Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Pretty Drive Across Idaho

After visiting Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, we spent 3 days traveling across Idaho on beautiful Route 12.

The road follows the river all downhill, from Lolo Pass (elevation 5233') to Lewiston (elevation 738'). There are many pulloffs where you can spend the night right by the river. This gal was right across the river from our parking spot.

At another pulloff, I saw some downed trees with some very interesting roots. You are supposed to be able to see stumps from the 1910 fire here, but I doubt these are that old.

The Lochsa Historical Ranger Station was built in the 1920s and furnished with items from that period.

Including the predecessor to Smokey Bear - Uncle Sam did some multi-tasking as a forest ranger in those days.

They even had an antique solar panel!

Nearby was an obscure trail to Snowshoe Falls.

Further down the hill is the cute little town of Kamiah, where many buildings were decorated with murals.

Near Orofino is the Dworshak Dam. At 717' high, it's the tallest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

It's a straight-axis, concrete-gravity dam, meaning that it crosses the canyon in a straight line and uses a huge mass of concrete, as opposed to its geometric shape, to hold back the water's force.

Right where I took the picture of the dam were my first ripe blackberries of the summer. Yummy!

I also found another interesting bug.

Just downstream from the dam is the Dworshak Fish Hatchery. These spring chinook salmon were raised at the hatchery and released 2 1/2 to 3 years ago. They lived most of their lives in the ocean and have returned 500 miles to complete their life cycle. They have had to negotiate fish ladders to get around the 8 dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

In late August, the eggs and sperm will be collected and the fertilized eggs will be incubated in these trays for several weeks, then transferred to nursery tanks to begin feeding. They will be raised for up to 18 months before being released.

Just past Orofino, where the river finally calms down, is where Lewis and Clark built canoes to take them on the final leg of their Westward journey.


  1. Thats a great deer photo..and your waterfall...WOW perfect long exposure shot!! Idaho won my heart the one time I was there this blog post makes me want to leave today!! Im still thinking of that hot spring, Id have to spend an extra day there..Im taking notes on this!!

  2. Way cool post, thanks so much I loved the buildings with the murals and the way to do the salmon was fun to read about. I loved all the photos it is just so beautiful over there and I wonder if any of those trees really are from the fire way back? Thanks and happy trails!

  3. What a lovely doe!

    I was absolutely tickled to see that antique solar panel. :) Great info on the ranger station, too!

  4. I too love the long exposure on the waterfall. Every time I try that, it comes out overexposed. Do you use a polarized filter. What time of day did you shoot that?

  5. Dixxe and Doc, you give me too much credit. If I had known the waterfall was that nice, I would have taken a better camera and a tripod. The exposure was long just because it was so dark back there. I had no polarizer filter, but I should have because you can see too much reflection on the wet rocks. The exposure compensation was set on -2/3, but I do that for all my pictures. I guess it should have been lower, because the highlights are still blown. Oh well, I have plans to go to a huge waterfall today, and we'll see if I learned anything...

  6. I think you give yourself too little credit. You don't even need a fancy camera to get that perfect waterfall shot! Wowee!

  7. Your shot of the waterfall is fantastic! I think that the photographer's eye sometimes is more important than the equipment.

    You find the most interesting things, Uncle Sam looks downright scary in that poster.

  8. Loved your photos. Not being a pro photographer, I thought the waterfall was beautiful. Will have to take that hike. Also, I've never stopped at the ranger station so need to do that. Sure glad you enjoyed Hwy. 12 - I love the trip to WalMart/Costco because you're on the river all the way and it constantly changes with the seasons.


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