Oregon/Washington: 10/18 – 10/21/20

We left Heber City, Utah, and headed north into Idaho. Once again, we stopped in Boise to visit our in-laws and enjoyed a meal while we caught up. Their house was jazzed up for Halloween.

We spent the night at Ambassador RV Park, and got an early start the following morning. Heading west on 84 into Oregon to 201S to 20W, we drove through Juntura (where the time zone changes from MST to PST. Thankfully, there was a street sign to let us know it was happening.

As we continued driving north, you could see Mount Hood in the distance. We drove to Little Sisters (just south) and boon docked off Route 20.

After driving on Route 20 for several hours the following morning, we stopped at a trailhead for the PCT to stretch our legs and take a hike. Unfortunately, it was “Closed Due to Extreme Fire Behavior.”

Beautiful view of Mt. Washington

About an hour later, we drove through the town of Detroit, which was hit hard by the raging wildfires. Many homes were burnt to the ground. It almost looked like a war zone. It was so odd to see a single home standing intact amongst the ruins of so many others. Since I was born and raised on the East Coast, I had never seen such devastation from fire in a town before. I had only seen the aftermath of fire it in the depths of the forests and mountains. I said a prayer for the displaced families.

We continued east and then north into McMinnville. There is free overnight parking at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. We parked the trailer and took a stroll around the grounds. There are four buildings that display artifacts from the Early 1900’s, WWI, WWII, and up to modern times. We passed on going inside the museums and chose to enjoy the sites from outside the building. Below is a view of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, the biggest wooden airplane in the world. It is massive!

If you have young children, this would be a great place to visit. Although the outdoor playground was closed due to Covid19, someday it will open again.

Later that evening, we met more in-laws at Ruddick Wood American Restaurant in Newberg. This is the second time that we were in Oregon, and a bonus to meet up with Aimee and Jay again.

In the morning, we were back out on the road again. Traveling on 47N to 26W, we stopped at Sunset Rest Area. We had not seen rain for over two months. Here we were, back in the wet PNW. We parked and took a walk through the forest on Steam Donkey Trail. Everything was wet and very green…another one of our country’s beauties!

Two hours later, we crossed over the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which crosses over the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington.

About 100 miles north up the coastline, Route 101 hugs the Pacific Ocean once again. There are a few public beaches just off the road with small areas to park your car. We stopped at Beach 2 and took a short walk to the water.

Tall trees with interesting buds
Only a short walk from the street
Looking south
Dramatic image of sun reflecting off the water
Not too sandy
The Pacific Ocean looks much different from the Atlantic Ocean

Less than an hour later, we entered the town of Forks, which is located northwestern section of the Olympic Peninsula. Forks was also the filming location for the teen vampire series, Twilight. We spent the night at Forks 101 RV Park, and in the morning began our last trek from Oregon to Whidbey Island.

Bright and early the next morning, we continued north on 101 until it veered east, running parallel to Washington State’s coastline and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We pulled over at Lake Crescent, and took a short stroll to the water’s edge where we enjoyed the beauty of the day.

We walked the 30 steps back to the truck and Scott discovered that he only had the door remote on his key chain. The key to start the truck had fallen off the ring. Oh boy! Imagine having to look for a black key that has fallen amidst this shoreline. We waded through the shallow water and I “eventually” found the key in the dark, black mud along the shore. Hallelujah!

Looking for keys…which I eventually found not far from where Scott is standing.

After the excitement, we finally made it to Port Townsend Ferry Terminal, which took us across the Admiralty Inlet of the Puget Sound. Whidbey Island, here we come!

Heber City and Antelope Island, UT: 10/11 – 10/18/20

After saying goodbye to Durango, we headed west and then north into Utah. It was pretty cool to see the Delicate Arch on the welcome sign as we crossed the Colorado border. Utah has seven different welcome signs depending on where you enter the state. We have seen four of them.

After eight hours of driving, we arrived in Heber City. Once again, we stayed at Mountain Valley RV Resort. They just completed Phase II of their development by adding 56 additional sites. This is by far the nicest RV Resort we have ever stayed at. We were delighted to learn that they had two Pickle Ball courts on the premises. The last time we stayed here, we hadn’t yet begun playing the game. Now, it has become a favorite of Scott’s and mine. We enjoy the cardio workout and the bouts of laughter it brings to us. It’s also a little easier on the body than tennis.

There were two main reasons that we chose to stay in this area. First, I wanted to see the Great Salt Lake. Secondly, I wanted to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City. In particular, I wanted to listen to the Tabernacle Choir. We had been to Utah on numerous occasions to ski, hike, visit National Parks, and even dine at a restaurant in Salt Lake City. This time, I wanted to do a few atypical things. While hiking in Capitol Reef National Park, we met two hikers from Salt Lake City. They both said we should visit Antelope Island.

It was just over a two-hour drive from our RV Resort to Antelope Island. Once you enter the State Park, it is another seven-mile drive across a narrow causeway to the island.

View of the causeway from Antelope Island
Bridget Bay walkway to beach

There was only one other car in the parking lot, and we could see two people near the water. I REALLY wanted to go swimming in the highly salty water to see how easy it would be to float. Although the sun was shining, it was no longer swimming weather. I did get my feet wet and posed for a photo op. We were both blown away by how beautiful the shot turned out. It was only seconds later that the clouds dissipated and changed the magical moment Scott had just captured.

Bridger Bay – Ladyfinger Campground in the distance

Later that day, we drove into the city. There was plenty of street (paid) parking near Temple Square. We entered the square on West Temple Street and picked up a brochure. None of the buildings were open, but visitors were allowed to walk around the square. Masks were also required beyond the gates. The temple was under construction and a border wall surrounded it. Following the renovation, the public will be invited to an open house before the temple is rededicated. This will be a historic opportunity as the Temple is sacred to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and entrance is only allowed to baptized members of the church.

Looking at the Temple
View from peering over the wall
Construction underway
Picture of planned completion

There are many great hikes to choose from in the area surrounding Heber City. Scott checks out the options, and I typically make the selection. We hadn’t been hiking much so he selected one that would give us some elevation gain, knowing that we could stop whenever we chose to. The drive was less than thirty minutes from Heber City. We hiked 7.88 on Mt. Timpanogos Trail and gained 2,454 feet of elevation.

The first mile of the hike was on a paved trails that crisscrossed up the mountain for an elevation gain of about 600 feet. A lot of hikers stop at this point to enjoy the falls before returning back down the path.

Timpanagos Falls
A closer view reveals the ice

For those of you who wish to continue up, the paved path ends and the trail becomes steeper and mostly comprised of dirt and rocks. We did continue up, but we did not reach the summit. I bailed not too far from it. Sometimes, you are just done for the day.

Gorgeous sunny day
A view of the summit
Let’s keep going!

As I mentioned earlier, there are many good hikes to choose from that are in close proximity of Heber City. A hiker encountered a cougar while walking on a trail in Slate Canyon, which is in Provo and not far from our location. He was able to record six minutes of his terrifying experience on his cell phone which was shared on National News and You Tube. The video is scary and the young man’s language is beeped out at times.

Next stop, Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Durango, CO: 10/6 – 10/11/20

We both love the state of Colorado, and there is a particular draw to the town of Durango. Scott’s daughter is living there. It’s a bonus to get to see her while we play in this area. We stayed at Oasis RV Resort for the second time this year. We were here back in mid-April for almost six weeks while waiting out the impact of Covid-19 and staying put in one area. At that time, we were Oasis’ first and only customer to arrive on their Grand Opening Day of April 17. During our six weeks there, there were a handful of other campers as they were busy renovating a large section of the park. This time, they were more than half full. And, they had been fully booked all summer! We were given the same site as last time. The owners told us that they plan to completely redo this lower section to upgrade these sites like they did the rest of the park. Of course, their Pickle Ball Court was the main draw to stay here. We are totally enjoying this new sport!

We took a long drive on a gravel/dirt road through Aspen Trails in Mancos. It was so wonderful to see the dark, blue sky again – free of smoky haze.

Minor traffic jam

We hiked Centennial Peak Trail to Shark’s Tooth Pass. The hike began at 11,000’ elevation with Shark’s Tooth Peak at 12,462’.

I was not feeling so great today, and my breathing was heavy. We had been at much lower altitude for many months, and I guess I was feeling the effects of it. We ascended 968’ by the time we got to the pass. We sat down and took a rest before I decided to abort our hike to the peak. We hiked 3.27 miles round trip in 3 hours and 24 minutes, which tells you how slow we were moving.

“Autumn” snow higher up
We rested behind a man-made wall to get out of the chilly wind.

On our way home, we stopped the truck and walked across a cow’s pasture to take a few more pictures of the dazzling yellow aspens. I absolutely love to watch these leaves shimmering in the sun beneath a blue background. I don’t like walking through a cow’s pasture. Ewwww. Watch your steps!

Zoom in for proof of cow’s pasture or just focus on the trees.

Our second and last hike before we left this area was with Molly on Saturday, when she didn’t have to work. Why can’t everyone be retired like us? It was “another” beautiful day. This is an easy hike with plenty of switchbacks, offering great views of Durango along the way. We found it to be a great, short cardio work out.

The beginning of Skyline Trail
View at about the halfway mark
View from the peak

Once again, we said goodbye to Molly and Durango. Next stop, Heber City, Utah!

Capitol Reef National Park, UT: 9/30 – 10/1/20

After a short visit in Escalante, we headed north on Hwy 12 to Hwy 24 east to Capitol Reef National Park. .

We had hoped to stay in the national park. Guess what? Yes, the park’s only campground was full. Due to Covid-19, it has become very difficult to find places to camp. There are commercial campgrounds and motels in nearby towns of Torrey, Caineville, and Hanksville. Federal lands are located adjacent to the park. We found a lovely spot off Notom Road. It was quiet, free, and offered a great view. There were only two other campers, one in a tent by the Pleasant Creek and the other in an Airstream about fifty yards away from us.

Below is another view taken from Notom Road. You need to zoom in to see the two campers. The tent camper was down below us in the trees by the stream.

We got settled and headed for the National Park.

“Capital Reef National Park features towering cliffs, massive domes, arches, bridges, and twisting canyons. Over many years, geological forces shaped the earth, creating this rugged, remote area known as the Waterpocket Fold (a barrier of rock that obstructed early travelers like a barrier reef). Erosion creates waterpockets and potholes that collect rainwater and snowmelt, enhancing a rich ecosystem that is found here.”

There are several hikes to choose from that are rated as easy, moderate, or strenuous. There is also an eight-mile scenic drive throughout the park. If you don’t like the to hike or enjoy the hot daytime sun, the Scenic Drive offers breathtaking views along the way. We started out on the road and immediately picked up two female hitchhikers. They wanted a ride to the Grand Wash, and insisted in riding in the bed of the truck as opposed to the back seat. We parked in the lot and took a short .3 mile walk on Cassidy Arch Trail.

It would be nice to come back someday and finish this 3.4 mile round-trip hike. We got back in the truck and continued on Scenic Drive to the end of the paved road. Beyond this point is specifically for foot hikers and 4WD vehicles. We turned around and on the way back stopped at Petroglyph Panel, which is wheelchair accessible. We were able to see some of the ancient drawings from many years ago. Unfortunately, there was new “graffiti” added, too.

Although we were leaving for Moab the next morning, we stopped in the park again to hike Hickman Bridge Trailhead. It was a short hike but well worth the views.

We chose the counterclockwise path.
A view from the other side

Next stop, Arches National Park!

Arches National Park, UT: 10/5 – 10/6/20

We made a return visit to Horsethief Campground, which is about 30 miles outside of the town of Moab. This campground has immediate access to some great mountain bike trails with varying terrains for all levels. There are also trails for 4WD vehicles. We had fun here back in October of 2018 when we first came through this area. We started on Rowdy, which was a fairly easy trail. As I approached a slightly uphill, rocky patch, I decided to stop and consider my options. As I came to a stop, I lost my balance and fell to my left. I couldn’t get off my bike and the pedal left a few puncture marks on my calf. Then, I whipped my head on a rock that was jetting out below me. I never saw it, but the backside of the my head hit it. I could feel my brain get washed back and forth a bit, and I felt disoriented for just a few moments. Five minutes later, I decided to get off the bike and rest. The message here is to PLEASE wear a helmet…it can save a life.

