All of these hikes around Idaho with Dad during the Summer 1988 could have killed a weaker person, but I went along like a trooper with a taste for adventure and fun during my first visit to a state that I only knew was famous for potatoes. WRONG! Dad said that my sister only whined and moaned and was in worse shape than I was when he took Mom and Erika to Hell's Canyon in 1987, and he didn't want me whining and moaning when he took me.
Once again Dad, Tyler, and I jumped in his 1979 Oldsmobile Station Wagon for our adventure to Hell's Canyon along the Idaho/Oregon border. Hell's Canyon is the second largest canyon in the USA next to Arizona's Grand Canyon. At 3,000 feet deep and situated along the raging Snake River, this natural wonder was a popular campsite for the Nez Perce Native American Tribe who summered and fished at the bottom of the canyon.
My Mom is deathly afraid of heights, and it's a miracle that Dad got Mom to hike the treacherous trail at Hell's Canyon at all in 1987. When Dad, Tyler, and I arrived at Hell's Canyon after a 2-hour ride, I understood why and I was surprised that she hiked as far as she did. The trail that Dad and I hiked at Hell's Canyon had canyon wall and bushes on the left. The right side was a very long and steep drop into the Snake River. Dad joked, "I don't know what is worse, snake bites and poison sumac on one side or falling off the cliff!" Locals call the Snake River here "The Kidney Buster Highway" with its raging waves throughout. Dad thought of taking his elderly mother and brother on a boat ride here, but decided not to. Smart move!
Dad, Tyler, and I hiked about 2-3 miles on this high trail taking pictures along the way and looking down at the snake river. About two-thirds on the first leg, Dad said, "Let's go faher! This is where you mother chickened out! Hee Hee!" Grr!
After doing that extra mile just to satify His Lordship's oneupmanship on his ex-wife, we turned around and went back to the car. It was boiling hot that day, and Dad, Tyler, and I sat in the shade to have our lunch. There was a little creek in the shade, and Dad filled a container full of water and poured it on Tyler, who was dying in his long thick black fur coat. Then Dad and I had a little sip of the water. Dad said when I got home to Rhode Island to watch out for signs of Giardia, an ugly illness that one gets from drinking unfiltered water. Gee thanks, Dad!
After resting and more pictures, Dad, Tyler, and I headed home to McCall. It turned out that the creek water Dad poured on Tyler had cheet grass in it and had gotten into his eye. Cheet grass is a nasty splinter hard grass that is found all around Idaho. It can get into ones socks and shoes and it wreaks havoc on dogs' and cats' fur and ears by inbedding inside and causing irritation that the veterinarian has to take out.
Tyler's eye was a mess within a couple of days, and Dad had to take him to the veterinarian in McCall. Tyler was kept overnight to have cheet grass removed, and Dad and I picked him up the next morning. Tyler had to be carried to the car by Dad, and his eye was sewn closed to protect it while it healed. "This cost me $70, Tyler! You do that again, and it's the glue factory!" Dad would have been the first to miss Tyler, his goobie! Tyler didn't go to the glue factory that summer and went on to live until 2000 when he died at age 13 doing what he loved most, walking with his Dad!
There are many trails and campsites along Hell's Canyon to go to. The best time is late spring, early summer when it's cool. For more information, go to www.wikpedia.com/hellscanyon.
I have wanted to return to Hell's Canyon since my 1988 visit, but weather conditions and a busy work schedule have prevented me. Plus Mom vowed she won't risk another hike along the Snake River! Someday I will return!