Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Was I Thinking?

Friday Bill feels much better and ready for a day trip. Mount Spokane State Park is about 25 miles from the RV park, and seems to be a perfect destination on a day that would see temps in the 90's in the city. Seems to be.....

Leaving I-90, the drive through Prairie City is beautiful. Golden hills with large homesteads and horses grazing, it is a delight on a perfect blue-sky day.

The elevation gain is subtle as you head into the park. Soon we are back in the forest with Western Red Cedar and Aspens lining the road. At the viewpoint I'm surprised to see how much we climbed from the valley floor.


As in other state and national parks we've visited, signage is not great at Mount Spokane. When we come to the ski-lift there are workers doing repairs to the building and nothing and no one else there. The road continues but only goes to a condominium complex <weird>. 

We stop at the ski lift area to look around. I couldn't believe how steep the mountain is here, it looks straight up. I figure there has to be a park road on the other side. A gradual, wide, real, road to the top.

Mount Spokane summit waaaaaay up there

There is a small campground - tents only with a large covered group area and a large bathroom with flush toilets and sinks.

Tent site

We find North Summit Road which sounds like a road that goes to the summit. We've become road trip geniuses.....

It starts out in the trees, a decently wide road. It quickly gets very steep. Then it gets very narrow. And steeper. Then the trees disappear. There are no guard rails. At the sharp turns there is no visible road ahead of me. Just wide open blue skies to no where. Breathing is getting difficult.

It's not the altitude, I'm truly terrified. Of course Bill offers to drive but knows I couldn't handle the passenger seat either. There's no going back. Hell, going forward is sketchy. It seems to go on forever, steadily climbing.

Thankfully before I hyperventilate or my fingers break from gripping the wheel like a vise, we reach the top. I pull as far away from the edge, lean the seat back, and calm myself.

Bill checks out the summit which is the top of the ski lift and the radio towers we saw from the bottom. The bottom of that really steep mountain. What was I thinking coming up here? 

Mount Spokane summit, waaaay up here (this parking area is about six times wider than the road)

At least it is a nice 72 degrees......

I seriously consider walking back down, but as I regain my equilibrium I know I can just take it slow. Much of the fear was from not knowing what was "next".

Strangely, going down is a lot easier. A lot. I actually take a quick peak a the view. Which is breath taking in a much healthier way than the trip up. I laugh at myself and thank Bill for putting up with me. Can you imagine being in a car with a freaked-out psycho behind the wheel? He's a saint.

A couple stops for groceries and a bite of lunch and we're back home.

I think I might have an issue with heights......

22 comments:

  1. Oh boy, what a way to discover a fear of heights...behind the wheel on a ridiculously steep road! Glad you made it back to safety and sanity! ;-)

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  2. Lol!!! I'm so happy you got over your fear!! Glad Bill is better. 😊

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    1. I guess I can only go down steep roads now :-)

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  3. On roads like that the only & best place to be is in the driver's seat. I am a very poor passenger as well. At least in the driver's seat one is in control & knows what is going on when. The driver's mind is occupied while a passenger's mind is free to drive itself nuts.

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    1. Indeed! Although I was doing a pretty good job behind the wheel this time :-(

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  4. Boy talk about lack of signage. A state park with a ski lift and a tent campground but nothing else? I think this is not the place for me. Glad you are back to breathing normally. Actually I hate what ski lifts do to mountains. At least in the west they don't use up precious resources making artificial snow so people can ski.

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    1. I'm afraid they do some artificial snow here as well, although not during the last couple drought years. I can't imagine what it takes to secure those huge "posts" on the side of the mountain :-(

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  5. Pretty much how I felt driving the RV up to the Sunrise visitor center in Mt. Rainier National Park all the while the wife was happily snapping pictures telling me to look here and there and I had a death grip on the steering wheel. All I could think of when we were up there was making the trip back down which was worse for me because I was driving on the 100,000' dropoff side with tons of people coming up towards me.

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    1. Sometimes I ask Bill to take pics over tall bridges because I know I'm not going to see it from the RV while driving over them :-) Thankfully on Mt Spokane's road I was able to hug the mountain side coming down.

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  6. You and Sue would make a good pair:) I guess you won't be hiking with John and me any time soon:) We love ledges. But, seriously, I totally understand how these phobias are. I suffer from claustrophobia. It has pretty much gone but at its worst I couldn't fly without medicine, ride elevators, even ride in a real small car, or sit in the center of a row of people. So I can sympathize with how you felt. Glad going down was easier:)

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    1. I actually thought of Sue on that road and told Bill how she plans the day trips and then "poor Dave" has to endure her fear - it helped to remember I wasn't alone :-) It's just a ridiculous feeling, knowing it's in my head. Glad your claustrophobia is better!

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  7. I don't like steep drop-offs with no guard rails, either. And even though I enjoy steep hikes, I don't like hiking on trails with sheer drop-offs. There's something about those edges and looking down hundreds or thousands of feet…..makes me anxious just thinking about it!

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    1. Yep, I always feel like I'm being pulled over when walking a ledge, and that was amplified in the car as I felt the full weight of it being pulled :-( So not fun.

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  8. I surprised myself by being able to hike down into the Grand Canyon--I don't like heights either but have become much better over the years at driving them and being the passenger.

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    1. For some reason mine has gotten substantially worse in the last few years - probably those damn hormones!

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  9. I occasionally get bit by a fear of heights too and have also become better over the years. You are so right in that it's the unknown of NEXT in some places. However, I have no problems in an airplane. Maybe it's because someone else is in charge of taking care of me. I don't know but it can be an issue for sure. We were heading to Yosemite one year and I couldn't do it. I couldn't drive up the skinny little road up the mountain side. We had to turn around. Sometimes it bothers me and other times not so much. Too bad that I don't get to chose when and where though.

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    1. I too have no issues with flying and love even the smallest planes......it's weird. Yep, I wish I knew when it was going to hit so I could choose accordingly :-)

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  10. I wonder if the the road up is a firebreak or possibly a ski run. Maybe that's why there aren't any guard rails. I'm glad you made it to the top and had a chance to calm your nerves before the drive down.

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    1. It was the only way up and there were some workers at the top, but I can't imagine how anyone drives on it when there's snow :-(

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  11. You did good at conquering that mountain. Definitely worth the view. Next thing you know you'll be hang-gliding. ;)

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    1. I sure hope I never have that reaction again! Hang gliding might not be bad if I never had to jump off a ledge :-))))

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