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Just a kicked-back 4-wheeling trip

October 11, 2018
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Tom Claycomb

Last week my buddy Fredy Riehl, the editor of Ammoland.com, and his daughter came out to visit me to go on a 4-wheeling trip. He lives in New Jersey so he has to come out to Idaho to get in touch with reality every once in a while. This trip, he wanted to bring his daughter Carly with him. I have all daughters, so I told him sure. Turned out she was a great kid to have along and we all had a blast. (OK, she’s actually a young lady, but everyone is a kid when you get to my age.)

Fredy and I have gone backpacking, fly fishing, etc., the last couple of years and this year I thought it’d be fun to take him 4-wheeling. There are literally thousands if not millions of acres you can 4-wheel on, much less if you throw in the big outfit that I used to work for. I don’t know how many acres they own. They have 32,000 cow/calf pairs so it takes a lot of pasture for that many cows.

Fredy and Carly flew in, and I picked them up at the airport. We had to run pick up the Can-Am Defender MAX side-by-side four-seater and trailer. Wow! Compared to my 4-wheeler, this was a Cadillac.

Next, we ran by a local outdoor store and they stocked up on a few last-minute items. PahaQue had supplied us with a couple of tents to test out and Camp Chef had sent us one of its cool little backpacking stoves. There had been a fire ban so I was scared that we might not be able to even build a fire, which was a major bummer because a roaring fire is a big part of camping.

CRKT Knives had supplied us with some of its sweet little Mossback bird and trout knives. I love those little knives. At first glance, you may discount them for being too petite, but think again. They’re great. They’re lightweight and handy.

I also packed along my Riton binoculars. We were going to be in some good elk, deer and antelope country, so I wanted to be able to let them see some nice bulls. You wouldn’t believe the huge herds of elk I see down in that country — sometimes herds of up to 500.

Then like mentioned above, we had some PahaQue tents and a cool GCI cooking station. The PahaQue tents are great. Instead of the tent poles slipping into a solid sleeve, they also have plastic clips that clip onto the poles. I have grown quite fond of this type of tent. For this excursion, we tested the Rendezvous and the Basecamp tents. The Basecamp, you basically just shake and it pops into a huge tent.

So, into the trip. I love 4wheeling in the Owyhees. I always find old cabins. I love looking around them. At one old homestead, Carly found an old buckboard wagon in perfect shape. It had been parked off to the side and was overgrown with bushes. The wheels were gone but other than that it was in perfect shape.

You can only imagine the history behind that old wagon and homestead. That country still gets snowed in bad.

There are some super rough canyons down there. I had one that I found a couple of years ago while elk hunting that I really wanted to show them. I finally found it the day that we were leaving but we came in on the upstream side of it so they didn’t get to see the coolest part of it but it was still cool. We also found some eggs. I don’t know the official name, but they are some rocks that are as big as ostrich eggs. You can cut them in half or we found plenty that were broke in half. They’re like a big softball cut in half, which has a concave area in it with quartz inside. They’re kinda cool.

We got to see a lot of cool country and the Can-Am really impressed me. We had no trouble getting around everywhere we wanted to go. Coming out of camp, we loaded it down and it carried all of our gear out in one trip. Impressive!

Well, things finally came to an end but we had barely gotten started exploring. There may be a part two next summer.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop.

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