Hells Canyon is beautiful- so we were told

Trip Start Jun 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Saturday, June 26, 2010

We were all excited. (Except Grace who just wanted to watch movies and sleep).  Hells Canyon.  We were finally going to see something other than the road.  With Co-pilot on (GPS for IPhone), maps, etc., we were ready. 

Co-Pilot kept telling me to get off the thruway at EVERY exit.  We were ignoring it, because I wanted to take the Scenic Hwy #86 and it wasn't directing us there.  We shut him off.  Probably a dumb move.  Other than not being able to get a GPS signal for a gas station in Salt Lake, He's done us well.

We missed the exit for Hwy #86, because I think it was marked Hwy 9, which wasn't on my map.  So, we kept driving thinking it would show up.  When I finally figured that we really missed it, I decided to take Hwy #82 Scenic Route, which was the way we were planning to leave the Canyon from.

Hwy #82 was breathtaking.  The pictures we took do not show it justice, as do all the pictures I'm looking through that we took.  The Hwy swept through and around and up and down the mountains, mostly in the bottom valleys.  On both sides, the mountains were at the roadside or we were at the top, driving nearly over the edge.  I actually got dizzy in a couple parts!

We came upon a wonderful little town called "Joseph", named after the Nez Pierce Indian Chief.  It looked like pictures I've seen of Vail, Colorado - the backdrop a gorgeous mountain view.  We noted that we must come back and check it out.  Then, as we drove out of town and rounded the curved road, we spotted an even more breathtaking view of Wallawa State park and it's lake- also surrounded by mountains.  We cried thinking that when I was looking for places near Hells Canyon to stay during my trip planning that I didn't know about this place.  We agreed that if life takes us back to Oregon some day, we must come back here and stay.

At this point, we lost Hwy #82.  I drove back and forth looking for it, to no avail.  I finally asked a woman for help.  She told me that Hells Canyon was about 3 hours from our location and that portions of Hwy #86 (our original destination) were washed out last week and it was not driveable.

We had a group meeting and decided that since we still had to drive 5 hours to Cascade Locks (outside of Portland) that we were going to have to skip Hells Canyon.  I was not interested in trying the back roads that the woman told me to take.  We are sad that we missed it, but all agreed that the Scenic Hwy #82 was spectacular and worth the drive we took.  Besides, we know that we have many things ahead of us to see!

Tomorrow, we will finally start slowing down and start taking in the sights--Mt. Hood and Portland.  Then, off to Astoria (The Goonies was filmed here) where we begin a drive down the West Coast of Oregon and get to see the Pacific Ocean!

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