New camper, new sights.

September 7, 2009

Having finally finished going over our new camper, it was time to test it out. We had relatives in Eugene and an old friend not seen for 35 years in the outback's of Idaho, so we planned our trip around these destinations. It took some weeks to search out new sights and a few old ones worth revisiting as we had already seen so much of our northern neighbors. Mt. Hood is one, an often seen and overlooked sights from highway 5. It has a lot of trails and well worth the visit, if you're not too far away. Nice little free tours are available of the rustic Timberline Lodge built by the WPA in the 1930's. Just north is the Columbia River area. Unless you're local, the Columbia is mostly a byway to the Eastern towns of Washington and Oregon. We discovered a whole series of well developed waterfall hikes along the gorges that feed this great river canyon. Many of them are close to the Bonneville Dam, another interesting sight well worth a detour. While Mt. Rainier in Washington has hundreds of trails, two of the remarkable ones we took on this trip were the four mile hike around Reflection Lake, and the Naches Peak near Chinook pass on the Eastern side of the park. It's amazing alpine meadow and mountain vistas left us ah... breathless. Heading East, Palouse Falls just north of 'Starbuck' is a rare oasis like canyon park you seldom hear about that might be more at home in the Escalante areas of Utah. The last area of surprise was Shoshone Falls, in Twin Falls Idaho. It's knows as the "Niagara of the West", and we could see why. Early settlers would detour to see them just from hearing the distant roar. Best part of the trip, most if not all these sights were free, with only a cheap park entrance fee.