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The Nearly Endless Trail Book Project


The Nearly Endless Trail Book Project

The Nearly Endless Trail Book Project

In a zippered binder, bout 4 feet from where I am plunking on the keys on my piece of my junk laptop, sits a nice, neat stack of loose papers that are numbered 1-293.  Those pages are packed with stats, details, descriptions, maps, photos as well as many memories! 

Each of those pages reflect a journey to the stunningly beautiful mountains, dramatic desert canyons and magnificant alpine lakes that make up the glorious (and hill ridden) Idaho topography.  Those pages are slowly being woven into a new trail book for the Boise, Idaho area,

Boise Backcountry Adventures.

One afternoon in the summer of 2001, Boise rock climbing guidebook author, Sandy Epeldi, and I were discussing the boundless potential for trail running in Boise and came to the conclusion that a trail book was long overdue. Much of my paycheck each week went toward gear at an outdoor store.  That store had no Boise hiking/trail running books on its shelves as none existed - yet!  A week later we were at the Military Reserve trail system to begin the fieldwork for our book.  Since we were both trail runners dealing with some time contraints and some horrendously long trails to cover, we made a brave decision to run all the trails (except the canyoneering sections).  This seemed to throw in a little extra challenge to a duanting project. 

Over a thousand miles later and 11 years........a trail book is near completion.

smallest of the Warrior Lakes near Swanholm Peak (Idaho City area)

There have been many delays:  trail additions/subtractions, trail changes, kids being created, homes being purchased and remodeled, Dave moving to Alaska, other pressing projects........but Sandy, who has done the bulk of the work, has done an amazing job with incredible detail and accuracy.  I was a grime assistant, involved in the initial coverage of trails by 2 sets of running shoes.  Guess I was a partner in grime. 

Brown's Creek Canyon in the Owyhee's

Little did I realize that this project would slowly etch a mark on my life.  Within a couple summers we would cover mileage in Idaho's backcountry that the average Idaho Joe might have a difficult time covering in a lifetime. We saw amazing sights, ran nearly endless mountain climbs, waded through deep canyon pools, endured snow, ice, scalding heat, finished in eerie darkness, scrambled some challenging rock formations,and got lost (oops, I can't list that. We are guidebook authors!).  

Sandy Epeldi

The value of this piece of my rather unique life is coming into focus as the book nears.  Not just because of the actual product (book), but of the many opportunities that it offered.  In the gain category:

  • The memories pasted to the ceiling of my brain. 
  •  The value of being in good shape and almost being able to keep up with Sandy.  He may be a climbing guru but truth be told, the dude can run.
  • The experience of being involved in a publishing project and being a co-author
  • The diabetes element.  Not gonna let this disease stop me! I hope to encourage others through this slice of my life
  • The many invaluable pictures gathered en-route
  • The value of rising to the challenge of each day, no matter what the distance, elevation gain or what mother nature was chucking out direction
  • In the loss category:  weight.

  Sandy on the trail

 concentrating on non-runnable sections

Memories from the trail:

Favorite Trails:  Hart Creek Canyon, Red Mountain Lakes, Jump Creek Canyon, William Pogue National Recreation Trail, Jenny Lake

Most Difficult Trail:  Cottonwood Creek ( A rather rough day with the diabetes)

Time it took to nail a title for the book:  10+ years

When can you buy

Boise Backcountry Adventures?:  S

hould be this summer!

Favorite Area:  The Owyhee's.  The canyons are awesome!

a little canyoneering in the Owyhee's

wild horses in the Owyhee's (near Murphy, Idaho)



Finding Adventure at Work?

Finding Adventure at Work?
What do you get when you mix adventure with work? As a rule of thumb, I usually escape work to get out of town to locate the needed realm of adventure. In my long list of occupations I have managed to track down one job where I was paid for adventure. After a long duration in Tucson, Arizona, I was seeking a change in routine and life for me and the family as I jumped online to find what opportunity had in store for us. I came across a job listing that caused me to laugh. Bicycle Messenger? No, not a listing for Chicago, New York, or some other huge cement jungle. Shaking my head, I found myself heading north to Boise, Idaho with the prospect of my new career(?) being the driving force. Ok, maybe a short lived career. Does someone in their mid 30’s, married with a child, with diabetes make a major move to be a Bicycle Messenger? Haha guess at least one of us does. The manager, Tealdo, even held the job till I could arrive.

I would find myself as the only bicycle messenger in town. I worked for Fleet Street Couriers, a courier company that made deliveries via the automobile with one lone dude on a bike. This was a September arrival so fall and winter were looming for this unprepared desert rat. I will note that it does help one’s transition into a new climate when you are in the elements most of the day. I can largely credit this occupation as being a key step toward my transition into becoming a spastic gear junkie. One confession out of the way. The transition had taken me from my desert attire to a world of microfleece, gore tex , synthetic layering, booties, lined gloves and a thermos to carry the necessary caffeine and a very large courier bag that I soon found could carry a granormous amount of "stuff".

I am looking over a small, tidy pile of notes I had taken during the courier season as I waited for urgent calls to to send me in 4 directions at the same time. Seems to be that most of notes them were taken during the memorable winter zone. Imagine that? As I scan a page of the courier lifestyle, it is 9:03am on an overcast day in January and snow is forecasted for the evening. Weather had been a real fascination of mine, especially since I had spent many years in the lightening zapped, monsoon skies of the Southwest. I soon adapted morning sessions with the weather radio predicting whether Dave would get seriously cold, frostbitten, drenched, hit by lightening, blown off the road by raging winds, or wilt in 100+ degree heat. Mother Nature...will you be my friend today? Further down the notes, I read that it is 1:30pm and the snow had unleashed, and my day had become way more interesting, and slippery, but I am so very glad to be out pushing the pedals and being removed from 4 walls, lousy lighting and emails messages screaming my name.

The jumbled notes and my memory bank would reveal a time in life that was new, unique and exciting. What a cool job? Dang that was awesome, but there were some really tough, weary and drag down demanding days.
The toughest days were the days that I was sick or feeling the dome of sickness crowding my little world. Rugged times for a sick and weak courier on 2 wheels. Especially when your work day on the bike would cover 25-50 miles. Much of the mileage was delivering "Rush" deliveries.
Point A to Point B as fast as I could pedal with there often being a pick-up and delivery to Points C,D,E,F already lined up. The other grinding days were when the blood sugars were difficult, or impossible. Glancing through my notes I had described an unusual day with strange weather. My next line referenced that my blood sugar was on a parallel line with the weather. Ugly, non-sympathetic and out of season. The challenges of diabetes.

I would see all of the glory of Boise’s four seasons as my days as a bicycle messenger ended one year after I had arrived on the scene for a job that would challenge me and reward a person with diabetes who wanted adventure, found it, got paid for it, and brought diabetes along for the ride.