The Grumbys' Descent Into Hell('s) Canyon - Undaunted Porridge - CycleBlaze

July 24, 2018

The Grumbys' Descent Into Hell('s) Canyon

Jeremiah Johnson: Where you headed?
Del Gue: Same place you are, Jeremiah Hell, in the end.

-Jeremiah Johnson 1972                                                                                                      -------------------------------

Well now you do you s'pose named this canyon down here? Let's see, I don't know, could it have been SATAN?  

 -Mrs. Grumby paraphrasing the Church Lady during our climb.                     -------------------------------

Feel the heat
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Dee ForteThat looks so cool!
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Dee ForteIt was cool but getting blazingly hot.
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1 year ago

Today we entered Hell. Hell's Canyon that is. And speaking of Hell, the evil hellish crud that has a hold on Jen is still there but she got a lot of sleep and was ready to move this morning. Hell!(That's a new record for number of uses of the word hell in a paragraph.)

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Today's ride involved about 16 miles of climbing and then a nice descent, followed by a couple smaller climbs. We left before first light, about 0600 mountain time, which is 0500 Pacific time (yeah we were back and forth on the damn time zones again!) to beat the insane heat. Note: I normally insert insightful or hilarious quotes at the top of a post, and today there are two! And I just thought of another pertinent quote, so I am adding it mid-post, at no extra cost to you.** Here it is:

The other day someone asked me if I knew what time it was. I said, Yeah, but not right now. 
       -Stephen Wright 

**Please send me $100.

Now, back to our story. The climbing was slow but not grueling. I've said this a few times but Jen's strong. She had to stop a few times to cough and take a breather, but we slogged up the grade, and it was pleasant due to the lower morning temperatures. 

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Dee ForteOMG that's GORGEOUS.
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1 year ago
At the top
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Down she goes!
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We hit the summit at 0830, about 2 1/2 hours after we started. Not bad for 16 miles and about 1700 feet. We then had a great 7 mile descent to the Gateway Cafe, where we ate second breakfast.  A couple miles later we rolled over the Brownlee Dam bridge and into our 9th and final state. 

Mmmm, second breakfast. We eat like this at least 4 times a week and I've lost 8 pounds.
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Crossing over into a new state and, sigh, time zone.
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State #9!
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Dee ForteBack to your original state! Woo hoo!!
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1 year ago
J. BurgraffGetting Closer...Yay!
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1 year ago
Li LaYes indeed. Welcome back to Oregon...
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1 year ago

As we finished our selfie, 3 of the bike tourers who were camped behind the motel in Cambridge rolled up. They are part of an organized, self-supported (you carry your own gear) tour and today was day 80 for them. They were going to Halfway so we won't likely see them again.

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Dee Forteincredible picture!
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Dee ForteThanks!
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1 year ago
Judy & Sharon Thieme-RahnVery cool pic. Good eye
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1 year ago

18 miles later and and we arrived at the Copperfield Campground near Oxbow dam, one of 3 hydropower dams in  Hell's Canyon. The others are Brownlee, and the imaginatively named Hell's Canyon Dam. The two we saw (Brownlee and Oxbow) were as ugly as any hydroelectric dam anywhere. The reservoirs were a large, still bodies of water surrounded by treeless mountains and, at least this morning, almost no boats.  Kind of pretty, and a litte eerie. 

North of where we were, there are class III-V rapids which bring rafters and kayakers from all over. Hell's is the deepest river gorge in the US, but it's so remote there are only a few access points. You can get more information on the interwebs. What the hell do I look like, Wikipedia?

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The Copperfield campground is one of several near the dams run by Idaho power,  and holy crap is this one nice! $10.88 for a site, includes showers that are so clean,  we ate off of the floor.* Aside from a stray toenail (I think), dinner time went off without a hitch!

*Yeah. 

The awesome Copperfield Campground
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A dork in the water.
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An older couple, both teachers, were camped nearby so I went to talk to them. They are or were teachers  and spend every summer camping and have done so almost every year since 1972. They gave us cold drinks as we sat in the shade talking to them. 

We set the tent up without staking so we could move it to where the shade moved as the day progressed. Since we got there at about 11:30, and it was forecast to hit 100, we had a lot of time to sit around camp before the sun went down. Fortunately our site was right next to Pine Creek, which runs right into the Snake River, about 50 yards away. Some time in the river cooling off during the day, and even took a sweltering nap.

Around 9pm, 3 young Frenchmen rolled in on their bikes. They are doing a section of the TransAm eastbound, ending in about a week in Idaho. They'll return to France, which is apparently in a whole different country, and come back next year to dnish the route. They were loving the trip and said people were incredibly friendly. When I told them about the river being so close, they immediately ran over there and jumped in.

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We turned in at 9. Tomorrow is a short day- 17 miles to Halfway or 30 to Richland, depending on how Mrs. G is feeling. 

Our bikes and tent in the foreground, the Frenchmen in the background
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Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 1,756 miles (2,826 km)

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Janet BeatyWe camped in the same area on our “Off To See The Wizard” Tour and I think we met the same teachers. They even traded us a cold drink for a pan I had that was bigger than I needed. Did the have an old pop up tent? If so it was them.....really nice folks.
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1 year ago
Ron SuchanekTo Janet BeatyThey mentioned having a nylon pop up tent in the past. Now they have a pretty elaborate canvas one. It's probably the same people!!
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1 year ago