Archive for June, 2015

McCall, Idaho

Since I had never heard of Bend before soon arriving here, I figured there had to be other Hidden Gem (small, mountainous, outdoorsy people) towns. In my research, McCall popped up…so I’ve been wanting to visit. It didn’t disappoint. Sits on the southern end of Payette Lake. It’s a town of 3,000 and has mountains, rivers, and of course the lake. Also gets snow for those winter sports.

The drive between Riggins and McCall was really pretty and where the trees started kicking in. The drive followed the Little Salmon River. There were so many nice pullouts and I must have driven Ralph mad, with…Look at that pullout next to the waterfall! Look at that pullout next to the meadow with all these wildflowers! …

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The View From Seven Devils

fb 5 The firetower is only 0.2 miles away…seemed much longer at that altitude [around 8,000′].

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fb 3 The flower smells [similar to honeysuckle or hyacinth] were strong and wonderful.

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Seven Devils Horses

There are wild horses at the summit. On the way in they were eating along side the road. On the way out, the horses were in the middle of the road, wouldn’t move, and one was staring us down. Soon, 3 horses lined up behind her, like they “had her back”.

She was putting her head down and shaking her head, and then “stomping” her foot.

I don’t know anything about horses, but knew this is supposed to mean something, and the only thing that made sense, was that she wasn’t happy with us and we didn’t know if she would charge our car. Do horses charge?

This seems light hearted now, but at the time it was freaky/scary. We are the only ones around [literally – the lookouts live up there], it’s getting close to dark, NO cell service, a tough trek back up to the fire tower, and an 18 mile walk down.

Looking back, I wish I had taken more photos and even video taped the scenario, but in the freaky moment, was more concerned how to get out of there. We tried honking the horn. Nope, kept being stared down. Tried going off road around them, but they moved to block us. And then….

3 horses slowly came towards us….

and started licking the dust off the hood of our car.

We let them…and when they stopped, slowly went around them.

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Seven Devils Lake

The photos don’t do this justice.

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Seven Devils Mountain

Just south of Riggins. Originally we had hoped to camp at Seven Devils campground, which is on a first come basis. Since we were getting into Riggins on a Saturday we had concerns that it might be full. The drive up the mountain is 18 miles of narrow, rutted, twisty/turny gravel road. Thought that was too much of a commitment in case there were NO spots. We decided to go up on Sunday and scope it out for future reference. Took us an hour to get up there.

Pretty big campground and only 2 sites taken. Didn’t take us long to meet a mother and adult daughter who were walking the 1/4 mile to Seven Devils Lake. We joined them and the lake was picture perfect. They are from Boise and I asked them about Stanley, and they both oohed and ahhhed, just like people did when I asked them about Bend, when I was on my way there. We will definitely have to come back here.

We then went further up to the fire lookout tower. There is a married couple as the lookouts who were very nice and answered my questions and even invited us inside to look around. I’ve hiked to 5 of 6 fire towers and have never had the lookout come out to talk or invite me in. The view of course was wonderful. You can see 4 states and 7 mountain peaks.

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Riggins, ID

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The cute, very little cabin in Riggins has wifi that works! The owners are very friendly and give suggestions of things to do, so do other outdoorsy people staying here. Cabin is right next to the Little Salmon River, where guys are fishing and ladies are in the river cooling off.

Took the more scenic drive along hiway 12, which hugs the Clearwater River. Went thru the Nez Perce Reservation. Very, very nice. How you might picture driving in Idaho along a river.

Got up to 108′ today, so glad we have A/C. I learned something today. A Wilderness area doesn’t mean there are trees. When we first planned this trip, we planned on camping at one of the very many pullouts along the river. Just wing it. In my mind I’m picturing lots of trees and shade, with the river flowing by. As the temp forecast kept getting higher, I called an audible and booked a cabin. Good thing…cuz there are NO trees! We would have just baked.

In Riggins, what you see are the only trees in the area (in town) and pretty much the town of 410 is river rafting outfitters. We ate a really good meal at just about the only place to eat…a saloon. There is a condo along the river for sale for $52,500.

Tomorrow we’ll be general exploring and doing either the Fish Hatchery hike (see hatchery, cool view, but beware of Rattlesnakes (where’s the bacon jerky?*)) or the Seven Devils hike (can see 7 mountain peaks, climb fire tower and see 4 states).

* rattlesnakes have a natural aversion to the smell of pigs. If you live in rattlesnake country, either get a pig or spread bacon grease along your property line.

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Clearwater River In Idaho

This is a photo taken along the Clearwater River, about 30 minutes into Idaho. Prettier with some green. The brown baby mountains look the same as the Snake River…so this is kinda what the deepest gorge looks like. The “deepest” part of that stat is technically correct, based on the highest mountain peak, which could be a half a mile away from the river.

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Snake River

Between Oregon and Idaho. This is the deepest gorge in the US.

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See how low the water is.

See how low the water is.

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Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Rocky mountain goats

Rocky mountain goats

Basalt columns

Basalt columns

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Idaho Has 2 Time Zones

The panhandle/north of the Salmon River is Pacific and south of the river is Mountain. The county that the river goes thru is split. I wonder if you call the library and ask when they close, do they give you 2 different times?

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Clarkston, WA and Hells Canyon, The So-Called Deepest Gorge in the US

Clarkston, WA is a dumpy little town. On the other side of the bridge is Lewiston, ID which is nicer but you can tell it used to be really nice, but hasn’t been kept up.

Ralph went on the jet boat tour to Hells Canyon. For some reason, in both our minds, we thought the deepest gorge in the US would look significant…very steep cliff walls with the river flowing thru. But it looks relatively like it does here in Clarkston…wide river walls at a 45′ angle. Dead brown vegetation.

Lots of spiders in and around our tent. If you don’t like spiders, best NOT to camp here.

Heading to Riggins. Decided to book a cabin since the ave temp high will be 104′.

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