Washington, Idaho, and into Montana

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This little story covers a few days getting from the pacific coast right into Montana. No major highlights, but a few pictures to share from little bits here and there.

I still wasn't very happy with Washington State, the people hadn't been very welcoming, and I'd had a rough time camping, so I basically decided I had had enough of the state, and burned eastward, for my longest drive so far, 550 miles.

Left a miserable campground at Lake Sylvia State Park, Montesana, Washington in the morning. (the grounds were ok, but the crows, and then the whining dogs, and then the mosquitoes, with no recycling bins, for $17/night was a bit much) Headed eastwards out through Seattle again on I-90, and stopped for lunch at Ginkgo Petrified Forest state park. The weather of the last few days had cleared by now, so I even got to see Rainier on the way east. Another cool big volcano looming over town. Not as big or as close as I'd gotten to Hood or Shasta, but very cool nonetheless.

The petrified forest certainly had some big chunks of wood, but most impressive was the range of species that they had all cut and polished up inside. Apparently this area has the broadest range of species of petrified trees anywhere in the something or other. (It was either the USA or the world. can't remember) Other than that, it was just a hot place that had some toilets and a bit of watered grass.

Got off the interstate here and headed off through the farmland towards Palouse Falls statepark. Waterfalls are always cool. This one was excellent, but would have been substantially improved with a track to the base to go swimming. It was rather hot out in the almost desert here.

Down to the Snake, and followed it upstream to the border with Idaho. Dinner in a lovely park by the River, lush green grass, recycling bins, and then I headed out to camp near Hells Canyon. I was headed up there the next day. Camped with all the rafters at Hammer Creek, one of the big putins for going down the Snake. They had a neat sculpture here made out of garbage that had been pulled out of the river, and put together by local students. It was to show people some respect for their environment, and from the comments it was getting, seemed to be working.

Drove up to Hells Canyon, via the Heavens Gate entrance. Destroyed a tire, and threw my alignment way out. The road wasn't that bad. I believe I must have gotten a small flat on the highway, and not noticed, but the dirt road wasn't as forgiving as the bitumen was, and tore the tire up. It also meant I didn't really hear it until it tried to rip one of my panels off. What a pain in the arse. Had to unload the entire car to get the spare out. Damn thankful I had gotten a full size spare though. Had a moment of panic when I thought that the wheel didn't actually fit, but it had two different sets of holes. Drove the last two miles up to the carpark gingerly, I hadn't put all the facts together yet.

Basically Hells Canyon sucked. Very very disappointing. I'm sure there was some good backpacking around the seven devils, but dayhikes were extremely limited, and the driving tour was apalling. Met a lovely couple from Virginia though, who market tea tree oil products.

Drove up though the Clearwater and Lochsa River valley's towards Missoula. Delightful country. Beautiful rivers, lovely swimming. Met a guy from Iowa who was "hiding" from his family for 10 days or so, and went up to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs with him one morning. Interesting stories from the heartland, mostly related to christian bigotry and persecution. Saw a female moose in a bog by the track as we headed back. Neat to see them in the wild. Still haven't seen a bull though.

Tried to have a rest day in Missoula, and went to the movies, but then ended up without a place to stay at 9pm. Hadn't eaten either, and decided to burn out of town towards Glacier National Park. Stupid idea. Being overly stingy. I should have just stayed in a motel. I got a bit down over this, it was being hardwork. Spending a chunk of money to get new tires and an alignment hadn't helped, but even that was all budgeted for really. Anyway, the next stop was Glacier National Park, where all wrongs were righted, and the dissapointments of the previous couple of days washed away and were all but forgotten.

Bridge over the Columbia

Sports fans in the farmland (Cougars are the WSU college football team)

Finch feeding

Finch not feeding

Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls area

Rail bridge over the Snake

Interior of rail bridge