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I’ve lived in this area for over four decades, and still find wonderful places to explore. A mere 15 minute drive from my home, this old fisherman’s trail on the south side of the Boise River begins downstream of Lucky Peak Reservoir at the relatively new Mary Hallock Foote Interpretive Center. It follows the river bank for a mile or two, eventually climbing the lava left rim to a plateau and eventually leading to The Oregon Trail Recreation Area and Surprise Valley neighborhood. At the start of the walk, a sagebrush forest loomed over my head, waving in the brisk morning breeze.

Boise’s wildly growing population has pushed more people onto the urban and foothills trail system. This path is now used as much by general hikers and dog walkers as it is by fishermen. But on this smoky weekday morning I only encountered one woman with her three labradoodlish dogs. (I resisted the urge to ask her if the fresh poo at the entry was their breadcrumb back to the car.)

Hula skirt outcrop

A trail up a side canyon lured me off the main thoroughfare and up to the prairie plateau, which is owned mostly Bureau of Land Management (BLM). As I topped out, a pair of cyclists on the horizon alerted me that I was probably near the Oregon Trail path which is a highly popular mountain biking trail.

Kill it! Make sure it can’t move.

Unfortunately, BLM land near an urban area is famous for trash, target practice, and general abuse.

It’s best to just look the other way.

I had limited time, so I reluctantly headed back down the draw. I’m sure in the early spring, this little canyon funnels moisture from mountain runoff to the southeast. This time of year, it’s dry as a bone. But I enjoyed watching raptors riding the currents and searching for mid-morning snacks.