Scott’s bike is placed where I fell to the left and hit that rock.
Bad Rock

Needless to say, Scott went off on his own for a bike ride while I rested and took it easy for the next couple of days. I did have a headache, which eventually dissipated within a few days.

Back in 2018, we tried on a few occasions to get into Arches National Park. “Water and ice, extreme temperatures, and underground salt movement are responsible for the sculptured rock scenery of Arches National Park. The park lies atop an underground salt bed that is responsible for the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths of this Mecca for sightseers.”

The ridiculous line of cars entering the park always deterred our plan. Here we were again two years later, determined to get in without waiting on line.

We woke up early and arrived at the park at 7:00 a.m. To our delight, there were only a few other cars coming into the park at that time. The guard station didn’t open up until 8:00 a.m., so we just drove in. There is only one entrance station to this park which is off Hwy 191 from the southwest and 128 from the east. There is one main road that runs from the Visitor Center to Devils Garden Trailhead, the end of the paved road. We hiked 7.33 miles with 626’ elevation gain in just under four hours. It was busy in some areas and yet we found ourselves alone at some arches. We chose to begin the hike in a “counterclockwise” direction. The beginning of the hike featured soft, sandy terrain until we began climbing rocks. We stopped at eight of the eleven arches for a photo op.

Pine Tree Arch
Tunnel Arch
Lots of soft sand
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch from a higher angle
One of the many “dry” washes
Soft sand trails leading to large boulders
Private Arch
Double O Arch
Partition Arch

Scott walked through the “partition” and took a photo of the view on the other side.

Navajo Arch

The remainder of the hike was filled with boulders to climb down. There was a solo female hiker in front of us and she was carrying something on her back. Zoom in friends.

For some reason, she took off her shoes to navigate the steep decline. I’d imagine it had to be hot on her feet. P.S. – No dogs allowed on trail. This pup wasn’t exactly “on” the trail.

We had to stop for uphill traffic.

That evening, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

The next morning, we got up early again and prepared the rig for departure. Today, we would park the rig in the Visitor’s Parking lot and then drive the truck to Delicate Arch Trail. This is the famous arch that is depicted on some of Utah’s license plates. It is 3-miles, round-trip hike that begins heading uphill on a wide, paved trail. Although we had an early start, this trail was particularly crowded, especially at the arch.

Scott taking another couple’s photo.
Reciprocal Curtesy
Although I look pretty much alone, there are about eighty people sitting on the rocks behind me.
Other friends hanging out up to

Next stop, Durango, Colorado!!!!

Escalante and the Cosmic Ashtray, UT: 9/27 – 9/30/20

We headed southeast on Hwy 14, north on Hwy 89, and then west Hwy 12 past the entrance road to Bryce National Park, which we visited back in the fall of 2018. There was an off trail hike that Scott was interested in, so we spent a few nights boon docking just outside of Escalante.

We drove an hour from our campground along a dirt road to the trailhead for The Volcano/Cosmic Ashtray. It is a nine-mile out and back off trail offering scenic views and is rated as moderate. There is no shade and while the highest elevation gain is only 974’, the cross country hike is up and down and up and around and back up again. Our total elevation gain on this nine mile hike was 1,453’, and it took us just under six hours. Thankfully, there was a breeze most of the time under beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the mid 70’s.

A very sandy desert beginning
Is he always taking my picture???
Happiness is using line of sight coupled with Gaia APP to navigate the route.
“It’s right over there.”
So who calls this large hole home???
One of only a few cairns to show the way.
Making my way down and around to avoid the steep incline. Are we there yet?
Although I am usually out in front, the lack of trail markers made it impossible for me.
Finally, we are at the top of Cosmic Ashtray.
A still photo of the Ashtray. Zoom in to see the people on the other side.
A view from the other side. This is where you can lower down into the ashtray, but you will need a rope.

We saw a jackrabbit on this hike, but we didn’t get a photo. They are just too quick. This is only the second time that we have seen a jackrabbit during our travels. If you have a chance to visit Escalante, you MUST stop at Escalante Outfitters for their pizza. Amazing!! Next stop, Capitol Reef National Park!

Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT: 9/25 – 9/27/20

We were both quite happy to be leaving Nevada and heading towards cooler temperatures. This picture was getting old.

We drove northwest on Interstate Hwy 15 into Arizona. They do have beautiful welcome signs.

It wasn’t long before we crossed over into Utah.

Most states have Watercraft Decontamination Stations shortly after you cross a border. They are mostly concerned with motorboats, but if you have water toys it is smart to stop and get a clearance. We have stopped many times in the past two years, but this was the first time that our toys were given a power wash. This is a free service that is provided as a means to protect the spread of certain species of mussels. They ask you what body of water your craft was in and then, if necessary, clean it for you.

A few hours later, we arrived in Cedar City and then, headed east on Hwy 14 to Hwy 148 to Cedar Breaks National Monument. There is only one 28-site campground in the park and, of course, it was full. It is only open from mid-June to mid-September. We headed back south on Hwy 148 and got back on Hwy 14 east to Navajo Lake. We were very disappointed to find that all the campgrounds on the lake had closed and gated shut for the season. There was an access road to a boat launch, but we needed to find a place to stay for a few nights. We were able to find a beautiful spot (albeit dusty) off Hwy 14.

We took a stroll up the dirt road and looked back at our site.

Autumnal foliage in full force. Lots of yellows and forever greens out west. Missing the bright reds and oranges.

The next day we visited Cedar Breaks National Monument. This park is known for its colorful rock formations, bristlecone pine groves, and seasonal lush wildflower meadows. It was “National Parks Day”, which means free entry. We have the annual park pass so all national parks are free for us.

We hiked approximately four miles round trip from the Visitor Center to Spectra Point to Ramparts Overlook and then back to the Visitor’s Center. It’s all about going down and up and down and up. I wasn’t feeling so great and suddenly began cramping about halfway back. Unfortunately, I will remember this hike and its unpleasantries. The good news is that we took some great pictures.

Checking out the view
Standing by a bristlecone tree
Close up of a bristlecone
Can you spot the window?

The next morning, we took a walk across Hwy 14 from our campground to play on the lava fields.

Next stop, Escalante!

Lake Vegas, NV: 9/21 – 9/25/20

We travelled south on “quiet” Hwy 93 in eastern Nevada where the landscape is mostly barren except for sporadic shrub land and the occasional grouping of windmills. We drove approximately 345 miles in just under 7 hours. We missed the entrance for The RV Park at Circus Circus and had to drive around the block. Check out the old sign.

Our own personal mini Palm Tree to designate our site.

Although we were parked in a parking lot, it was a full hookup. We also had access to the outdoor pool, which was just for the RV Park guests. It was perfect for doing laps, and most of the time we had the pool to ourselves. We also had access to the Casino, which we did walk through to get on the strip. We had no interest in gambling, but I did want to see the inside anyway. Once was enough because it was too dark and stunk of cigarette smoke. How can that possibly be legal?

I chose Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to enjoy some more summer-like weather, and I had never been to Las Vegas before. Well, I was in for a big surprise – triple digit weather numbers! This was not quite what I was hoping for. Yet, we made the most of it. We took a daytime drive down the strip to familiarize ourselves with the area. For you football fans out there, the Raiders moved from LA to Las Vegas, and their debut at their new home, Allegiate Stadium, was tonight’s Monday Night Football game. We saw a flyover of seven fighter jets just before game time.

The Death Star
This city is pretty serious!
I had no idea that we would feel like we were back home!
Notice the mask!

The following morning we took at drive to the Hoover Dam and learned that it was completely closed to all visitors until further notice. So, we took the Lake Mead Parkway (Hwy 564) entrance into Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

“Lake Mead is a man-made lake that lies on the Colorado River, about 24 mi from the Las Vegas Strip, southeast of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. It is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity.” (Wikipedia)

There are several campgrounds (with and without hook ups), picnic areas (some with drinking water, but almost all with restrooms), and some easy and moderate hikes to enjoy. We drove to the Marina and then to Boulder Beach, which is on the western end of the lake. This is where we will launch our kayaks on Thursday.

We drove back to the strip and had lunch in France at Mon Ami Gabi. It sits opposite of The Bellagio Hotel, which is famous for its magnificent fountains. We parked on the rooftop of the Bellagio, and had to walk through the casino to get to the street. Bellagio was much cleaner than Circus Circus. Below is a picture taken on the ground floor near the lobby.

Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant
Thanks for the recommendation, Joan! The Warm Chicken and Brie Sandwich was delicious!
This was our “free” dessert offered via their website. If you visit, be sure to check online for various deals at restaurants.
Standing outside the Bellagio. The fountains were not on.

In case I never get to Paris, France, this picture of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower will have to do. The fountains were not running, and we learned that they don’t go on until 3 p.m. We plan to drive by the night of my birthday. I must see them!

The next day the temperature hit 104 degrees! Even though they have low humidity, it was way too hot. Both Scott and I were taking daily swims in the pool as the water was very cool and refreshing. I am not quite sure how they do that, but I’m am glad they did. Besides swimming, it was a day to stay inside enjoying the A/C. I am happy to say that it works very well in our fifth wheel.

Thursday, September 24: My birthday!! My special day began with a drive to Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, kayak and paddle board in tow.

Birthday gift from my sister, Terry. Thanks!

Scott parked at the water’s edge and set up a tarp to block out some sun.

The air temperature was already at three digits, but the water was delightfully refreshing. The views were great, too.

It took us just over two hours to get to the dam. We took turns alternating kayak and paddle board. Scott was on the board when we finally made it to the dam. You can see how low the water level is by looking at the white section on the surrounding rocks.

My calm, cool, and collective husband loving his paddle board.
Somehow, the waves kicked up a bit when I got on the paddle board.

I was able to get my wish to see the Hoover Dam. Hopefully, we can come back here again some day and take the tour. I hear it is pretty amazing. It took us another two-plus hours of rowing and paddling to get back to the truck. The air temperature was over 100. We took a swim, rested for a bit, and then headed to I AM THAI CUISINE for lunch. Before my birthday, I had reached out on FaceBook asking for restaurant recommendations. There were quite a few, so we had to do some choosing. Because we had a dinner reservation in a few hours, we ordered some appetizers on line to hold us over since we had skipped lunch. When we arrived at the restaurant, our order wasn’t quite ready. Therefore, I was forced to enjoy a cold glass of white wine while we waited. Later, we enjoyed the best spaghetti “Agio E Olio” and meatballs on the planet at Ferraro’s.

Pre-dinner cocktails with our friendly Italian bartender.
Perfectly elegant dinner!

After dinner, Scott drove down the strip again. It was already dark outside, but the lights of the city were everywhere. I took nine small video clips while narrating the sights. I couldn’t possibly bore any of you by posting them. Let’s just say that I was truly enjoying myself, singing “New York, New York” as we passed by. You can only imagine. Below are two nighttime photos of Circus Circus. Cute.

For those of you wondering what the fountain lights at The Bellagio Hotel look like, here is a photo from the internet. Bummer that we missed this in person.

Next stop, Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada: 9/18 – 9/21/20

Great Basin National Park, “a vast region of sagebrush-covered valleys and narrow mountain ranges named for its lack of drainage”, is located in the central eastern section of the state. “It’s streams and rivers mostly find no outlet to the sea, and water collects in shallow salt lakes, marshes, and mud flats to evaporate in dry desert air.” When we arrived at the park, one campground was closed and the other two were full.

This is becoming the norm as of late. Just outside of the park is the very small town of Baker. We were able to find a “full hook up” site in the parking lot of the only gas station in town. Kerouac’s Restaurant owns the only motel in town, StarGazer Inn, as well as the parking lot which has six full hookup sites.

The next day, we left Baker at 5,318 elevation and drove into Great Basin National Park to the Bristlecone-Alpine Lake trailhead. The hike begins at 10,000’ elevation. A lot of this trail was rocky.

You can see Rock Glacier in the distance.

We turned around and took the loop for the Bristlecone trees that we passed on the way. It is said that many of these gnarled trees date to more than 3,000 years old, alive since before the days of the Roman Empire, Cleopatra, or Alexander the Great. Their branches look like bristles on a brush.

Scott asked me to pose in front of it.

The trail continued to Lake Teresa and then Lake Stella. In all, we hiked 6.96 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,367’.

