I’ll spare you the blow by blow backcountry road route Susan and I were on today other than to tell you that our explorations through gorgeous canyons and valleys and high plains and winding two-lanes from Baker City to Spokane put the “seen” in scenic.

Instead I’ll just leave you with this handsome devil of an osprey…

osprey.jpg

…and tell you that despite appearances I did not manage to capture him near the Powder River, nor the Snake River, nor the Imhaha — even though we were around all three surrounded by bucolica supreme. Neither was he cruising any of the hundreds of creeks we crossed. Let’s see there was Murderers Creek and Widows Creek and Lick Creek and Clear Creek and Eagle Creek… you get the idea.

No, instead, in the heart of our destination’s downtown, this fine feathered fellow had just finished a spectacular 40-foot plunge out of a tree into the Spokane River. Coming up empty beaked and/or taloned it took off across the vantage point Susan and I had and turned upstream with me snapping pictures like crazy. Little did I know until reviewing them later that I grabbed this one with the raptor practically staring back at me like Sean Penn to a paparazzo.

Bonus!

T’was indeed a marvelous day for wildlife. We found a very camera-friendly chipmunk up at the Hells Canyon Overlook. And we found a mule deer not much further down the road. After the osprey incident, we bumped into a yellow-bellied marmot, Spokane’s apparently lousy with the squirel cousins.

And here we are in Spokane after a long day on the road still with the energy to walk around and marvel at the city’s renovated Davenport District, whose centerpiece is the eye-poppingly restored Davenport Hotel (which were staying next to in the much more economical Rodeway Inn.

Tomorrow we’re threatening to detour up to Canada while in Idaha just because it’s right there for gawd’s sake, and expect to end up at Susan’s grandma’s house in Troy, Mont., where we’ll enjoy the Fourth of July.