Salmon River

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tsharp
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:04 pm

Salmon River

Post by tsharp » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:52 pm

WNTS, ENTS:
For the past several years Susan and I have gathered up some friends and organized a western river trip. This years target was the Salmon River in Idaho. The section we had a permit to do was for an 85-mile section between Corn Creek and Vinegar Creek. The river is in the federal Wild and Scenic system with the section we are doing is as classified wild and flows through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness administered by the Forest Service.
See the following links:
http://www.rivers.gov/wsr-salmon-main.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon_River_%28Idaho%29

The last week of August 2010 we took off with the first stop in Idaho at the Mike Harris Campground in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near the town of Victor in Teton County. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta Douglas var. latifolia) was plentiful with the largest measured at 4.1’ CBH and 111.1’ height. Elevation was at 6500’
Next stop was the Corn Creek Ranger Station and Campground where 10 of us would meet with the rangers and rig our boats for a 7 day - 84-mile river trip. We had 2 rafts, 2 catarafts, 1 IK, I kayak and a C-1. Corn Creek is where the road ends and is 46 river miles downstream of the town of North Fork and 8 miles downstream of the confluence of the Middle Fork. While driving along the river to our put-in we stopped to admire this herd of Elk.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Tom Connelly
While admiring the Elk a local person stopped and relayed the fact that in the 20 years he has driven this road it has only been in the last two that Elk would come down at this low elevation at this time of year. He believes it is because a newly established wolf pack has kept them on the move. There were over 100 head in this herd with several large bulls which are out of the picture to right after leading across the river.
Corn Creek is in Lemhi County 2900’ elevation. We would take out at the Carey Creek Boat Ramp in Valley County at 1900 elevation. This section has about 25 named rapids and as many unnamed. At low summer flows, it is considered class II –III+ run .
The enabling legislation for this wilderness area “grandfathered” in many activities that are incompatible to wilderness areas such as airstrips, pack bridges, dude ranches and horrors upon horrors - jet boat traffic. It also appears many of the rapids had been “improved” by blasting clear channels for transportation.
Near the ranger station and campground the two largest Ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) were measured at 11.9’ CBH and 119.8’ height and 7.1’ CBH and 122.5’. Also measured a Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L. ssp. cerulea) at 1.7’ and 21.8’
Fruit of Elderberry

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Carol Pamer
Day 1. We had the only swim of the trip at Ranier Rapid when the IK capsized. Camping was at Upper Devil’s Teeth (mile 12.0) on river right. Measured a nice Ponderosa Pine near the camping area at 11.9’ and 135.0’.
Day 2. The first order of business was to run Devil’s Teeth Rapid, which was right below our campsite. It was not a hard rapid but it claimed Susan’s camera when she left it unattached while rowing through the rapid. I pulled the same trick several years ago. We scouted Salmon Falls from river right. All ran with no problems but I forgot to look for relict populations of Grand Fir and Pacific Yew. We stopped at the Hot Springs on river left, which required a scramble up a slippery rock slope to enjoy a nice long soak in the enhanced rock pool with flowing hot water and a view.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Tom Connelly
Pictured from left is Turner Sharp, Susan Sharp, John Fichtner, Kathleen Simpson, Tom Connelly, Bridget Tincher, Ron Bucholtz, Carol Pamer, Ed Gertler
It was hard to leave this spot but we had miles to go. Camping was at Hancock Beach (mile 25.9) river left. Measured a Ponderosa Pine at 7.6’ and 129.6’.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by John Fichtner
Notice the evidence of fire. I would estimate 75 percent of the area we saw have been burnt in last 20 years.
Day 3. Scouted Bailey’s Rapid from river right. Two of us messed it up but no flips. Camped at Lower Yellow Pine Bar (mile 36.7) river right. This gave us a good view of Big Mallard Rapid. I measured a Rocky Mountain Doug-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)at 6.1’ and 111.2’ and a Ponderosa Pine at 7.5’ and 114.2’

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Turner Sharp
Pictured is Tom Connelly , John Fichtner
Day 4. Only one boat messed up at Big Mallard but no flip. We stopped at the Buckskin Bill Museum at Five Mile Bar. Some of us got beer and ice cream. Bill died in 1980; a German couple bought the property, developed the museum, and lives here year round. Camped at Bluebird Hole (mile 53.7) river right
Day 5. This was a lay over day with a late breakfast. Various hikes from camp scared up a rattlesnake, some Big Horn Sheep,lots of bear scat but no bears, some Mule Deer, plenty of Chukars and one big Ponderosa. The river terraces had plenty evidence of pit homes made by the original inhabitants.
Sorry I did get any measurements of this tree but I was informed it was equal or slightly larger then the biggest on at Corn Creek.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Tom Connelly
Pictured Bridget Tincher


Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Bridget Tincher
This view is looking west and downstream. It illustrates the north bank with a southern exposure is mostly grassland with some scattered Ponderosa Pines and the more heavily timbered south bank with a northern exposure.
Typical white sand beach camping area with a fish filled pool.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by John Fichtner
Measured a Doug-fir on a river terrace about 100’ above the Campground at 6.6’ and 78.0’
Day 6. When we pulled away from the previous night camped we encountered this herd of Big Horn Sheep.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Carol Pamer
Camped at T-Bone Creek (mile 71.6) river right and measured a Douglas-fir at 9.0 and 113.5’ and a Ponderosa Pine 6.1’ and 102.2’
Day 7. We pulled out at the Carey Creek Boat Ramp, several miles below Vinegar Creek and about 25 miles upriver from the town of Riggins. We de-rigged and somehow stuffed all our gear into vehicles and made it to Riggins to one of the wonders of the world, an automatic “groover “cleaner. All human waste must be carried down the river to be disposed of in sewer system. Recently several areas have installed what is essentially a large dishwasher that can dump multiple containers of human waste and go through a wash and rinse cycle making a distasteful job almost bearable. The first time we came across one it so impressed us that we had our picture taken with it.
Had a leisurely dinner in Riggins and headed to our reserved campsite (Swinging Bridge) in the Boise National forest near Banks Idaho. Enroute, I intended to measure several large Ponderosa Pines in the State Park near McCall Idaho. The CBH were 14.5’ and 13.7’ but we had dawdled over dinner and drinks to long and it was to dark to take height readings.
The swinging Bridge campground elevation was at 3300’ was a much wetter site. Measured a Doug-fir at 11.4’ and 147.5’

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by John Fichtner
Pictured Turner Sharp
One of our party had not had his fill of paddling and was off to a self-supported solo paddle in his C-1. His goal was to do the Yellowstone River from the Park to it confluence with the Missouri. I believe he made the 550 miles in 20 days not counting his shuttle time. Several of the others were flying out of Salt Lake City so we camped on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. There are no trees but it is really a unique experience to camp there and I highly recommend it. For more information on see the following links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Island_State_Park
http://www.stateparks.com/ponderosa.html

Typical view on Antelope Island

Click on image to see its original size
Last edited by tsharp on Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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James Parton
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Salmon River

Post by James Parton » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:03 am

Turner,

This looked like a very nice trip!

What is a Chukar? The first thing that comes to my mind is a " Woodchuck "?

Carrying human waste out ( Poop ) looks like it would be a pain. I would want to dig a small hole and use that or bury it. But on the other hand carrying it out for disposal may benefit the rivers since people are often a vector for giardia. The the water may be safer to drink there.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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tsharp
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:04 pm

Re: Salmon River

Post by tsharp » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:46 am

James:
Here is a picture of a Chukar. If you can find it.

Click on image to see its original size

We could hear a lot more chukars then we could see among the rocks. Even though they could fly well they traveled mostly on foot and would spend considerable amounts of time picking a route through rock jumbles when they have easily flown over them.
For better picture and more info check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukar_Partridge

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dbhguru
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Salmon River

Post by dbhguru » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:03 am

Turner,

Outstanding! Simply outstanding. What more is there to say. We'll be holding our WNTS rendezvous in Idaho this year at the very end of June. Any chance of you and John joining us? We'll be centered in Pocatello, but will go to may other locations

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Salmon River

Post by James Parton » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:09 am

Turner,

It's a bird. Cool! Looking at the link you provided, it is an introduced species.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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jamesrobertsmith
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:32 am

Re: Salmon River

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:28 pm

Wow! What an amazing float trip! One of the things my wife and I do enjoy together are canoe trips/rafting trips. As soon as I can retire we're going to switch from day trips to overnighters. We did a float trip last year on the Yellowstone but it was a day-long float. Saw some wildlife, but nothing like the huge herds in your photos.

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