Heaven's Gate
Activities in and around
Riggins Id.
July 23rd and 24th, 1998

   Map name   Having seen the northern end of Hell’s Canyon, we pulled out of Chief Timothy State Park Campground in Clarkston Washington and through Lewiston Idaho. I was prepared for the 288 mile drive to Boise down SR95 to visit with some friends we hadn’t seen in sometime. The road was up and down with many turns, but nothing like the climb out of Lewiston and the Snake river. 117 miles down the road we hit one of those cross roads towns in the middle of nowhere. Riggins, Idaho can’t have more then 200 people living in it permanently. The Salmon River, which we had been paralleling for some time suddenly shot off to the east and was replaced by a strong brook we later found out to be the Little Salmon River. There are almost no side roads to this community. Everything is right on the strip. Three or four restaurants, a boat livery, a few gift shops, and a real estate office. After a short conversation about lunch which slowed me down enough to see the municipal parking lot, small but amply suited for large RVs, we pulled in. There is not a lot of decision making to be done here. We stood out in the middle of US95 and looked up and down the street. Riggins, Id. Everything available was pretty much in view. A hundred feet away was the Corner Bar. We decided to chance it and eased up to the front door to peak in. No warning lights came on, so we walked in and sat down to a very rustic but clean interior. The bartender, waiter, and Lord- knows-what-else delivered menus promptly with a warm welcome and smile. We picked something safe and sat back to take in the surroundings. One of the endearing qualities of Laura, is that she will strike up a conversation with anybody within normal speaking range, and as usual had started a conversation with a couple who arrived just after us. Tim and his wife Vickie, who ran a real estate office across the street, were as open and friendly as anyone would have wanted them to be. Within the length of the meal, these two had told of a fascinating place in the mountains not far away, called “Heaven’s Gate”, and suggested we check out a “hidden” RV park, just a matter of feet from where we were sitting.

Riggins, Id. Although there was no plan for stopping, we slowed our rig to a creep at the very south end of town looking for the small sign indicating the entrance to the Riverside RV park. Right where Tim and Vickie had said it would be, was the sign, and the paved road leading into the park. Twenty feet into the park, and it was a unanimous decision. It was absolutely beautiful. A small box at the entrance announced that the park was on the honor system. Put $15.00 in the box for each day you stayed, and have a good time.Riggins, Id. Huge sites, 60 foot trailers would have no problem here. Water and electric only. For the most part, the park was empty. We later learned that a screw up in the TL listing had caused a bad phone number entry so no one could make a reservation. Unfortunately this problem has been fixed and we are sure the park will soon be booked solid.  We walked the twenty or so sites looking for the perfect view. We selected site #1, at the southernRiggins, Id. most point, with the window end of the trailer overlooking the river. I added this to my list of “sites with a view”, sat down at my back window, pulled up the blinds, fired up the computer, and began to write. Laura went to deliver the evening’s payment while I watched a traveler walk down to the river to fish.  He caught several trout in a matter of minutes. Shortly, Laura was back munching on something. “OK, what are you eating”, I asked. “Apricots”, she replied. “They’re growing on the tree next to the payment box.” T This I had to see, so off we went to the tree and sure enough, there they were, hundreds of the them just waiting to be picked. Ripe, juicy and sweet, and from the bug activity, obviously not sprayed. I selected a half dozen clean ones and munched right in. Absolutely delicious.

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