Sawtooth National Forest

On June 28th we arrived in Stanley, Idaho, from Caldwell, staying at the Mountain Village RV Resort. There are only 6 sites available and only 2 with 50 AMP service, so we had to book early to get a spot and I was only able to get 3 nights here. The drive along the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway was beautiful. Winding through the Boise National Forest, passing through dense forests of pine, across high mountain valleys, and along the Boise River until we finally arrived in Stanley. We settled into our site #5, and then drove to Redfish Lake for a fabulous dinner in the Redfish Lodge. A great place to stay, especially for weddings and special occasions. Continue reading

Silver Falls State Park and Sahalie Falls

Today, June 16, we visited Silver Falls State Park, located 20 miles east-southeast of Salem and 1 1/2 hour drive from Eugene. The Park is the crown jewel of the Oregon State Parks system, being both Oregon’s largest State Park and boasting one of America’s most impressive waterfall day-hikes, the Trail of Ten Falls, a 7.8 mile loop trail that runs along the banks of Silver Creek and passes by 10 waterfalls. Four of the ten falls have an  amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls. We started this hike going in a counterclockwise direction from the Silver Falls Lodge along the rim of the canyon. We entered  a magnificent cathedral-like old-growth forest of towering Douglas firs and hemlocks on a beautiful maintained trail. The first waterfall we came to was the Upper North Falls, 65 feet tall, cascading off a basalt cliff formed by ancient lava flows. We’ve got nine more to go, so we continued along the trail descending a lot of stairs to view the North Falls. At 136 feet tall it is one of the tallest falls in the park, and the huge grotto behind the falls was amazing to walk under. Another mile down the trail we came to a side view of the 31-foot  Twin Falls. Then we took another side trail to view the 134-foot Winter Falls which had a good flow of water still. We stopped on a bench to capture our photo in front of the falls. Returning to the main loop, we headed down the Canyon Trail to pass near the top of Middle North Falls and down the side trail that goes behind the 106-foot high falls and further along the slope to an overhang to get a dramatic view looking back at Middle North Fork Falls framed by mossy maples. So far of all the falls we have seen, this one is our favorite because the cascading water is so close to the trail when you walk behind it. The next waterfall we saw was the view from the wooden platform of the single 27-foot drop Drake Falls, named after the man  who helped make this place a State Park. We took the side trail to view the two-tiered Double Falls, the tallest waterfall in the park at 178 feet. Continue reading

Oregon Coast

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

On June 3, 2021, we took our RV to the Guaranty RV paint shop to give the roof a new look. We booked into the River House Inn in Florence on the Oregon Coast for three nights. We have a nice room on the second floor looking out across the Suislaw River and Bridge and the sand dunes. Our first day trip we drove north to Coos Bay after a nice breakfast at the Little Brown Hen Cafe. We wanted to see the Cape Arago Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, erected in 1866. When we arrived at Cape Arago State Park our first stop was the Simpson Reef Overlook and Shell Island. The barking, groaning and baying from literally thousands of pinnipeds (walruses, seals and sea lions) greeted us as we opened the car doors. The views were amazing of the many seals and sea lions on the reef and Shell Island through the binoculars. Continue reading

Oregon Waterfalls near Eugene OR

Salt Creek Falls

On June 1, 2021, we took RSHRPA in for repairs and a paint job at Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon, and went on a day trip in the Jeep to Sweet Creek Falls, one hour drive west of Eugene near Mapleton. It was a beautiful hike through dense moss covered trees for 2.2 miles, following the creek. There was a section of canyon wall “cat-walk” that made it possible to stay beside the creek without getting wet. Many other smaller falls grace the hike in, but Sweet Creek Falls is the grand finale with four tiered-plunges ranging from 10 to 30 feet cascade for a total of 70 feet, creating a multiple waterfall. The water was crystal clear and perfect for getting my feet wet, wading in the small pools. There weren’t many people there and so we had the place to ourselves most of the time. A great hike not far from Eugene. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Coyote Gulch Hike

