Grand Ronde River

I’ve been anxious to have good weather and the opportunity to go hiking for a while.  Finally, despite feeling sick, I decided to head south from Moscow towards Heller Bar and hike the steep cliffs around Hells Canyon and the Grand Ronde River.  I didn’t exactly know where I was going to hike.  I had read of two trails on and set out to find one.  The area I was in was near a wildlife management area and didn’t disappoint.  I saw 33 wild turkeys in a field right next to the road.  Here’s the proof:

Turkeys along the Grand Ronde River

I was still driving around trying to find a hiking spot but continued to see “Private Property, No Trespassing” signs.  I headed back to a promising spot and finally decided to hike up one of the many large hills.  My only doubt was scrambling up a short rocky area that would then allow me a easy but steep hike.  While trying to find an acceptable chute to scramble I grabbed for what I thought was a rocky handhold–it was actually a prickly pear cactus.  It was a good thing I had on gloves!  I only had two stickers in my hand (through the glove) so I removed those and finally found a easy spot through the rocks.  The climb was only beginning though.  I knew it was steep but later that night I checked on Google Earth and I had hiked approximately 1000′ in 3/4 of a mile.  Here are the views I had from my stopping point, about 200 feet from the top.  (I didn’t go all the way to the top because I knew the Snake River was further away and I’d only be looking at more hills towards the East.)

Grand Ronde cliffs with Hells Canyon in the distance

Grand Ronde River panorama

Grand Ronde confluence with the Snake River


3 thoughts on “Grand Ronde River

  1. Sweet, Aaron! I’d really love to get into that country someday, though I expect I’d shoot for spring instead of January (though the snow is lovely). The Grande Ronde is supposed to be a very nice, lesser-known river trip too: again, someday.

    I especially love the pano here, with the the river and the rock layers swirling around that thumb of the mountain.

  2. Very nice! Lucky you. Great pictures! The photographs look so good I feel like I can breathe the air. Yes, I would avoid the prickly pear cactus.

  3. Jackson:
    The layers throughout Hells Canyon are beautiful. The canyon itself doesn’t see too much snow (I think) but it’s the matter of going up and over the hills that proves difficult in the winter. The little gooseneck in the pano is the first of three consecutive ones. It’d be nice to find a vantage point to capture all three.

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