Local Economics


The church across the alley from WC’s house in Boise was going to be condemned. The roof trusses had failed under the past winter’s snow load. The damage is obvious from the outside. Folks said it “couldn’t be repaired,” but what they meant was that the cost of repairs was too high, more than the…

Fisherman Road descends at an average 17% grade on a road chiseled into volcanic tuff and cobbles

WC Survived Fisherman Road


On a map, it looks like a nice way to get from Succor Creek Road over to the Owhyee Reservoir in southeastern Oregon. Even on Google Earth it looks pretty straightforward. It’s not. Don’t drive Fisherman Road. Maybe it was the August 2016 Cherry Road Wildfire, which burnt much of the area that Fisherman Road…

Arrowrock Spillway, looking south, Boise River

Some Notes on Arrowrock Dam


Arrowrock Dam is one of three major dams along the course of the Boise River. It’s the oldest of the three, completed in 1915. At 348 feet tall, Arrowrock was the highest dam in the world at the time. It’s primary purpose is irrigation; it holds the winter’s rain and snowmelt so that water is…