Recreating at Moonshine Mine, Hells Canyon - Richland, Oregon

Looking southeast at the massive canyon

by Tesmond Hurd — Updated 8 months 3 weeks ago · Posted Sun, Jun 25, 2017

I just spent four days in hell—Hell's Canyon that is. I've never spent a substantial amount of concurrent time here, so I see why it is called Hell's Canyon (which is actually spelled "Hells"). Two snakes were discovered, the temperature fluctuated between 95 and 105° during the day, and the road access was perilous. If you're not familiar with the area, the Snake River runs 1,078 miles through the 10 mile wide canyon dubbed as the deepest river canyon in North America. There are three hydroelectric dams on the river: Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon Dams.

Before arriving in the infernal canyon, there was a nice group of cyclists out on the punishing part of Highway 7. On my way back, I passed two cyclists with saddle bags that seemed to be completely exhausted in the 90° weather.

My constituents and I camped at Idaho Power's newest campground—Moonshine Mine— which was built earlier this year on the Oregon side. This new park is just north about 1/2 mile of Swede's Landing (see map). There's minimal shade, so if you're camping, bring your own and LOTS of ice.

We spent two full days and a night fishing and knee-boarding (a sport that I suck at, so I found out) on Brownlee Reservoir. Fishing was very slow. I only caught three fish the entire trip. However, while trolling the Idaho side for 12.5 painful miles due to an inboard motor failure, a 20" trout was caught! That was probably the most exciting event of the whole trip. Some people were doing okay for catfishing in the shallows. Another 1.5 foot catfish was caught this morning. The dams have been holding back lots of water, so the levels are high right now, but those should come down over the next month.

We were glad we were able to fix the boat motor once on shore so we could continue enjoying the water. The water temperature has been hovering around 67-74° and is really refreshing to be in. It was so hot, though, once out of the water you dried within 5 minutes. Needless to say, I was severely sun burnt—but now I have a nice redneck tan.

Also, with the acquisition of my new phone I was excited to try out the camera—it turned out good, taking very high-resolution photos.

Long Hollow Mountain Bike Ride - Hell's Canyon, Oregon
Richland to Swede's Landing Gravel Bike Ride - Out and Back

Category: Gravel Bike    Redneck   
Keywords: Swede's Landing    Snake River    Hells Canyon    Brownlee   
Looking north where the river splits
"Powder Arm" near Richland
Dusk on the Snake

Entrance to Moonshine Mine boat ramp
Long ways down to the river

Snow on the Wallowas
Wallowas still with snow
Cyclists climbing the hill