Lake Teresa was pretty dried up.
Lake Stella was a bit more bountiful.

For those afraid of heights, you can drive on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive for some great views of Wheeler Peak. As hikers, we chose to take the fun way up. We hiked 8.7 miles to the peak at 13,063’ in six hours and 40 minutes, with a total elevation gain of 2,821’. The majority of the trail is rocky.

View of Lake Stella
10:00 a.m. A half hour into hike. We are still in shorts and a light jacket.
10:48 a.m. At this point, I was going to quit. I was tired and the trail was getting steeper and the air colder. Scott put pants, gloves and a hat on.

11:05 a.m. The wind is howling. Time to put more clothes on. I don’t really want to continue.
We made it! There was a register to sign in, along with the sign I am holding.
I ran across the ridge to the other side. Scott is on the high point waving to me. Zoom in.

I am glad that I made it to the summit. There is something very rewarding when you make it through a grueling hike. And, I am really happy when hiking back down! Next stop, Las Vegas baby!

Selway River Corridor, ID: 9/9 – 9/14/20

We left Glacier NP and headed back south on Hwy 93 towards Missoula again.  After dry camping, we needed to refresh the tanks and get some laundry done.  Jim and Mary’s RV Park was full, so we spent the night at Jellystone Campground located just across the street.  Jellystone is a chain that caters to families with kids, and was not aesthetically beautiful like Jim and Mary’s.  If you have the time, click the link to Jim and Mary’s RV Park. The flower arrangements are beautiful. I’ve never seen a RV Park look so pretty. It is one of a kind.

We stayed here for one night on our way to Big Sky. This is not our rig. It was one of my favorite statues.

The next morning, we packed up and continued on Hwy 93 to Hwy 12 south and then west into Idaho. I almost didn’t notice the time zone sign. Cell phones will automatically reset, but battery operated and car clocks do not. It tends to get confusing, especially when traveling in and out of some of the western sates.

We were meeting Scott’s sister and her husband at O’Hara Campground in Nez Perce National Forest located in the Selway River Corridor.  

National Forest Land campgrounds typically charge from $5 – $20 per night.  While there are no hookups, this location had fresh water.  Of the 12 Federal Campgrounds located along the Selway River and Route 12, O’Hara is the only campground with fresh drinking water. There are 32 campsites.  Some sites can be reserved online and some are FF (first come, first serve).   Our site, #3, was reserved in advance, but is wasn’t along the river.  The riverfront sites had man-made swimming holes made of larger rocks.  There are also several “sand bars” of undeveloped beaches.  I was amazed at how white the sand was in some areas.  

Shelley and Jack arrived late Thursday night.  On Friday, we took a ride up route 12 along the Selway River to Selway Falls.  This point down to Lowell provides a 29-mile float trip.  Permits for floating, canoeing or kayaking are not required below Selway Falls, but are required for above it.  Although day temperatures were in the 70’s, we didn’t actually take the toys on the water.  We talked about it…but it never materialized.  The water was a tad chilly.  This seems to be a pattern with northwestern waters.

On Saturday morning, Scott and I were a part of a “virtual” ride to support finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.  Due to Covid, the annual New England ride in Maine took place in multiple locations.  We were happy to represent Idaho. This was our first ride with team, Do Good Marketing.  If virtual rides are a part of the future, we hope to be able to join in again.  

Getting ready to go.

After our ride, Jack drove us in his FJ to Lookout Butte Fire Tower. 

The tower can be rented for $40/night for campers who like high places in the wilderness.  That means you get to camp on the ground surrounding the tower, or you can walk up the five flights to the top. Would you consider sleeping in here overnight??

From atop this wooden, glass walls tower, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of four states – Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana at an elevation of 5,869 feet. Unfortunately, the view was impeded with haze from the surrounding forest fires.

We really enjoyed each others’ company and just hanging around the fire sharing stories from the early days.  Tess, their English Setter, entertained us with her playful disposition scouting out the squirrels and even a skunk one night!

Last year, Tess’ nine pups entertained us!

We left the next morning and headed west towards Boise to visit more family. We got stuck in traffic due to a rock slide. I got out of the truck to get a closer look at what was going on. What a mess.