Blogger catch up! Wed/Thurs - June 12/13
Hard to beat Wallowa Valley in Eastern Oregon, but we continued north - down a winding road and up again - not much in overall distance, but quite a drive. We picked another fine out-of-the-way campground called Fields Spring St Pk, at 4000' in the lovely blue mountains of SE Washington. Only one other couple was camped here. Its claim to fame is being able to see three states from Puffer Butte overlook, so we set off on the one-mile steep trail thru dense forest to see if that's true. At the top (4550'), was a surprise: Puffer Butte ski shelter - everything you could want to get out of winter cold. Beyond the shelter is a spectacular canyon scene; we could see for miles and miles! Puffer Butte looks over Grande Ronde River Gorge, south to the high Wallowa Mtns of Oregon, east to Idaho’s Craig Mtns and west to Washington Blue Mtns, plus the northern end of Hells Canyon. Yup, their claim is true: Breathtaking three-state views. Great wildflower displays, too. Nice place to camp if you don't need hookups.
Tergel and Smartie nestled in amongst the tall trees. 41F Thurs morning!
Very nice Puffer Butte ski shelter (and Jimmy).
Elusive Mountain lady slipper (Orchid family) - something to see!
Jimmy (deciphering a trail guide) and one terrific view at Puffer Butte overlook. Wonderful place.
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We were in no hurry the next morning (Thurs) to drive the short distance down the sage covered hills to Hells Gate St Pk in Lewiston, Idaho, just across the Snake River. We stayed here once before a few years ago and enjoyed it. This time we were dismayed at the cost. Basic one nite price for FHU was $22. Plus $5 for each vehicle ($5 RV and $5 toad if it was disconnected) EACH DAY. We left Smartie attached and used a pull-thru site, so our cost for one one was $28.43, tax included. If we'd disconnected Smartie, add another $5/per day. We'd sorta planned on staying the whole wkend, but decided one nite was enough! State parks everywhere are having a rough go of it, cost-wise, but they're pricing a lot of people out of their parks. In fact, we saw many empty sites.
Two brief showers fell - one while we were eating lunch, the other while we ate dinner. Good timing! Between showers and meals, we enjoyed a nice bike ride on the sinuous Snake River bike trail.
Afternoon delight: Coffee and a book at the picnic table next to the Snake!
Really great bike trail alongside the river. Clarkston, Washington on the left. Lewiston, Idaho on the right where we are. You know, Clark and Lewis... Lewis and Clark...!
Bird? You see a bird? In the willows next to the river.
So, this meant finding a place to stay on the weekend, not something we relish. We decided to head out in the morning on Hwy 12, east toward Montana. Our route showed several Forest Service camps (no hookups) and we hoped to find a space in one of them!