Monday, September 19, 2011

Camping at Three Forks - Owyhee River

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Skye and I love camping; we went on a few camping trips while we were dating and then, when we were married without kids. We have been saying for a long time that we have wanted to take the boys. We finally did! They are at the perfect age for loving the whole experience. Everything is exciting and fun for them, and they are always up for running and getting dirty. We went to Three Forks on the Owyhee River and it was beautiful! We wanted to find a somewhat secluded spot (so we traveled 100 miles south of Boise to the southeastern corner of Oregon on the Idaho and Nevada borders; we drove nearly 40 miles down a gravel road from the small town of Jordan Valley, Oregon and were hundreds of miles away from any city), since it was the holiday weekend and we were worried other more common camping places might be packed. It was perfect and we only saw a few other people in all of our camping and hiking.

When we first got there, we picked out our camping spot and the boys helped dad set up the tent. We ate some dinner and then, hiked down to the river. We threw rocks for a while and we looked for a spot to cross the river, but the water was too deep. Instead, we played in the water.
It was interesting finding firewood. We were in the middle of sagebrush and not much else for wood; so that's what we used. Bryce learned to build the log cabin (just like his lincoln logs)!
And, we made s'mores. Bryce is in the top two pictures and Brandon is in the bottom two. They both covered their faces when the fire got too hot. :)

It didn't take long for any of us to fall asleep and we all slept soundly. The pictures of Bryce and Brandon in their sleeping bags was when we were putting them to bed and the other two pictures are from when we woke up.
Here's the view in the evening and in the morning. The bright sunlight was so deceiving. I thought we had slept in so late and by the time we checked the time, it was still early in the morning!
Throwing rocks into the river below. You can't really tell, but the bushes in front of Bryce and Brandon are the edge of this plateau that we were on and at that point it drops off into the water. I was hesitant setting up camp here because I was worried that the boys would get too close to the edge, but they were fine and the sagebrush was a good barrier.
We ate some oatmeal for breakfast and then, drove over to the hot springs. This is the best picture we got of the hot springs (you'll find out why). If you look across the river on the right side of the picture, you can see the dark rock and the white waterfall streaming down. The problem was that we weren't sure how we were going to get to the springs.
We came to this spot along the river and tried to walk out as far as we could go and we only made it about a third of the way out before the water was too high and the current was too strong. So, Skye had the brilliant idea of swimming across a strong flowing river with the boys on our back. I could barely swim with any direction because of the strength of the current, so I opted out trying to put one of our boys on my back. We played here, while Skye did some scheming.
Skye did a test swim across the water down to a spot where he could catch on to some plants and pull himself over to some rocks on the other side. Then, he ran a ways back to compensate for the current and swam back to us to tell us the plan. We left all of our extra "stuff", including our camera under a bush and Skye took both boys over, one at a time, and I was terrified the entire time. haha! But, he did it! We then hiked to the hot springs and it was breathtaking. Really. Skye and I kept telling each other to remember the beauty, since we didn't have the camera to take pictures. There were spots to slide down a bit and big pools of crystal clear warm water. The even bigger part of the adventure was figuring out how to get back to the other side of the river when we were through at the hot springs. We eventually made it and the boys fell fast asleep as soon as we were back in the car after our crazy adventure.
And, we drove through Silver City on the way home and loved it. It is an old mining town that has been preserved and never commercialized. Very neat!

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