Coyote Natural Bridge

On May 10-12, 2021, while staying in Escalante, Utah, we went on a 3-day-backpacking adventure to the remote red rock beauty of Coyote Gulch, a tributary of the Escalante River. Access to this magnificent canyon is via a remote gravel washboard road called Hole-in-the-Rock Road, out on the Grand Staircase-Escalante plateau. We left at 7 am, and drove 33 miles south on Hole-in-the-Rock Road to the trailhead for Hurricane Wash. We began our hike about 8:30, looking forward to this bucket-list destination that we have wanted to do since last year. The hike through the Wash was hot and strenuous, but once we reached the confluence, in about 2 hours, the route winds around soaring sandstone walls up to 900 feet deep, dipping in and out of the sandy stream bed of Coyote Gulch. The first view of Jacob Hamlin Arch was breathtaking. It was originally called Lobo Arch. The renamed natural wonder honors one of the most notable Mormon missionaries and diplomats of the late 19th century, Jacob Hamlin has been noted as one of the bravest men that ever lived. The impressive Hamlin Arch spans 100 feet, and the enormity of this natural cathedral, many claim is one of the most beautiful in the state. We set up camp under this natural dome high on the rock ledge, we were all alone in this amazing setting.  Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Our epic journey continues into 2021. We arrived in Escalante, Utah and are staying at the Escalante Cabins and RV Park for a week from May 6-13. Our first hike was to the Escalante Natural Bridge from the Escalante River Trailhead just 14 miles north of Escalante. It’s a 4-mile R/T hike following the Escalante River, which we had to cross four times in our hiking shoes, and the water was up to our knees in places. The Escalante River is created on the high mountains of the Aquarius Plateau, tiny springs and creeks gather and wind their way 90 miles to Lake Powell. A maze of hundreds of miles of deep, stunning canyons formed as the Escalante carved through slickrock and sandstone over eons of years. The canyon was filled with Cottonwood trees along the river and the bright red canyon walls stood out against the new green leaves on the trees. The first view of the Escalante Natural Bridge was across an open meadow and after one more river crossing we arrived at the 130 foot high impressive natural bridge. The sun’s rays made for a great shot hidden behind the arch. We stayed for lunch and then we returned back along the trail to the jeep. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Cortez Colorado

Square Tower House

We stayed at the Mesa Verde RV Park, October 29 to 30, in a beautiful pull-thru site, while visiting Mesa Verde National Park, just across the road. Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, established by Congress and President Roosevelt in 1906. Mesa Verde (Spanish for “green table”), with more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, is the largest archaeological preserve in the US. We spent one day driving the Mesa Top Loop in the Park visiting the many ruins and cliff dwellings. Our first stop was to view the famous Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. Cliff Palace contains 23 kivas (round sunken rooms of ceremonial importance) and 150 rooms and had a population of approximately 100 people. We couldn’t go down to see the ruins close up because there were no tours now, but we enjoyed seeing it from the viewpoint. We also stopped at Square Tower House Overlook to get a view from the top, featuring the tallest structure in the park. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Canyonlands NP

We were able to get only one overnight backcountry permit on the White Rim Road for October 20 to 21. The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top, and this road was on our bucket-list of adventures. The White Rim Road was constructed in the 1950’s by the Atomic Energy Commission to gain access to the uranium deposits in this area. However, the mines produced very little uranium and were soon abandoned. The road gets its name because it traverses the top of White Rim Sandstone, this is the layer of rock that sits right below the mesa of Island in the Sky. We started our adventure on the Mineral Springs switchbacks and drove along the Green River to the Labyrinth campsites, our stop for the night. The road along the Green River was very narrow with a drop off into the river. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to skip this drive. We made it to our campsite and set up camp next to the Green River, a spectacular setting and so surreal. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset before heading to bed. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Arches NP

Delicate Arch

We finally were able to get reservations at Spanish Trails RV Park in Moab for 5 days in October. The town was packed with tourists and cars everywhere. We went to Arches National Park and saw the North and South Windows Arches, Turret Arch, and  Double Arch across the parking lot. They are still fantastic to see up close, and to be able to climb around and under the massive red rock arches was so impressive. We drove the 4WD road out to Tower Arch which we had not experienced before because it is a long way from the main road. The 4WD road was very rough and took us quite some time to go 3.2 miles, but what a blast! Once we arrived at the parking lot we could see Tower Arch, and we walked up to the viewpoint to get a stunning view of the 92-wide span and its namesake Tower that rises behind to the north of the arch. We scrambled up the slick rock ledges to the inside of the arch where we had a terrific view of the La Sal Mountains to the east. We went back on Salt Valley Road watched the sunset as we reached the paved road and back to the RV. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Upper Muley Twist Trail – Capitol Reef NP

We were able to book only two nights in October, 2020, at an RV Park near Capital Reef National Park, Thousand Lakes RV Park just outside of Torrey, Utah. We did a day hike to Upper Muley Twist Canyon, a 9 mile loop trail that was a long and challenging hike but well worth the effort. The Upper Muley Twist Canyon Road is located one mile west of the top of the Burr Trail Road switchbacks, and we were able to drive the 4WD Road the 2.9 miles up the canyon to the Strike Valley Overlook parking area.(Watch the video for the drive out of Upper Muley Twist Canyon and down the Burr Trail Switchbacks). We hiked the 1.7 miles up the wash to the impressive Saddle Arch. We continued up the canyon 2.3 miles beyond Saddle Arch to the narrows. We were there at noon and the sunlight lighting the brilliant reds of the sandstone canyon walls was spectacular. We found the trail marked by cairns leading up to the top of the Waterpocket Fold. It was a scramble up the rocks to reach the top but the vistas from the Fold were impressive. We could see the distinct colors of the Navajo and Wingate sandstone layers exposed, tilted by the uplift and folding of the Earth’s crust and sculpted by millions of years of erosion. The route along the Rim was cairned, and we followed them as best we could. Then we dropped back into the canyon at Saddle Arch and hiked back out the 1.7 miles to the Jeep. On the way out we stopped to take photos of a Double Arch by the road. What a great day hike. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading