After Palouse Falls we took the quick trip to the Idaho/Washington border towns of Lewiston (ID) and Clarkston (WA) for a slow-paced week of camping at the Hell’s Gate State Park. Hell’s Gate marks the entrance to Hell’s Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge. A magnet for whitewater rafting, we unfortunately were not able to make a trip into the canyon (cost and baby). Trips cost about $110 per person for a 2-3 hour tour, or you can drive 6 hours down the West side to some scenic overlooks.
We opted out of all to relax and recuperate from the drinking weekend. Instead, we spent leisurely days at the campground walking, playing, and doing small fixes to the Westy. Our goal here was comfort, so we stayed in one of the excellent cabins.
They have electricity, heat, & A/C, so we really treated ourselves. For $60 a night, though, they should come with all the bells and whistles, though, right? The park has 12 cabins, all overlooking the river, so every morning and night we saw the swift river racing in front of us.
The park itself offers numerous walking trails and is connected to a riverside bike trail that connects to town, so this is a great place to stay with a bicycle or catch a jog in the morning/afternoon. 4 miles South of downtown, the park is remote enough to feel secluded yet close enough to town to provide comfort. As it sits right at the edge of the canyon, the views are gorgeous. The walking trails are well worth exploring, especially in the hour before dusk as you get to see lots of animals. In one walk I saw deer, rabbits, countless birds, and more ants than you could throw Seurat’s picnic at.
As we had a week, we had to visit Lewiston and Clarkston as well. While they are basically one big town, for some reason we found Lewiston cooler. Maybe it is Lewis-Clark State College, but there was something more settled and cultured about Lewiston. Clarkston felt, well, white-trashy. Lewiston had pockets of trashiness – see the deal at the barber ship below – but our walk of the downtown provided rustic brick buildings, little shops with loads of personality, and a pleasant, if short-lived, stroll.
One last thing: if you are in town for breakfast, the Mystic Cafe is awesome.