Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in north America at just shy of 8,000 feet at its deepest point. It was carved by the Snake River and runs through Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Trail and I decided to check it out from the Buckhorn Viewpoint just inside of the Oregon border with Idaho. Unlike many of our trips, this one was chosen on impulse. We were staying near where we were going to have our RV serviced rather than to visit a national park. Mostly we spent the week writing and getting the trailer ready but I felt we needed to get at least one outdoor trim in while we were there.
Unlike many of our trips, this one was chosen on impulse. We were staying near where we were going to have our RV serviced rather than to visit a national park. Mostly we spent the week writing and getting the trailer ready but I felt we needed to get at least one outdoor trim in while we were there. A good rule of thumb while traveling is to take advantage of whatever you happen to be and see at least one thing it has to offer a traveler.
We were expecting a nice view of the canyon and it’s rocky cliffs, and indeed there was. What we were not expecting was the riot of wildflowers covering the viewpoint and the road leading up to it. We got our first taste on the drive up to the viewpoint as we passed areas dominated by one or two species giving each a unique dominant color. Where we could we stopped to marvel at the flowers and take a closer look.
Upon arriving at the viewpoint we both grinned as the whole area was blanketed with not only those we’d seen on the way up but many more, all in abundance and competing for the sunny perch. The field of flowers was alive with the sound of bees taking full advantage of the nectar feast put before them. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and other nectar feeders were also present in good numbers.The whole scene had a magical fairy-land feeling.
We stuck to the marked trails so as not to damage any of the plants and very slowly wound our way about the natural garden taking time to get familiar with all the flowers and the critters visiting them. Of course, we also took in the grand picture, the colorful flowers giving way to pine spattered rolling hills and far below sharp canyon walls. It is truly a beautiful place and a wonderful contrast to the spectacular desert wonderlands we’d been traveling through for the prior months.
After a picnic lunch among the flowers and having exhausted the few, short trails in the area, we headed back home to our Airstream with many pictures and rich memories yet one more surprise awaited us. Trail heard a strange noise as we drove through the lowlands. We turned down the music, stopped the truck, and rolled down the window. The air was thrumming with the sound of cicadas. We’d heard a few now and again in Wyoming and Idaho but this was a real swarm of them camped by the river. We were enveloped by the hypnotic sound that seemed to come from everywhere around us.
I decided I had to try and get a picture of one. Because the brush was thick and on the steep bank of a river it took me a few minutes to locate one I could get close enough to take a good picture. Believe it or not, it was the first I’d ever seen live in the wild.