Heading to Hell's Canyon! Sounds Delightful!

Hell's Canyon Travel Blog

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My First Cross Into Idaho! And Yes, I Guess Technically We Did Park on the Bridge...


Unfortunately, in the past few months, I have neglected my 50 state project and decided it was time to get back into action.  My friend Angie and I agreed to keep it close to Oregon as I was in town visiting friends and family.  It had been crazy in the northwest region of the country due to ridiculous amounts of rainfall, more than usual.  We tossed the idea around of driving to Reno and then back through California, but soon realized that there is nothing to do in Northern Nevada.  So, we decided to brave the elements and take a road trip through Idaho and Montana!  Oh yeah!

 

Being the crazy go getter I am, I flew in on Sunday night at around midnight and was in bed at Angie’s house by 2:00AM, set the clock for 5:30AM  to leave by 6:00AM.

Hell's Canyon
  It seemed like a good idea on paper, until I actually had to get up.  I had to look at it this way; I was going to Idaho and Montana!  Woo hoo!

 

We had pretty much plotted our trip the week before though a few things were still up in the air.  But we knew that our first night we would be staying in Baker City, Oregon as a home base and the off to see Hell’s Canyon which borders Oregon and Idaho.  So we hopped in the car and we were off.  It rained for the first two hours, but by the time we stopped for coffee it had cleared up making us happy people.  In fact, it was the first sunshine Angie had seen in a month.

 

We ended up getting to Baker City at around noonish and our room at the hotel, The Bridge Street Motel, was cleaned early.  At first glance the hotel is a little strange as there is a screen door that takes you down a hallway to your room.  The screen door is open all night which was a little unnerving for someone living in NYC.

No Cars Anywhere! Hitchhiking in Most of Idaho is Illegal, Luckily Angie Picked Me Up! So Bad Ass!
  The rooms were fine, though the décor is a little outdated, ah well.  No biggie.  It served it purpose and was clean.  Though the walls are very thin and you could hear everything in the room next to you.  I mean EVERYTHING!

 

After leaving our non valuables in the room, we grabbed a tourist map and got back into the car.  To our horror, we both realized that we were two hours away from Hell’s Canyon.  For some reason while doing our research, we both thought Baker City was the closest major city to Hell’s Canyon.  Well, this was not true when we checked the map.  We were both a little peeved as this added 4 hours to our trip which would have given us more time in Idaho or Montana.  Not cool!  Still we tried to put on a happy face, after all, we were there for a road trip with plenty of fun and nature, so in the end, who cares, right?

 

The trip was pretty uneventful until we entered a small town and realized we were almost out of gas.

Driving to the Top of the Canyon
  We looked for a gas station but it was old and appeared to be closed down for good.  We pulled over to a café and asked where the gas station was.  We were told it was the one we passed and it was closed on Mondays but the next town was 14 miles away and there we could get gas.  Fantastic, but we didn’t have enough gas to get there.  The woman was so nice and called some of her friends to help us out but nobody was answering.  Her suggestions?  Knock on doors and ask for help. 

 

Okay, we could do this.  So we stopped at a boat and car mechanic shop first as that made the most sense.  They agreed to sell us a gallon to get us over the hill.  Sounded good to us!  The guy was pretty cool, he siphoned it and even gave us his work and cell phone number in case we didn’t make it to the next town.  Who does that?!?  So after hitting Half, Oregon and filling up, we were on our way again, but watching the gas tank a little closer.  To be fair we had only gotten 3 hours of sleep!

 

After the two hour drive, we finally found ourselves in the canyon.

Still Water Reflections
  Hell’s Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North American and purely awesome!  One thing to note, at times we would be so struck by the scenery that we would pull over and stand in the middle of the road to take photos.  The odd thing was that 5-10 minutes would pass and not one car would pass.  Whoa!  I don’t recommend it, but it was pretty trippy!

 

The canyon is incredible!  The water is so still and calm that you could see the complete reflection of the canyon and trees on the water which was a really cool experience though the photos don’t quite capture this experience.  The canyon was absolutely amazing and deserted, though the higher up we went the more people there were.  There were also many people on the opposite side of the canyon who were camping out.  Sounds cool, but I am a little creeped out by camping as I have seen way too many horror movies and I know how things turn out.

 

You can only drive through the canyon to a certain point before you hit a small gravel road that goes to nowhere.  Pretty much it is encouraged to go to the dam and then move on with your day.

Well, Look at That! More Rain!
  There is a ladder that leads you down closer to the dam, but Angie and I passed, the steps looked shady and there is a plaque warning people to stay on the man made course as someone had died there from getting too curious.  Good enough for me, it was time to move on!

 

If you are anywhere near Hell’s Canyon, go!  There is plenty to do if you like camping, fishing and boating.  The drive was a little windy and needs to be taken slowly especially if it is raining.  I freaked out a few times, but that is because I was in the passenger seat facing the drop off into the water which I have a slight phobia of.   

 

After Hell’s Canyon, we decided to head back to Baker City as were excited to get some sleep.  The drive was relaxing and very scenic.  We even drove past a thunderstorm and could see the lightening flashing in the distance making a group of horses in the field run in the opposite direction.  Again, Awesome!  But not as awesome as the dance of the Oregon Trail.  Right near Baker City you will find a monument to the Oregon Trail, now maybe it is not the most amazing monument, but I dare you to resist busting a move when you get a picture by it.

Dance of the Oregon Trail
  Maybe I had just been sitting on my butt for way too long!  Still it was another added notch to a fun day!

 

Back in Baker City we soon realized there was not much to do.  So we drove around a while and eventually ran into the state penitentiary.  That was a big surprise, but we did note that they had an incredible view of the snowy mountains in the distance.  Sure beats Rikers, not that I know from experience.    There also was a bowling alley, but we weren’t feeling it, so we headed to dinner at Paizano's Pizza which had gotten good reviews online.  The customer service was great and the pizza was pretty good, though the Thai Shrimp half was a bit sweet for my tastes, but still unique and worth trying. 

 

After dinner we called it a night and headed back to the hotel for a quick game of Scrabble (there was nothing else to do).  Tomorrow we would be heading into Idaho once again in search of the infamous Sweet Willy!



binky says:
Thanks, I appreciate it! :)
Posted on: Jun 30, 2010
abhi_Dreamer says:
good pics..and definitely intrigued by ur 50 states visit idea....nicely written...
Posted on: Jun 30, 2010
binky says:
Thank you! It was very unexpected! And only 28 to go...
Posted on: Jun 29, 2010
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My First Cross Into Idaho!  And Ye…
My First Cross Into Idaho! And Y…
The Motel in Baker City
The Motel in Baker City
Hells Canyon, So Cheery Sounding!
Hell's Canyon, So Cheery Sounding!
Hells Canyon
Hell's Canyon
No Cars Anywhere!  Hitchhiking in …
No Cars Anywhere! Hitchhiking in…
Driving to the Top of the Canyon
Driving to the Top of the Canyon
Still Water Reflections
Still Water Reflections
Well, Look at That!  More Rain!
Well, Look at That! More Rain!
Dance of the Oregon Trail
Dance of the Oregon Trail
The Dam at Hells Canyon.
The Dam at Hells Canyon.
The Drop Off View From My Seat!!!
The Drop Off View From My Seat!!!
Hells Canyon
Hell's Canyon
Hell's Canyon
photo by: binky