One of the coolest views of Boise is from the Table Rock Quarry Trail.
It takes you near a giant boulder, and the whole area frames the citys skyline.
Its what Boise and the Treasure Valley are all about trails, scenery and the beautiful river, valley and cities.
I like the spot for just sitting and gazing out across the landscape that goes clear to the Owyhee Mountains.
The Table Rock area is a favorite hiking and trail-running spot for a lot of folks, and thats why the graffiti on the rocks is enough to really bum you out.
I was alerted to the graffiti by Sylvia Cooper, outreach coordinator for REI in Boise. REI and members of the Idaho Trails Association are concerned because the problem has gotten worse. They hope to stimulate interest in cleaning up the area. Youll hear about a volunteer effort in the future. Stay tuned.
It (graffiti) has gotten quite bad through the Quarry, Cooper said. Theres a swastika on a rock facing up toward the Quarry. Other rocks have names and slurs painted on them.
This is such a unique area. I love exploring the cliffs and seeing the intricate cracks in the boulders and the soft, pastel coloration of the rocks.
Face it, we cant have graffiti in such a precious area. Hopefully, it will get cleaned up and kept that way.
Wild pheasants arent the easiest upland bird to find.
Theyre cagey and really difficult to figure out. So far, Im one for three this hunting season.
Yes, every time I put on my chest waders and wade the Snake River bottomlands for ringnecks, I get a surprise.
Like, how did that bird know enough to put a Russian olive tree between me and it when it flushed?
It has to be natures radar. Pheasants have it. When I tried to get under the radar by wading in the river practically up to my armpits, and trying to sneak up on them along the shore, it didnt work.
My way of hunting is to walk in the water along the bank and have the dog working the brush on the bank.
That way, Phoebe, my golden retriever, will flush the pheasants out of the brush and over the river for a clear shot.
Thats the theory, but trying to shoot while chest-deep in 40-degree water on slippery rocks and in gooey mud, all while swinging on a bird that is flushing in back of you well, you get the picture.
Last weekend I had two birds put brush between me and them, and I came home empty-handed.
Im not complaining. Just seeing wild pheasants out there is reward enough.
Youve got to love them.
Were going to go and cut a holiday tree the day after Thanksgiving. Its kind of a family tradition.
Yup, really. Its that time of the year. Christmas tree permits go on sale Monday at district offices of the Boise and Payette national forests and the Interagency Visitors Information Center, located at 1387 S. Vinnell Way in Boise.
All tree permits are valid through Dec. 24.
Each permit allows one tree to be cut, with a limit of three permits per family.
For both national forests, the cost of a permit for one tree is $10, and the maximum height of a tree is 12 feet. Permits are valid on both forests.
Here are things to remember when cutting holiday trees:
You can easily get your car stuck on snowy roads. Dont try to blast through snowbanks.
Have the telephone number of a towing service in your glove box. Hopefully, youll have cell service.
Its cold if you try to do it in a blinding snowstorm.
Dont trek out in the woods in shorts and Tevas. Its winter in the mountains.
Cut a tree that will fit in your house, not on the Statehouse steps.
Dont try to cut a tree down with a Swiss army knife.
Watch your distance skiing or snowshoeing in for a tree. Its not fun dragging a tree 2 miles.
If youre hoping for snow, and plenty of it for alpine and cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, then read our Winter Recreation Guide in Idaho Outdoors on Thursday.
It will be good karma for bringing in snowstorms.
Outdoors editor Roger Phillips and I have put together stories on the best areas in Idaho to enjoy winter. And believe me, there are plenty of them.
It will be a fun read while youre relaxing after Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
Statesman outdoor writer Pete Zimowsky writes a column every other Sunday.