Hell’s Canyon, Idaho – Pittsburgh Landing

After roaming around the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers for about a week we had a need for internet and drove out to Grangeville, ID to find a cell signal.

Dog Bark Park.

Along with that signal we found “Dog Bark Park” which showcases the talents of sculptors Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin. It’s a cool place to visit even if you’re not a dog lover but it helps to have a sense of humor.

The Big Beagle, “Sweet Willie Colton” is actually a one room B & B with a living/bedroom, bathroom, and small sleeping loft. If you’re in Graingeville, paws for a moment and visit Dog Bark Park (not my pun, it belongs to Dennis). I asked Dennis what kind of wood he uses and he told me he starts out with Ponderosa Pine, but it all ends up Dogwood.☺

“Returning” – Dennis Sullivan

South from Grangeville, across mighty White Bird Hill, we found the road to Pittsburgh Landing in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. There was a bit of mist in the air as we started up the road to the pass which leads down into the canyon and we were treated to the very unusual sight of a rainbow below us.

Over the Pass into Hell’s Canyon (4,000 + feet)

Switchbacks and the road into the canyon.

A 17 mile, well graded, gravel road leads down to the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon with a small 28 site campground at 1,200 feet elevation.

We had the beautiful campground entirely to ourselves, with just the sound of the river a few hundred yards away, birds, deer, and spectacular views of Hell’s Canyon.

Hell’s Canyon -The name comes, not from the terrain, or it’s proximity to the nether world, but from the fact that temps in the summer can easily hit 110℉ or more down on the canyon bottom. Today, temps are in the upper 60s due to a huge cold air mass hovering over the Northwest. Lucky us.

Bullocks’s Oriole

For wildlife down here in the canyon we’ve seen lots of deer, both does and bucks, bunnies, swifts and Nighthawks. The Nighthawks are amazing aerial acrobats and were out during the day gobbling up the insects hatching off the river.

Prairie Rattlesnake.

This Prairie Rattlesnake was warming itself at dusk on one of the roads in the campground. Rattlesnakes do not typically like to interact with humans and they will leave if they see you coming. That’s good for them, and good for us. Rattlesnakes are Pit Vipers. The pits are small heat sensing glands on either side of the head. Rattlers use these to find prey, even in the dark, by swinging their heads back and forth to locate the source of heat (say a mouse) that is their prey. Look at the picture above. The snake has extended it’s tongue to sample the air and would then raise it up to it’s nostrils to try and identify what is nearby, us in this case. He was not aggressive, but well aware of our position even though we were 8 – 10 feet away at all times. This guy was about 2½ feet long. A Rattlesnake can strike about half it’s body length away.

We found a treasure trove of firewood left by other campers on the weekend so had a great meal with baked potatoes and grilled pork cooked on the fire. it was a meal reminiscent of many cooked and shared with friends at Recompence CG on the Maine coast.

We are on the Idaho side looking across the river at the steep canyon walls on the Oregon side. The Snake River Recreation Trail starts at Pittsburgh Landing, and follows the river on the Idaho side for 30 miles upstream (south) to the Snake River Dam. Tomorrow’s forecast is for warmer temps, with clear skies; a perfect day to hike the trail.

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3 responses »

  1. Dave & Ronda

    Ted certainly looks like he “just fits in” with the out and about off the grid codgers.

  2. Wonderful!!!! Your living the good life!

  3. Whatever do you mean?

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Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders