Bald eagles along Boise River

Bald eagles are breathtaking.

You never get tired of seeing them. We took our after-Thanksgiving-dinner hike in the afternoon Thursday along the Boise River and spotted one near Barber Park.

I've have people tell me they are seeing bald eagles around Main Street and the river, and in other places.

Bald eagles migrate through Idaho in the winter and some hang out at Lake Lowell and along the Boise River.

It's a good time to take a stroll on the Greenbelt and see an eagle.

Good hiking

Thankful for Idaho's vast natural areas

We have 4 million acres of wilderness and 9.3 million acres of roadless areas in Idaho.

That's an incredible chunk of natural area where you know you are going to find solitude that refreshes the soul. No traffic. No concrete. No canyons of tall buildings. No glitzy shopping malls.

I was on a recent trip to Florida to visit relatives and the things that got to me the most were the miles and miles of solid houses, shopping centers, clogged interstate highways and crowds. There was no elbow room. There was no edge.

Crazy weather is puzzling - hoping for skiing

Thanksgiving weekend is approaching and skiers and boarders are chewing their fingernails wishing to carve the slopes instead of turkey.

We go through this every Thanksgiving Weekend. Which resort is going to open? Where's the snow? Are we going into another drought winter.

The surprising news is that Sun Valley Resort isn't going to open its slopes for Thanksgiving. The temperatures were too warm to make snow.

Free Fifth Grade skiing program is being offered again

Ski Idaho’s Fifth Grade Passport program is again being offered this year.

That's good news because the program gets youths to take advantage of Idaho’s winter recreation opportunities by offering free lift tickets for the 2008/2009 season.

The Fifth Grade Passport program offers the students free lift tickets to more than a dozen different ski mountains as a way to get more kids playing in the snow. Other than the initial $10 processing fee for the passport, the program gives any Idaho fifth grader the chance to ski Idaho for free.

No fourth plant for Boise River steelhead

That's the word from the folks at Fish and Game's Nampa hatchery. Not enough fish were trapped at Hells Canyon to bring another load to Boise. F&G splits the surplus fish with Oregon and the Nez Perce tribe.

I was hoping for a fourth plant for my own selfish reasons. I thought people might get bogged down with the holidays and there would be more fish left for the winter months. It was probably wishful thinking. Steelhead bring a lot of people to the river, and based on my few trips out this month, I am seeing more people fishing for them than in recent years.

Going in circles in the fog on the Snake River

It was thick. You couldn't even see 15 feet in front of you. It was also dark.

What a mess. When we arrived to go duck hunting on the Snake River Sunday, we expected to zip out to our hunting spot in the dark like we have been doing over most weekends this fall. The trip takes about 15 minutes in the jetboat.

Hunting for gear at The North Face store in Boise

Outdoors clothing and gear nuts will love The North Face store in downtown Boise.

I got a chance to check out the store, located at 802 W. Idaho St., Thursday night. The North Face is a supplier of innovative and quality outdoor apparel, equipment, and footwear.

It's really cool that the 8,665 square-foot store is in the historic Mode building right on one of the busiest corners downtown. This is going to be the place to be browsing during lunch hours.

Bogus will probably need more yurts

The popularity of Bogus Basin Recreation Area's new yurt was no surprise. It's booked on weekends through mid-April.

Yurts are popular. The state-run yurts near Idaho City are booked solid through winter weekends. State park yurts are popular, too.

Yurts are an easy way to go camping and stay in the mountains during the winter. It's really not camping, just a rustic way to get outdoors.

Holidays bring outdoor traditions

Each Christmas day brings a holiday tradition for us. We usually exchange gifts Christmas eve, have a few egg nogs and then get a good night's sleep.

On Christmas day we head up to our favorite mountain ridge in the Boise Mountains, northeast of Idaho City, and cross-country ski to some high spot and have a picnic. It's just my wife and I and the dogs.

O-fer so far on Boise River steelhead

I got out Friday evening and Saturday morning with my friend and fellow steelhead fanatic Steve Zerza. We landed trout, whitefish, suckers (that would be me), but no steelhead.

There were lots of other anglers out fishing for steelhead, which shouldn't surprise me. It was beautiful fall weather, even if it was a little chilly in the first couple hours after dawn. We saw two fish landed, but I am sure there were others. I was busy fishing, not watching how other anglers were doing.

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