Thursday, July 30, 2020

Snake River
Last Sunday we crossed another sightseeing trip off our list, we finally made it to the Snake River! 
This river doesn't have many access points but Pittsburg Landing, fairly close to us, is one of them.


After crossing the Salmon River at White Bird, a scenic, graveled but well maintained, year-round mountain road, leads you to the top of the mountain ridge that stands between the two rivers ..

My little guide book mentioned that deer are plentiful in this area, and indeed it wasn't long before we came across this doe and her fawn (my first, this year) ..


And a little further up the road this small herd of two does and their babies ..

So pretty! And very cute of course ..

After about 10 miles you reach Pittsburg 'Saddle', where you have a great view of the road winding it's way down through the Hell's Canyon Recreation Area.


Those mountains in the distance are on the other side of the river in Oregon!
The road descending to Pittsburg Landing from here is narrow and very winding above, you want keep your eye on the road!


Finally, after about 7 more miles, you'll reach the  river where you can choose between two different 'landings'.

The Upper one, where we went first, is the starting point for several hiking trails and has some picnic benches and a toilet. 
We made our way down, to the river's edge, to have our first cup of coffee.


We were the only ones there, it was so beautiful, cool and peaceful and .. quiet!
Not only had we picked a gorgeous day again for this outing, and because we'd left early the temperature was still very comfortable, but because the corona-virus and the rock-slide tourism is way down .. just the way we like it!

After a while we took a short trail a little down the road, where interpretive signs lead you by several Indian petroglyphs.

These are reminders of the Nez Perce Indians, who occupied this area long before any white man traveled through here.
The petroglyphs are hard to see these days, since they faded over the 2000 years that they've been here (that, and vandalism!), but the grindstone is still very visible ..

This scenery, inland of the river, reminded us a little of the scenes of Africa, which we had just seen in the movie 'Tarzan' we'd watched a couple of days ago ..


This is looking downstream the river towards the 'lower' landing:

The lower landing, with it's boat-ramp, is used as a put-in and take-out point by several river boat outfitters who offer Snake River cruises, as well as by many individual boaters.

We climbed on a rocky outcropping near the ramp to have lunch, and watched the comings and goings of several boats and floats ..

Off course we had to 'test the waters' ourselves! 
The rocks were very slippery, but the water was actually not that cold.

Showing off our new handy-dandy zipp-off pants!

So far for another fine day in this beautiful state!

On Saturday, after golf, we got some coffee to go at Crema, and drove over to the park at the end of town to check out the Saturday's Farmer's Market, somewhere we've been thinking of going but never did .. so far.

There was life music!
And .. gasp .. a yarn booth! This (toothless) lady about talked our heads off, while demonstrating her beautiful Strauch carder. 
A gadget I'm coveting, but could never afford (this one is about $700).
(There are cheaper ones, somewhere around $200-$300 .. hmm, that might actually be in my grasp right now!)

There were a handful of vegetable, flower and berry booths ..


And a few more crafty people, selling their handmade wooden signs and all kind of crocheted 'stuff' ..

It was about the smallest farmers market we've ever seen, but it was at least nice to sit in the shade under the huge cottonwood trees, and enjoy our coffee and pastries.

The fruit at our place just keeps on coming, there's tons of wild plums now and the first blackberries are ripening!


I've already picked enough for several days of cereal toppings and
I see pies, cobblers and muffins in our near future!

There's not much visible progress at the job site, the guys are battling the morning dew and than the heat of the afternoon, when it's too slippery or too hot to be on the roof.
Fortunately there's also still loads of siding to be done, so they can switch to that. It's just a very, very slow process.

Derrick has finished the front side of the house and is now working on the chimney ..
(We did pass our fire inspection today by the way, so only the final is left. Yahoo!)

The drywaller's are finally done prepping (after many failed attempts), and are going to finish texturing on Saturday.
We'll be getting there ... I doubt we'll be done by the 'dead-line' we set for our selves (Oct 1st) but I guess we'll get it done, sooner or later ..

