It was time to go camping again. This time we were going to be in Hell’s Canyon, Idaho. We’d found the Hells Canyon campground online and it was only $10 a night – bargain – but it was first come first serve. We didn’t want to miss out, so we left Seattle extra early and made our way to our 6th state – Idaho. Hells Canyon runs between Oregon and Idaho, so our route took us back through Oregon and into another time zone – Mountain Time.

Idaho state welcome sign 50 states in 6 months

As we entered the canyon, high rocky cliff sides gradually surrounded us. We continued on and as we got deeper into the canyon, the temperature grew hotter. At the hottest point it hit 88 degrees! Along the way we went through some tiny little towns that generally had no more than just a store, petrol station and a hotel. Soon we were driving along side a stream and there were deer on the banks drinking from it. It made for a very pretty sight, but we had no time to stop for pictures, we needed to make sure we got a spot in the campsite.

Snake River, Hells Canyon, Idaho

When we eventually reached the site, we were shocked to see that there was only one other group of campers there. There was a few caravans and RV’s parked up, but there was plenty of tent sites for us to chose from. We pulled in, drove round and found a shady site under a tree on the grassy bank. All you had to do to pay was put the money in an envelope and post in a little post box. Sorted! We paid enough for two nights. The campground was great, it came with toilets, showers, drinking water and even free Wi-Fi for 15 minutes every 12 hours. You could purchase more time for just a few dollars. It was amazing – in the middle of a deep canyon and yet we still had access to Wi-Fi! The site was situated right by the river and there were plenty of people sailing down in their boats and fishing. We went for a little wonder, but were so tired after our early start and long drive, that we went back to our site for a rest. Plus it was so hot; we just wanted to hide out in the shade.

That night, I made us some beef burritos for dinner – it’s amazing what you can cook on a one-hob gas stove and we made friends with the group who were camping just down from us. We sat round their campfire, toasted marshmallows and regaled them with stories of all our travels. By the time we came to leave, it was pitch black and we hadn’t thought to bring a torch with us to get us back to our tent. Needless to say, as we walked back, Barry tripped over one of the strings to their tent. I had images of him, pulling down their whole tent and landing in a heap on the ground, but luckily it was stuck in the ground good and proper.

 

The next day, we went for a drive through the canyon to the dam. As the views were so spectacular, we decided to put the GoPro on the roof and film some driving scenes. We’d done this many times before and got some great footage. However, on this occasion something different happened. We were just driving along, when we heard this really loud bang on the roof. I looked around but couldn’t see anything. Then Barry abruptly stopped the car shouting ‘it’s the camera’ It had fallen off the roof! The suction is meant to be super strong so we have no idea how it happened. Luckily when Barry ran back to get it, it was still in one piece just a bit chipped. It could have been a lot worse – it could’ve tumbled down the canyon side into the river, or worse still, it could’ve hit another car! Given that this was the third video camera we were on since starting this trip, we knew we were very lucky not to have to buy version number four!

Keeping the GoPro in the car, we continued on and eventually made it to the dam. It was a lot bigger than we expected and we drove right across it. We parked up and took a few photos. Even though it was boiling hot, high up in the distance you could see some snow at the top of the mountains. We drove down the riverside as far as we could and reached the visitor centre. We went in and picked up a map thinking we could do a walking trail. We soon decided it was too hot and we were still too tired to do anything. The only way to get any further down the canyon was by boat. You could get a jet boat like we did in New Zealand, but given that we’d already done that and it was quite pricey, we decided to just make our way back to the campsite.

We spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling out. After we had some dinner, Barry took the dishes over to the tap on the other side of the park so he could wash them. Within a minute he came running back to me saying ‘grab the camera’ I asked if it was a deer as I’d seen one wondering around near there the day before but he didn’t really reply. As we got near to a tree, he started to slow down. I couldn’t see a deer, so I was a bit baffled. Then he decided to tell me that it was Rattlesnake that he’d seen. What!? A real life Rattlesnake!! In our campground!! And then I saw it. It was curled up, with it’s head poking out. Barry sad he was just walking to the tap, looking up at the trees as there were hummingbirds gathering round, when he heard a big hiss. As he looked down he noticed the Rattler right where he was about to step. If it hadn’t of made it’s warning sound, he probably would’ve stepped straight on it – he could’ve been a goner! Always one to want to get a good photo, Barry was leaning right in to get the perfect shot, when all of a sudden the snake rattled and jumped forward. It made us both jump. Not wanting to disturb it anymore, we walked over to the tap. I nipped to the loo and when I got out, I saw Barry and a group of blokes who were camping nearby, over by where the snake was again. I made my way over, only to discover that they had killed it and were currently asking Barry if he wanted the rattle. Next thing I knew one of the lads (he was probably only about 14) sliced the snake’s head off and then chopped the rattle off the end of its tail. I was shocked, but I suppose it had to be done, otherwise it could’ve ended up in someone’s tent! I’m writing this a week down the line and Barry’s still going on about how he could’ve died that day (I could have though! – Barry)! And he’ll always have the rattle as a souvenir.

After a night of Barry sharing his ‘near death experience’ story with two great, funny guys who were camping nearby us, it was time for us to say goodbye to Hells Canyon and move onto our next place in Idaho – The Craters of the Moon.