Day 13- Twin Falls, ID- La Grande, OR * Day 14- La Grande, OR - Carson, WA
Here we are at the two week mark with 4 more to go. The adventure at this point has tapped into me spiritually. I’ve seen my fair of our nation in my lifetime, but never have I seen so much of it over such a short span of time. Even on our tours with the NIA, we would generally stay within a certain region during our tours, so the terrain would stay more or less the same. I’m typing this as I’m looking at my trip odometer sitting at 3,600 miles. We’ve seen high plains, canyons, snow capped mountains, desert, evergreen forest- am I missing anything? It’s amazing how many different landscapes you can take in over the course of a couple days.
We woke up in Twin Falls excited to see, well, Twin Falls. The town of Twin Falls has a very retro vibe to it boasting oversized flashing neon motel signs reminiscent of a time long gone. We stopped for coffee and , you guessed it, breakfast burritos. We ate in the car as we navigated through town headed towards the falls. Out of nowhere appears a massive canyon. We inched toward a booth where a young man was collecting $5 for entry to the area. We paid and drove down a winding steep grade that ultimately revealed the most powerful waterfall I have ever seen. Maggie and I both simultaneously exclaimed, “Holy Shit!” We pulled in to the closest RV parking spot and got out to explore.
Before heading up to the main lookout point, which seemed to be crowded, we walked along the eastern edge which revealed a beautiful rainbow over the Snake River, spanning from the falls on the Shoshone side to the park on the Twin Falls side. Speechless. We laughed at its beauty because it was the only way we knew how to express our emotions at the time. We then strolled down the boat launch where August did what he does best- read historical plaques. He read aloud the story of the falls and the man who claimed squatters rights on the land beside it, who was responsible for making it a popular tourist destination. I’ll let you research that for yourselves.
Me made our way back up the main lookout points where we realized the emotions we had initially felt on the eastern rim were no match for ones we were now processing. Steep Canyon, Snake River, powerful waterfalls, now double rainbows, blue skies- this is something I would imagine I would only see on tv or maybe a postcard if I were lucky enough to have a friend visit such and amazing destination.
We were in no hurry to go anywhere. I turned silent as I took in the beauty. August found some other plaques to read. It was one of those “be here now” moments that seem few and far between in our fast paced world. It’s nice to stop and take a deep breath and just be, wherever you may be. This will prove to be a pivotal point in our journey, at least for me. We’ve been going from place to place so quickly. Even though we have been enjoying our stops and what they have to offer, the next drive was never far from my mind. That changed here.
The drive from Twin Falls to La Grande was easy. Again, we enjoyed watching the terrain change as we logged a few hundred more miles. Now, this is our first time making a trip like this with a camper, and neither Maggie nor myself know much about the differences in state, national, and private campgrounds, though we are learning fast. And I have to say, as the tour manager, Maggie has shown more than adequate instinct in booking our sites.
The site in La Grande was located near a hot spring down a dirt road at the base of a lush green hill which the moon would rise behind later in the evening. This place was an oasis for everything you could need in the middle of a six week camping outing. The bathrooms were nicer than any I’ve seen and there was a laundromat on site for us to freshen up our collection of dirty clothes, which has been growing day by day. There wasn’t much privacy between sites, but the views and amenities made up for it. As the sun grew tired and faded over the ridge west of us, we fired up the gas griddle to sear up some spicy Korean chicken thighs and left over pan fried potatoes from Telluride. We ended the evening with warm showers before laying down only to be woken by August having a night terror. He was able to calm down and get back to sleep, but the coyotes that had found their way from the hillside to the campground kept me up with their sinister laughter. It’s all part of the journey.
We debated whether or not to leave La Grande later than planned. None of us got the sleep we needed, but we ultimately decided to move on, leaving just an hour later than originally planned.
We pressed on to Hood River, OR to complete the Tamawana Falls hike. It’s over a 3 mile round trip hike which had me automatically questioning August’s ability especially after the situation we encountered the night previous. I must say that August, yet again, impressed us. There was a moment where he started to express his tiredness, but after a pep talk he pushed on to lead our way to a beautiful waterfall nestled in the evergreen forest. We picnicked at the base of the falls before making our way back to the trail head.
We had a few post hike beers and pizza from Double Mountain Brewery and headed over the Columbia River and deep into the evergreens where we made camp for the night.
We’ll make it to Amity, Oregon tomorrow where we’ll be able to pop up and stay for a few days. Looking forward to the chill.
Be good to yourselves and each other.