Indian viewpoint to Troy via main road 21.25 miles, Elevation Gain 860’, Elevation Loss 3,474’
We woke up and knocked out the morning routine of coffee, breakfast, and packing up. In the twilight of dawn, we said goodbye to Ron as he was heading home, and the three of us started on our road walk to Troy. We had a little over 20+ miles to get to town by 2 pm to meet Mike and Donna for our resupply and little visiting.
We headed out on the road which was gravel and then at times paved but being morning, it was cool and an enjoyable reprieve from days of bushwhacking. Along the way, we passed old ranch homes, a pioneer church, and wound our way along a series of roads, and even crossed a secondary highway. The road walk was pretty uneventful except for one spot, as we got close to Troy our route showed us using a USFS road that cut off from the main road to Troy and would drop us down the canyon to the Grande Ronde River. When we started up the road, we saw a private property sign, weird but there was no gate and it was clearly marked public on our maps. About ¾ of a mile up the road, we came to a house and the owners had made it clear the road was being restricted to public use. Wanting to avoid any conflict we opted to backtrack and just walk the main road to Troy.
FeMike kept us on pace and made sure we pumped out a steady 3mph, not wanting to be late for Mike and Donna we only took one short break and made sure to grind out the miles hour after hour. The walk went smooth along the way, we saw mule deer, some homes, and then a few miles before the Grande Ronde the road took a turn, and we could see it switchbacking down to the river.
We dropped down in elevation quickly and then found ourselves along the Grande Ronde River. We walked along the road and crossed a bridge over the river and hung a left to Troy. The temperature was pleasant enough and as we approached the town, we knew the store was closed but we had dreams of a soda machine or possibly even a shower. When we arrived in town we had beaten Mike and Donna, so we dropped out packs in front of the store and took a look around. The Soda Machine beckoned us to try it, but there was no power and no option for a drink.
As we sat waiting for Mike and Donna an SUV pulled up and went into the building across the street which was the local laundromat and showers. I went over and explored it, there was a nice lounge and power outlets, so I plugged in my battery pack to top off, and went back outside.
Mike and Donna arrived and brought us treats, chips, cold beer, cold soda, and some amazing homemade oatmeal bars with chocolate. We spent a few hours visiting with them, and I walked over into the RV park to see if anyone could tell us if we could camp there or maybe pay for a shower. I met a nice guy, he told me the owner was away for a few days, so basically, we struck out.
Mike and Donna had a few hours to drive home so after visiting they agreed to give us a ride a ½ mile back to the ODFW campground along the Grande Ronde we had passed on our way into town. Before we left a guy pulled up and started chatting us up, he was bow hunter who had been walking the area for decades, he told us the Wenaha River had a good trail and we should have no issues getting to Tollgate, hooray!
The campground was a nice spot along the river with soft grass to sleep on, a pit toilet, and access to the river. There was a large RV parked across the way with a family and a few dogs. In true hiker fashion, I had a full-on yard sale going on with enough food for a group to live off for a week spread all around me. I was doing all I could to eat the food and sort out what to take with me. The young girl from the camp came over and started to talk to us, she said the funniest thing to me, “My dog Alpine likes to steal food and you can’t blame him if there is food lying around, and sir you have a lot of food lying around.” At that The Punisher fell over in laughter at the absurdity of the food spread I had and the young human’s observation.
The young girl’s father eventually came by and we told him about our hike, he said, “You know there was a fire in that river canyon a few years back and it burned up about 6 or so miles of the canyon?”
We had no idea, but we figured that there could be some damage, but it wouldn’t be too bad, because if it was surely we would have heard about it from the other hunter we had talked to. We spent the rest of the evening lounging before turning in for an early night and much-needed deep sleep before our next leg of the trip.