Exploring Illinois Gulch, Idaho City, ID 6/30/17

To make the most of the last day of June 2017, I headed north on Highway 21 (which is really east, geographically) from Idaho City, hoping to find a new place to hike. I really wanted to climb a hill or a mountain as there is some interesting joy I find in summiting hills, mountains, and rocks. But, nursing a broken toe, I needed a relatively flat hike free of too many rocks or other opportunities to twist my foot into painful contorsions. As I drove around winding bends of what’s also known as Ponderosa Parkway, I remembered the Illinois Gulch sign.

Since I first started out in September of 2016 to explore Highway 21 towards Lowman, my eyes have lighted upon the dark brown Illinois Gulch sign just off of the highway on the north side. Heavy amounts of snow in winter and heavy summer traffic had prevented me from making a turn across the highway towards it. Until today.

Today I was looking for it and was ready to turn in when I saw a gap in summer traffic. Ahh, finally, seeing the sign up close. This feels right. Wait, what’s that sign hanging lazily on a chain along an old road entrance? Private Property. No Tresspassing. But I heard there’s public access from here. Well, lemme check it out, see if the signs continue. 

Walking up the gently sloped, virtually rock-free well-maintained dirt road, I saw one more set of signs. Hmmm, really? I muttered skeptically. Something kept me pushing onward and I came across these signs:

Cool! Now I know for sure that there’s public access on this road. And thank God for that, otherwise there aren’t many other roads to explore along this canyon all the way up to Mores Creek Summit towards Lowman. What’s the point of having all of this natural beauty if it’s all private property not open to respectful explorers like me? I’m a good steward of the land and want to enjoy it responsibly. Thankfully this land owner gets that!


Cool Mint Chocolate is my new favorite flavor Clif Bar. It contains caffeine for just the right energy buzz before a hike. 😁🌲⛰ (Order a box here or shop at your favorite local food store. Either way, Clif Bars are worth every bite! What’s your favorite flavor? Leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a box of your favorite flavor! Free favorite food. It doesn’t get much better than that. Yum! 😋

I enjoyed the photogenic fauna along the road. Can you identify any plants? The bright pnk flower may be a wild rose. And I think the light pink flower is a Sticky Geranium. I think it would be sexy-smart to know the binomial Latin nomenclature. Plant taxonomy here I come!


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