In 1978, for no good reason, I started writing what became Hiking Trails of Southern Idaho, published by Caxton Printers in 1981. This was my first book, and I really don't like it, but it did help people get out to some less-well-known roadless areas. Next came North Idaho Hiking Trails (1982), a book I still really like. I then spent one solid summer researching eastern Idaho trails to complete the state, but I tired of solo hiking and exploring, and resolved to write no more trail guides. I actually grew up and got a job...
But back in Boise, a wonderful person named Bruce Boccard turned me on to the glories of Idaho's high desert. After five solid years in the mountains, the desert' plateaus, canyons, and lava fields became my true love! That was a dark time for environmentalists. In the late 1970's, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had been given two new mandates. First, it had to inventory and study all roadless areas for wilderness suitability—at a time when Idaho's forests still had outstanding areas lacking wilderness protection. And second, it had to adopt multiple use management plans—for lands that previously had only been managed for grazing and mining.
The BLM's wilderness studies and management plans were deeply flawed. After fighting (and mostly losing) a number of environmental battles with the BLM, I realized that there was no hope until the public actually saw those unknown desert areas with their own eyes. And since I was the best person to show them the way, I got back into the trail guide business.Exploring Idaho's High Desert came out in 1988, and it was good. It went through two printings, but the Internet offered a better way to deliver information—and to get feedback. So, www.hikeidaho.com came into being, and worked well for several years, until the pressure of my work forced me to suspend operations.
For three reasons, I've gotten back into the fray. First, an article in the Portland Oregonian cited my 1991 book as—still—the best source for hiking Idaho's desert. Second, the original research was approaching its twenty-fifty anniversary, and still no one had taken up the challenge and brought the topic up to date (in contrast to the zillions of Idaho mountain hiking guides). And third, after several years of retirement, I wanted a project that would challenge me. Somewhere along the line, the domain "hikeidaho.com" slipped away, so I chose the current name "sagehiker.net". I hope you like this new information and revived web site. Good hiking!!!!