Fishing is just one of so many different activities we can choose from during the upcoming summer.
It started when our son called asking for ideas for an early spring hike. We thought about it and called him back with some suggestions. Then I provided him with a couple of lists that I have created over the years of places to go and things to do around east Idaho. Reality struck after looking at the lists and discussing all the things we hope to do this summer around home and on the road. Clearly, there aren’t nearly enough days to get it all in, especially when we factor in family and friends and house projects.
I am itching to get going on summer activities even though three feet of snow still carpets the ground at home. I’ve been daydreaming of so many activities that it has nearly worn me out. There are so many fun things to do and places to go in our area!
It really boils down to learning to specialize, something that I have never been able to do. I know many people for whom the outdoors means one or two things. That may be riding horses or ATVs, mountain biking, canoeing, hunting, fishing, birding, rafting, photography, wildlife viewing, mountain climbing, hiking or a myriad of other activities. For them, time off means just one thing: grabbing one piece of gear and heading out to do their FAVORITE activity, the one they choose above all others.
Me, I am a jack of all outdoor recreation, and literally, master of none. There are few activities that I never warmed to, mainly the more extreme sports. Beyond that, I literally try to do it all. When we pack for an adventure, the truck might look more like a moving van with canoes, bicycles, ATV in the trailer, fishing poles, guns, camping gear, Dutch ovens. Geez, my photography gear alone fills the entire back seat of the truck.
If our destination includes a hike, I look pretty much like my truck. I can’t leave much behind because I might “need” it somewhere on the trail. So, with a pack full of gear, tripod over my shoulder and camera around my neck, I trudge off, wondering how I can ever think that this is fun.
Even with all my competing interests, if I could just learn to do one thing at a time, it would make outdoor life so much easier. For instance, today I go fishing and the camera, hiking gear, bicycles and such stay home. Tomorrow it might be cycling, then everything else stays home. I could still fit in an incredible amount of activity and possibly get more competent at something at the same time.
That approach can be helped by timing. For example, the ice on Island Park Reservoir is going to last for a while longer so there is no sense planning a fishing trip there. The same goes for many of the roads and trails in our area. They open with a schedule of their own, and until they are ready for a hiker, mountain biker or ATV rider, there is no sense trying to plan something at road’s end. So, that means planning activities in the lower country first such as a birding trip to Market Lake, fishing on the South Fork (before water gets too high—more timing) or cycling on the Bone Road.
I hope to spend most of the summer season outdoors. In these times of social distancing, the outdoors still offers wonderful opportunities for fun—if I can avoid a recreation meltdown.
Help Idaho Wildlife
When we traveled across the state in October 2017, most of the vehicles we saw using the wildlife management areas did not have wildlife plates.
C'mon folks, let's help Idaho's wildlife by proudly buying and displaying a wildlife license plate on each of our vehicles!
See below for information on Idaho plates. Most states have wildlife plates so if you live outside Idaho, check with your state's wildlife department or vehicle licensing division for availability of state wildlife plates where you live.
Wildlife License Plates
Idaho Wildlife license plates provide essential funding that benefits the great diversity of native plants and wildlife that are not hunted, fished or trapped—over 10,000 species or 98% of Idaho’s species diversity. Game species that share the same habitats (such as elk, deer, antelope, sage-grouse, salmon, trout) also benefit from these specialty plates.
No state tax dollars are provided for wildlife diversity, conservation education and recreation programs. Neither are any revenues from the sale of hunting or fishing licenses spent on nongame species. Instead, these species depend on direct donations, federal grants, fundraising initiatives—and the Idaho Wildlife license plates.
Both my vehicles have Bluebird Plates. I prefer the bluebird because the nongame program gets 70 percent of the money from bluebird plates, but only 60 percent of the money from elk and trout plates - 10 percent of the money from elk plates supports wildlife disease monitoring and testing programs (to benefit the livestock industry) and 10 percent from cutthroat plates supports non-motorized boat access.
Incidentally, in 2014, the Idaho Legislature denied the Department of Fish and Game the ability to add new plates or even to change the name of the elk and cutthroat plates (very specific) to wildlife and fish plates, a move that would have allowed for changing images occasionally and generating more revenue. It would seem that they believe that we Idahoans don't want a well funded wildlife program. Go figure.
"WOW. What a phenomenal piece you wrote. You are amazing." Jennifer Jackson
That is embarrassing but actually a fairly typical response to my nature essays. Since The Best of Nature is created from the very best of 16 years of these nature essays published weekly in the Idaho Falls Post Register (online readership 70,000), it is a fine read. It covers a wide variety of topics including humorous glimpses of nature, philosophy, natural history, and conservation. Readers praise the style, breadth of subject matter and my ability to communicate complex and emotional topics in a relaxed and understandable manner.
Everyone can find something to love in this book. From teenagers to octogenarians, from the coffee shop to the school room, these nature essays are widely read and enjoyed.
Some of the essays here are my personal favorites, others seemed to strike a chord with readers. Most have an important message or lesson that will resonate with you. They are written with a goal to simultaneously entertain and educate about the wonderful workings of nature. Some will make you laugh out loud and others will bring a tear to the eye and warm your heart.
"You hit a home run with your article on, Big Questions in Nature. It should be required reading for everyone who has lost touch with nature...great job!" Joe Chapman
"We enjoyed your column, Bloom Where Planted. Some of the best writing yet. The Post Register is fortunate to have your weekly columns." Lou Griffin.
To read more and to order a copy, click here or get the Kindle version
Copies are also available at:
Barnes and Noble in Idaho Falls
Harriman State Park, Island Park
Museum of Idaho
Valley Books, Jackson Wyoming
Avocet Corner Bookstore, Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Brigham City, Utah
Craters of the Moon National Monument Bookstore, Arco, Idaho
TAX DAY is coming! Here is a chance to do something good with a bit of your tax return and make the day less painful.
Donate part of your tax return to support wildlife in Idaho!
On the second page of the Idaho Individual Tax form 40 you have the opportunity to donate to the “Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund”.
Check-off this box on your next return or ask your tax preparer to mark the Nongame check-off on your behalf.
If you are not from Idaho, check with your own state wildlife agency about how you can help. Many states have a similar program.