Heavenly Hells Canyon

Skirting the greater thriving metropolis of Boise, we merged onto US95 north, dipping our toes briefly back into Oregon before busting back into Idaho at Weiser and then descending into the Snake River gorge. We zigged and zagged across the border at Brownlee and Oxbow dams, our sights set on Big Bar on the Idaho side. As we drove along the river banks, the road rose high above the Snake. The dams created sections that you could almost consider to be lakes. The river was wide and slow and the canyon walls soared up on either side. We rolled back downhill to Big Bar and it’s small camp areas. Slowly driving by each turnoff and scrutinizing both the condition of the road and our prospects along the riverbank. Cate’s research had suggested that the third area had the best sites, so we committed to the rocky dirt road down to the riverbank. The road was a loop and we bore left stopping at a what looked to be a great campsite. The road meandered back upriver through the trees and with cate and frankie in tow, I hopped out to look around, scouted the road ahead and stumbled upon what would be perhaps one of our favorite camping sites ever!

Nestled among the sprawling branches of pecan trees, surrounded by fruit trees, and offering up two beaches with a “lagoon”…we were home! We carefully backed the camper under the low hanging branches and with great excitement went to set up the camper….BUT we suddenly found ourself locked out of the camper! The door lock had seized. With a screwdriver attached to an extension cord, I worked blindly through the porthole to extract the screws of the doorknob. Even after complete disassembly, it still didn’t budge, so we brought out the hatchet and pried it open! Frankie explored her verdant surroundings while we hung the hammock, set the chairs out, and marveled at the beauty of our temporary home!

Over the  next two days we explored the canyon, at one point high above the water at an overlook, while watching the sunset, a lone mountain goat appeared on an adjacent bluff, and Frankie was enamored, and the next morning the same goat made a closer approach and kept Cate company for the sunrise.

Later in the day we drove over the Hells Canyon dam, and to the terminus of the road, back on the Oregon side, to Hell’s Canyon Creek Visitor center.

We hiked a trail for about a mile into the canyon, far below us the jetboat tours departed and rafters prepped for their upcoming excursions.

Back at the campsite, we took turns in our inflatable kayak, swimming on our little beach , and generally goofing off. In the trees, hordes of angry squirrels chattered away all night long!

Early the next morning, thankful to have had two nights at this world class campsite, we reluctantly buttoned up the camper, and using a set of tongs to hold our damaged door closed, we pulled away and set out over the the Wallowa Mountains with Joseph Oregon in our sites.

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