We spent a few mornings and afternoons last week watching the occupants of a fox den. When lulled into security by our unmoving presence, a few half-grown pups would emerge from the den to soak up the sunshine, wrestle with siblings or explore the neighborhood. These cubs will leave the den …

For Father’s Day, I received a book entitled “50 States, 5,000 Ideas” by National Geographic. It is a fascinating book that highlights just a few of the places to go in each state and even 10 Canadian provinces. I immediately turned to Idaho and read through the four or so pages highlighting…

A few years after the Yellowstone fire of 1988, I was driving into the park from West Yellowstone. The blackened landscape was still almost ubiquitous, but there among the charred remains of forests a tinge of green covered the forest floor — a carpet comprised of millions of one-foot tall e…

A small songbird popped out of the rushing waters at Big Springs in Island Park. It was rather plain with a slightly brown head, gray body and clownishly short tail. Each time it blinked I saw a flash from white eyelid feathers. I recognized it immediately, though, as it sat preening on a ro…

I recently bumped into an Idaho Falls friend (not literally, that would violate social distancing). He’s super big on triathlons and cycling races. He often places or wins his age category in many of them.

It isn’t every day that you get to see a living icon. But that is what we were headed for, although we didn’t know it. On May 18 we were first in line at the Wilson entrance to Grand Teton National Park for the limited opening of the park. At just a little before noon, a ranger waved us in a…

To follow up my story appearing in Sunday’s newspaper on the situation with bike shops running out of inventory because of kinks in the supply line caused by COVID-19, I spoke with Doug Swanson, owner of Bill’s Bike and Run in Idaho Falls.

Although restrictions on travel have been relaxed a bit since the first week of May, COVID-19 continues to rock our world. We have been concerned for our grandchildren and their parents not just because of the disease but also the potential boredom and the constant threat of losing them to b…

We saw our first elk of the season in Island Park one week ago. We were watching trumpeter swans on the far western shore of Silver Lake at Harriman State Park when my wife suddenly exclaimed, “There’s an elk!” One elk turned into 30 or more as we watched them work their way north and out of…

With the melting snow, chipmunks, squirrels and voles have become more active at our place, enough so to attract a fox to our yard recently. Roadside marmots are awake in the valley although those that live in our rock wall are sleeping until more snow melts.

On Saturday, my sweetheart and I pulled into the dirt parking lot on the Sunny Side (west side) of Ross Park in Pocatello expecting a crowd. The day was nearly perfect for rock climbing — sunny, warm, but not hot, and enough breeze to make it pleasant.

The dang nail, driven deep into a concrete wall, just wouldn’t come out. I worked at it, bending it one way, then the other, hoping to fatigue the high strength steel. I succeeded far better than I hoped, and with a snap, the nail broke at the edge of the concrete and like a projectile from …

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 look…

Last week, Ririe Reservoir was busy at the Blacktail Park. Fortunately it’s big enough to accommodate a lot of folks without having to breathe on each other.

As humpback whale mothers trailing newborn calves enter the waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage this spring, they will encounter something the mother whale may have never experienced there — unimpeded ocean sounds. As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s fleet of about 350 cru…

No matter how many times you hike the Hell’s Half Acre Trail, you can expect to hear the question, “Are you sure we’re going in the right direction?”

Now that “stay at home” is a governmental degree for Idahoans and not just a request, many people are going to get far more familiar with living rooms, dens and backyards than they ever knew was possible. If we aren’t prepared with some ideas, though, this familiarity can lead to boredom ver…

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — They're tired of the deaths and multiple rescues near a decrepit old bus whose legendary status continues to lure adventurers to one of Alaska's most unforgiving hinterlands, and now officials in the nearest town want it removed, something the state has no intention …

Matt Skoglund’s rubber boots are shredded. A previous attempt at holding the rips together with sealant is now yellowed and peeling. Blood is smeared across the rear door handle of his white flatbed pickup. Inside the truck cab, on the floor, rests a small tangle of curly brown bison hair.

Kelvin Burton has a few interesting images on his phone. Not snapshots of his kids. Not fish photos either. What Burton has is a buck. Even better, it’s an image of a mule deer buck with antlers running down both sides of its neck. Yes, down. Not up. The antlers that grew out of the top of i…

The early morning sky and I are not well acquainted. Seeing stars before the sun can brighten the sky enough to hide them requires getting up about 4:30 a.m. in March, just a tad early for me. But when I read that Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Venus would all be visible in the pre-dawn sky in th…

CRAIG — Trout noses were poking through the surface of the Missouri River here when I stopped at one roadside spot. Occasionally there was a flash of tail or dorsal fin, but the important thing was that the fish were eating insects off the surface.

When this nature column started over 20 years ago, of the four authors tasked with it, there was one writer who stood out with prose that caused me fits of jealousy and excited me at the same time. His name was David Hays and he was the owner and editor of the Island Park Bugle, a weekly pub…

Every fishery we sampled was outstanding and special in its own way. So like parents with too many precious children, the toughest decision we had to make in 10 days was telling our Argentine fly fishing guides which of the many remaining options we’d favor for the final outing of our Februa…

Of the seven bird species that visited my feeder this winter in Island Park, I could only tell males from females on one species. This was the hairy woodpecker, where the male has a dime-sized red spot on the back of his head that the female lacks. For the remainder, Steller’s jays, Canada j…

JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole’s largest elk herd is thriving and appears to have grown slightly over the past year after hunters had a historically tough time finding animals and filling tags.

When Daniel Kristensen felt the back of the 11,000-pound snow groomer he was driving slide toward the edge of the old logging road he knew he was in trouble.

When springtime tints the landscape green, gentlemen callers, especially birds, will be dressed in their finest, hardly recognizable as the same species as the females they court. This is sexual dimorphism — differences between the sexes — at its finest. Sexual dimorphism takes many forms, b…

Skiing in Harriman State Park on Monday with fourth-graders from Tiebreaker Elementary reminded me of the importance of getting youngsters outside.

Sitting in my blind at 20 degrees Fahrenheit is seldom easy. However, the bird action around my feeder was intense, and I was kept busy enough photographing them that I didn’t notice the cold much. All of these were species I had rarely if ever seen at my feeders when we lived in the valley,…