As I mentioned, the weather has been really hot lately, temperatures are now approaching the triple digits! 
Evenings are still warm and the nights are not cooling down much either.
It's almost too warm to have dinner outside, but every now and than it's just comfortable enough to do so ..

Tri-tip with 'patat'. Merl approves!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Seven Devils Mountains

Summer has finally stopped being mild and comfortable, for me at least, and the temperatures have been up into the low 90s this week!
Perfect weather though to tackle another 'must see' outing from our sight-seeing list.
Sunday morning dawned sunny and clear, so we decided to drive up into the Hell's Canyon Recreation and Wildlife Area to visit 'heaven', 'hell', as well as some 'devils', while we were at it ...

The narrow road up the mountain starts asphalted and leads through beautiful pine forest, until you reached the higher elevations where trees make way for mountain meadows and the road has become a dirt-road full of potholes ..

The last 2 miles are very narrow and rocky ..

Eventually you reach the parking lot of the Heavens Gate Lookout :


From here it's a short, 0.2 miles, scenic trail to the lookout.

We even came across some late snow ..


This high up the snow has only just melted, and the wildflowers were just starting to flower ..


We saw some Marmots, enjoying the sunshine after a winter hibernating underground ..


Finally you arrive at Heavens Gate lookout at 8,429 feet, where you have an incredible 360 view of the surrounding mountains ..


You're only 2 miles away from the Seven Devils Mountains, so named after an Indian legend of a man who, when lost and delirious, apparently encountered seven devils up here ..

This plaque tells you about the legend and points and names all 'seven devils' ..

You can see entirely across the state of Idaho to Montana's Bitterroot Mountains, as well as to the states of Oregon and Washington.




You can't see the Snake River down below but you can see much of the canyon which drops over 7,200 feet, making it the deepest canyon in North America.

We sat down for a while to have some coffee, and a piece of blueberry-apricot pie, enjoying the cool temperatures (49F!) and take it all in .. 

A wildfire in 2008 left behind the charred remains of pine trees and left a lot of open space. Always a loss of beautiful nature, but good for views .. 


Pioneers came through these canyons and declared them 'devils work', and you have to wander how they did it ..
We of course took the truck,

                                             but some try the old ways ..


When we made it back to town (Riggins), we thought it fitting to finish our outing with a nice lunch at the Seven Devils Steakhouse and Saloon:


We love their Tri-tip sandwich 'aux-jus', served with (fried) onion 'petals'!

Because of the high temperatures I'm hiking even earlier these days. I'm trying to be out of the canyon when the sun hits it, because beautiful as it is .. it also gets warm fast!

For some weird reason we're seeing all these deer at the moment?
After months of  'no-show' I see one almost every morning .. oh wait .. it might be because I'm up earlier .. duhh!
The bucks of course have nice velvet antlers at the moment:

I even had this little doe come by the RV at mid-day .. no early day for her!

See those flowers? They're Mountain Sunflowers and I have my own cutting-patch here right in front of the old house:

Beats having to buy them!

And while the apricots are only just off the tree, now the wild plums are starting to ripen in several sunny places:

Since I'm up early and have breakfast after I come back, I munch my way through my hike picking the ripest ones in passing, and popping them in my mouth like candy. 
Nothing beats ripe fruit straight from the tree!


I will have to do something with them though, maybe freeze a bunch .. plum-pudding/sugar plums for Christmas?


I baked muffins with the last of the apricots, added some shredded coconut .. pretty good!

As far as the house goes, things are progressing, although a little slowly. 
Besides having Austin for only half a week we lost another guy, Jonathan, due to health problems, so James is left with a small team to finish the big jobs of roofing and siding .. oh, well ..



They're starting at 6 am right now to beat the heat, but these 90+ temperatures still take a lot out of you ..

Cooling off in the bedroom under the fan and the AC!

We've just heard that Ronnie (and his son Hunter and grand-son Ryder) will be here 2 weeks early, on the 31st of July!
They're bringing cabinets and counter tops that they're also going to install, which means that all of a sudden the walls (at least in those areas) need to be painted.
Fortunately the drywall is almost done, and some of the texture is on, so it's almost ready but still ..
.. it's going to be a busy week!