(nr Homestead OR)
The Snake River in Hells Canyon was calling. I had heard that America’s deepest river gorge was spectacular. So, I rushed to see it because the road into the forest was closing for construction.
The view to see was supposed to be at Hells Canyon Dam. It was late in the evening, so I worried about the light. The Snake River was supposed to be wild in the canyon. However, someone forgot to tell me that the rapids were well below the dam.
A one lane road went across the dam, and then down a steep slope before wandering along the river; I stopped short. If I continued, I would not make the forest before dark. I decided to turn around, since there was supposed to be a fantastic view from the top.
Three days boondocking near Hells Canyon Overlook didn’t get me the photos I wanted. After a little research, I discovered that the best view into the canyon was at a different viewpoint. It was 15 miles on a steep and narrow gravel road meant for 4-wheel drives… Foiled again!
However, I did get to see the Imnaha River on my way to the next boondock camp. It was nice; but, Big Sheep Creek was more exciting.
Went into Joseph, a nice artsy town with galleries, a foundry and a monument to Chief Joseph. Had lunch at a local grill and shared stories with another full-timer who had the vagabond spirit. Then back into the mountains for some more camping.
Spent a few more days boondocking in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Then visited Wallowa Lake, with the mountains behind it, and Iwetemlaykin, a former camping area of the Nez Perce.
I dry camped near the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers. A small state campground next to the Wallowa River was nothing special, and was too expensive for my taste. Hiking into the forest and down river found me some decent photos.
(nr Elgin OR)
Spent several days hiding out in the Umatilla National Forest, and trying to avoid the Independence Day holiday crowds. A very successful strategy as I saw noone the entire time. And, the only sounds were the birds singing.
Camps: Boondock Wallowa-Whitman NF, Minam SRA, Umatilla NF
Scene: Canyon, mountains, lake, rivers, creeks, forest