Heavens Gate

Life Or Death at 8400 ft?

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We figured there was no better way to introduce you to our love of travel and adventure than starting at the beginning. With that being said it all started out with me (Rebecca) traveling for work. I had already done my first assignment in Southern Texas, and moved on to Idaho for three weeks.
After arriving in Idaho I was given the typical white Ford Focus rental and that poor car had no clue what hell it was about to endure. I found my housing and decided the next day I was going to go find a place called Heaven’s Gate near Riggins, Idaho. Honestly, my research skills were pretty bad at that time and about all I knew was to make my way to Riggins. So I head out on Sunday morning with no real plan in place, no food, no water, my standard issue Nikon Coolpix camera, and a pair of well-worn sneakers on my feet driving my white rental steed into battle. I drove two hours from Weiser to Riggins and found a little restaurant for some lunch. Thanks to the friendly locals, I was told to get to Heaven’s Gate you take Seven Devil’s Road, with the warning of “it will turn to a dirt road after a couple miles. The journey at the base of that mountain began and even after I thought I missed it I was to keep driving….and driving. The waitress had informed me that it would be about 17 miles up and that there was a parking lot at the top with a manned fire watch station.

The road to Heavens Gate


About half way up the mountain (well past the point of having cell phone service) along the rough, dirt road I start to wonder was this really a good idea?!?! I mean there could easily be a crazed person at the top of this mountain or who knows what other unknown dangers that could be waiting for me, but I wanted adventure so the drive continued.
Once I arrived at the parking lot, there was a short hike up to the fire watch station. This is where the earlier mention of no water and wearing tennis shoes worked against me. You see I am an Ohio girl where elevation doesn’t really come into play. Also until this point in my life I had never had any real kind of hiking experience, so the importance of having water and maybe some oxygen with me at 8,400 feet was lost on me. While my tennis shoes did the bare minimum I would definitely recommend hiking boots to protect your ankles.
The reward however was worth it, the views from the fire watch tower were incredible. Picture this as you look out over three states in one view (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho), the Snake River gorge winding up into Montana, into the depths of Hells Canyon, and at the beauty of the Seven Devil’s Mountains, the site was breathtaking, or I guess that part could have been the altitude. There are trails and a campground you can take advantage of as well but being the novice I was at the time, I wasn’t prepared for all of that.
All it took was the thrill of this one adventure and I was hooked! That week I went to the closest town with a sporting goods store and bought my first backpack, and sorely needed hiking boots. My hiking boots were broke in by wearing them to work every day that week and my evenings were spent scouring the internet for what I could do the next weekend. I can’t wait to share the other adventures I had in Idaho and the many since that time.