By Audrey Andrews | May 13th, 2020
Boise County, Idaho
Out & Back (plus a mini peak):
1,319 feet elevation gain
About fifteen minutes up Highway 21 from Boise, a cluster of cars perpetually litters the left side of the road. On a Monday, a single car sat in the gravel, so my sister and I pulled in.
The trail begins through the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and resembles a dirt road more than a hiking path. It is accessible year-round. Throughout the first mile, a slight incline summons hikers toward the ascent.
After walking past an adorable stream, the uphill begins. Much of the 1,300 feet of elevation gain are knocked out in one swoop. Shade is nonexistent, but there are plenty of flat portions to rest for a minute, and the wide trail permits proper social distancing.
After about two miles, trails begin to branch. We took the first left and admired the views of Lucky Peak Reservoir and the surrounding mountains from a miniature peak. Then, we proceeded down and marched towards the mine.
Although there are many trail options, most hikers are destined for Adelmann Mine, as the unofficial trailhead name implies. A sign notes the inherent dangers of mines, especially those long-abandoned. The entrance to the mine decorates the wall on the immediate left of the trail, and old tracks cross the path towards an abandoned building.
A more modern shed near the mine excised the most entertaining experience of our adventure. As we approached, rustling inside the shed grew fierce. My sister and I looked at each other with concern, when two ground squirrels sauntered out. This was followed by momentary silence, and an abrupt exit by at least five more. But, the rustling continued: brave ground squirrels lingered inside. We laughed as we rounded the corner for a better look at the abandoned building, making sure to maintain a safe distance from the ruins.
Throughout the hike, wildflowers lit the nearly-treeless landscape. With less sweat in our eyes during the descent, my sister and I were better able to admire their beauty. We made it down the trail in about forty minutes despite a leisurely pace. A puppy greeted us at the exit, a perfect end to a pleasant hike.