Q: What is the best way to drive in close to a hiking area at Little Jacks Creek?
There seem to be some unnamed roads running south off Shoofly Road and another road that runs down along Shoofly Creek off the Owyhee Uplands Scenic Byway Road, but I have no idea how good those roads are.
I'll be in a full-size pickup. If I can get close, I dont mind hiking a few miles to get to the canyon area to do more hiking.
CHARLIE CARLSON, via email
A: Little Jacks Creek canyon makes a great fall hike, but youve got to watch the weather.
The back roads going in can turn into a mess with a rainstorm.
Ive been there a couple of times and always wondered how I got there. Getting to the mouth of the canyon is always a challenge in the wide-open desert where everything looks the same.
It sounds like you already know how to get to the Shoofly Road. You go about 2 miles south of Grand View on Idaho 78 and turn south on the Mud Flat Road, which is the Owyhee Byway.
At about 7 miles, turn left, or southeast, on the Shoofly Cutoff Road, which is gravel.
From here Im going to quote Margaret Fuller in her book Trails of Western Idaho to help you get to the canyon.
Margaret says to drive on the Shoofly Cutoff Road for 2.5 miles and then turn right, or southwest, on a primitive road. She stresses that this road is not the one along a line of power poles.
Go 7 miles, crossing three seasonally dry washes and follow the scraped path of a natural gas line, she says in the guidebook. Then turn left (southeast) on a rockier road, which crosses two seasonally dry washes and drive 3 miles to the edge of the canyon.
Whenever I head out toward Little Jacks Creek, or any place in the Owyhees, I take GPS, a good topo map and hope for the best.
I may take a wrong turn and then discover another hike Ive never explored.
But hey, thats exploring the Owyhees.
By the way, youll want a high-clearance vehicle.
M.F. BOISE ROAD OPEN
Q: I know the South Fork of the Boise River is closed due to the fires and mudslides, but is the Middle Fork of the Boise open to fishing? If it is, have you heard of any reports?
DON C., via email
A: The Middle Fork of the Boise River Road is open and you can fish the Middle Fork. Fall fishing is always good.
The U.S. Forest Service says only two roads in the area remain closed.
Forest Road 205 (China Basin Road) remains closed from its intersection with Forest Road 205K going northwest to its junction with Forest Road 206 (Queens River Road).
Forest Road 206 (Queens River Road) is closed from its intersection with Forest Road 268 (Middle Fork Boise River Road) going northeast to the end of the road at the Queens River Trail head.
All other areas, trails and roads are open, including the Sawtooth Wilderness.
The closures this summer were the result of the Little Queens Fires near Atlanta.
NEED A HUNTING MENTOR
Q: Hey Pete, I recently read your article in the Statesman about the passport program on Sept. 12 (good article, by the way).
I do have my hunter education certificate, but I have never been hunting.
It is something I am very much interested in but I do not know anyone who I could learn from.
Do you know of anyone or a group that is willing to mentor?
I am 32 years old and live in South Boise.
RAY F., via email
A: Idahos Hunting Passport is part of the states mentored hunting program. It allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, 8 or older, to try hunting for one year without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course.
Even people who have already completed a hunter education course, but have not purchased a hunting license, are eligible for a passport.
Its an excellent program, but finding a mentor might not be easy.
I would call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game State Hunter Education coordinators office at 334-3746 and ask whether anyone would be available.
Idahos Hunter Education Program has a lot of dedicated volunteers and someone might know of a hunter who would want to teach you about hunting.
Good luck. And hopefully, good hunting.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors