Monday, June 16, 2014

Salmon fever in Riggins, Idaho

June 12 - 15, 2014:

Today the pain has gone to my knee, but all else is improved and I am able to get packed up, drain the tanks and we are on the road at 10 AM.  Twinkles says I should stop whining and be thankful I don't have a serious illness, so will comment no further on my minor medical issues.

We took route 55 north from Boise to McCall, then route 95 north to Riggins, Idaho where we found a free BLM campsite at the "Shorts Bar recreation area".  It was a beautiful ride the entire way, but particularly great along the Payette River which was solid white water rapids.  There were kayaks everywhere and many river outfitters.  Along route 95 we followed the Little Salmon River, another great kayaking and fishing river.  The scenery on this ride was great and rivals anything we have yet been through.  Our campsite at Shorts Bar is right on the Salmon River, the Salmon are running and the site is filled with fisherman as it has a boat ramp.  It's a postcard setting, but not exactly quiet, the sound of high powered outboard motors is frequent.

There we are before it got really crowded

The view of the Shorts Bar from a distance

View of the Salmon River 

Another river view

A rear view

A Goats Beard

There is an Elk farm across the road with the Elk grazing in a green irrigated pasture. I then noticed a few wild ones on the other side of the fence, watching their incarcerated relatives.  I wonder what they were thinking ?

Elk farm on the hillside across the road

The weather has turned cloudy with a 50% chance of rain along with some wind, but that doesn't stop these maniac salmon fishermen, women and children.  They started putting boats into the river at 4:45 AM and boats have been putting in pretty regular since then.  These people are experienced, I haven't seen one person struggle with getting boat into or out of the river and it is a fast flowing current.  There are some serious river craft here, lots of high performance sounding motors on these boats.  Riggins is pretty much all motels, restaurants, bars, river outfitters and fishing, actually a very cool town whose economy is based on tourism and the river.

We took a ride north on route 95 to White Bird, Idaho, then a mostly dirt road, Forest road 493, through beautiful country 17 miles to Pittsburg Landing on the Snake River.  The road is a little crazy as it climbs from the Salmon River up and over the mountains and then drops down to the Snake River.  We were held up for a while on the road by a herd of cows moving down the road who were being herded by two dogs and a man in full cowboy attire, very entertaining.  The Snake River Canyon is the deepest river canyon in North America with the "He Devil Mountain" rising 8,043 feet above the surface of the Snake River.

View from the forest road

The road ahead

Big ass horns !
View at Pittsburg Landing on the Snake River

Sunday I went for breakfast to the River Rock Cafe in Riggins which was very good and quite entertaining as I eavesdropped on two old guys reminiscing (much BS ?) about their glory days of hunting, fishing, cooking, beer drinking, etc loud enough for half the room to hear. As they left I had a chance to see them and somehow their appearances did not match up so well to the talk ?  Afterwards a few photos of downtown Riggins.

Prior to WWII you could take a boat like this downstream,
but could not make it back upstream on the Salmon, hence
they called it "The river of no return".  There was
even a movie done with Marilyn Monroe.

View from the park in Riggins

View of downtown Riggins

The Rodeo Club is now closed

The town of Riggins was formerly known as
"gouge eye" due to a fight injury by this tree
We then took a drive on forest road 517 which goes for 18 miles into Hells Canyon Wilderness to Heavens Gate lookout for a view of the Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils Mountains.  It was a cloudy overcast day and about halfway there, we went into the dense clouds so we turned around.  It was still a beautiful ride, great views, lots of wildflowers and big wilderness forest views.

After that we rode along the Little Salmon River for a few miles to check out the fishing action.  The Little Salmon River runs into the Main Salmon River just south of Riggins and is a beautiful fast river full of rapids.  Fisherman were lined up in areas along the banks, people camping out, lots of eating, drinking and some Salmon getting caught.  It seems like everyone in town is out Salmon fishing now judging by the crowds along the river. Actually I don't think you can live here if you aren't some kind of river rat, boat, fish or hunt.

View from the forest road

Beads of water on plant leaves

A steep drop off from the forest road

Another road view

A fresh Salmon catch

They were lined up along the Little Salmon River

It was tight fishing

The Kayaker's had to negotiate the lines and hooks

Lewiston Idaho is the next stop,

Twinkles and Slick

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