Thursday, August 15, 2013 – We were heading from La Grande, Oregon to Lewiston, Idaho…..We could go by way of the interstate heading north, then east….or we could take the scenic route, Hwy 82, the Hell’s Canyon Scenic Hwy east, then north on Hwy 3.
I read the description in the brochure, then looked at the map. There were A LOT of squiggly lines……twists and turns…..promising to be an ‘interesting’ drive. Those of you who know me, know that I am just a bit of a 'chicken’ when it comes to things like that. So, we actually went back in at the campground office to talk with the camp host who had just driven this way the week before. Adequately reassured, we turned east and decided to just enjoy the scenery.
And it was beautiful! The road wound in and around the hills, following the Wallowa River. We passed through several small towns, that all looked like quaint little places to explore, but we were just ‘passing through’.
We stopped at several overlooks…..You just couldn’t help it…..the views were amazing!
This is Joseph Canyon, named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Pearce. Chief Joseph had led a group of about 200 Nez Pearce Indians north towards Canada fleeing the reservations. They were captured within 20 miles of freedom and returned. It really does not seem fair or just…..
AT the little town of Enterprise, we turned north on Hwy 3. I had been thinking, “This wasn’t so bad”, but the fun was just beginning. The drive WAS breathtaking……
Especially when we got to Rattlesnake Canyon! (I am guessing that the name came from the snake-like road winding through the canyon) We stopped at a pull-out to get this picture of the road ahead. It snaked its way in and out, clinging to the hillsides, not steep, but winding down and down…..then back up, then down again.
I shot this pic through the windshield. Slowly and surely we made our way, with the camper following us around each turn. I really tried to relax and enjoy the view…This scenic road was well worth the adventure.…and I have to say, Fred is really an excellent driver and mind you, he was driving using just a little bit of the side mirror.
We arrived in Lewiston, and Hell’s Gate State park (you have to love the name), about noon. We were instructed to check in at the Lewis and Clark Discovery Center inside the park. There, things got a bit frustrating, as we were told that we would not be able to check in until 2pm. Well, it was lunchtime, so we just climbed into the camper and ate our sandwiches for lunch, then went back into the center to wait.
While we waited, we toured the Discovery Center. Being Lewis and Clark fans, we had been looking forward to this stop, but were disappointed in how small this center was. We had toured several other Lewis and Cark centers along their route, and had found that this center did not compare to the one in Sioux City, Iowa, or the one in Great Falls Montana.
But, the Discover Center was cool and clean, and a nice place to wait. Fortunately, they got our site checked out and we were setting up camp by about 1pm.
Our campsite was nice….shady, which is good when the temps are in the 90’s….and had electric and water hook-ups. We would have time to explore the campground later, but today, we had things to do…..
First on the list was to pick up a couple of new batteries for the camper to replace the ones that seemed to be going bad. That was an easy errand, we had called ahead and had found a place that had the batteries in stock, and they had set them aside behind the counter, as promised.
Next up…..getting ready for our rafting trip on the Snake River!