Rock Climbing Photos

Climbing at Dinas Rock in Brecon Beacons
Climbing at Dinas Rock in Brecon Beacons cof
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  • Taken on May 22, 2019
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Climbing Rocks
Climbing Rocks
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  • Taken on May 20, 2019
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Night sky over Bills Creek camp
Night sky over Bills Creek camp Photo Credit: Fred Stillings. Sawtoothphoto on Flickr. Fred is a professional grade photographer. In addition to his real profession, he also has been successful selling his photographs. One of the many photo styles he has mastered, is that of the night sky, star trails, and illumintated backpacking tent in all seasons. I have backpacked with Fred a few times in the Wind River range and in Coyote Gulch in the Escalante River canyon area. He always returns with world class photos. So... I pretty much begged him to try some lit up backpacking tents and milky way star shots on this backpacking trip. It was cloudy early at our first night's campsite, So I figured that Fred might not get any star shots but perhaps could get some backpacking tents alight, photos. He did. He also stayed up and got up several times during the night to get some backpacking tent and star photographs. I was clueless. After reading for awhile (knowing that Fred might try a few tents at night photos), I turned off my LED headlamp and fell sound asleep. I didn't wake up once that night. I missed the show. I didn't get a glimpse of the night sky. And as long as I am confessing, I did the same thing at our second night's camp on Kirkwood Bar. I was dead tired, so when I read for a short while and turned off my headlamp, that was it. Next thing I knew it was daylight. The only photograph from this trip that I took that I am halfway proud of is of the long-tailed weasel on the last mile or so of our hike back to the Upper Pittsburg trailhead. The four night photos Sawtoothphoto took at Bills Creek are the photos from this trip I most covet and envy. Thanks Fred! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three Day Backpack Trip. Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. Friday May 3 - 5, 2019 Oldmantravels and Sawtoothphoto (Fred). Trail 102 on the Idaho side of the river. Trail 1726 runs along the Oregon side. Original plan for 3rd of May, 2019 backpack trip: Start backpacking early on Friday May 3rd, 2019 up into Hell's Canyon from the Idaho side (trail 102). Head up the canyon, camp two nights. Essentially one day up the canyon; one day to day hike from a base camp; and the third day backpack out. Background: 11th of October 2006. My wife and I took a jet boat trip with Killgore Adventures out of White Bird, Idaho. We took their jet boat from Lower Pittsburg Landing up to Hell's Canyon dam, with a quick stop at Kirkwood Ranch on the way up. Lunch and leg stretch at Hell's Canyon dam, them back down the river with a short stop at Sheep Creek ranch. A spectacular trip. One of the most memorable moments on that trip is when all of us on board spotted two "heads" bobbing down swiftly through the Granite Creek rapids, coming right towards our boat. Turned out to be two deer. Both amazingly made it through the rapids and clambered up the Oregon side of the river, unhurt. 26 April 2018. Lower Pittsburg Landing has long been a favorite campground of ours. So I have camped there many times. On a road trip I set up camp there once again, and decided with the beautiful sky and wildflowers in bloom, to take a very short hike up Trail 102 from Upper Pittsburg Landing. I had nothing but road trip gear with me and a really small lightweight day pack, but on my short hike up the canyon, perhaps a mile and then back, I decided I might do the same thing the next morning. I did. I didn't plan to hike up the trail more than a few miles the early morning of April 26, 2018, so I took zero food and only one cold can of diet Pepsi for drinking (and my daily requirement for a caffeine fix). The farther I hiked up the canyon the more I enjoyed it. I couldn't stop, so I didn't. I ended up at Kirkwood Ranch, five miles up the trail. I talked with the ranch summer caretaker (Garik), and decided to hike up to the Carter Mansion (about a mile and half round trip easy hike), and check out a nest of Great Horned Owls along the way. I did. Back at Kirkwood Ranch I was ready to chug my can of diet Pepsi, but it was hot now, and I wished for some water. Garik came up with a solution that made us both laugh (but it worked). He poured out the small amount of whisky that a rafter or jet boater had given him (he wasn't a drinker and neither was I and the last thing I would have wanted to drink on the hike out would have been warm whisky). So all said I put in about 12 miles of unplanned for day hiking and had relished every minute of it. FINAL PLAN FOR 3RD OF MAY, 2019 BACKPACKING TRIP: I saw some photographs of a trip some older women (but much younger than me), had taken. They had taken the jet boat mail boat up canyon for a fee and were dumped off on the Idaho side, so they had a one way backpacking trip back to their car. That appealed to me a LOT! So first I called Fred to see if he might want to go along with it. He did. So I made the call to Killgore Adventures and soon had us set up for a ride up Hell's Canyon and a drop off. My first choice was Bernard Creek (McGaffee Cabin) but if the high water prevented a drop off there, then Johnson Bar would work. Then the two of us would have an easy 20 mile or so backpacking trip back to a vehicle we would leave at Upper Pittsburg Landing since the jet boat leaves from Lower Pittsburg Landing. Plan ready. Now for the weather. I watched the weather forecast for White Bird, Idaho like a hawk. It didn't look good. Rain. Rain. More rain. Fairly cold, but Fred and I pledged go anyway. What happened in short: The three days for our trip would now be mostly sunny, no rain and high daytime temperatures in the high 70's that during the hottest part of the day in a rock canyon like Hell's Canyon, can feel much hotter. NOTE: I am going to post a few photographs of our May 2019 trip in chronological order and I am going to post a lot of them. I didn't get any spectacular photos (None will appear in Flickr Explore), but I did try to capture the trip well along the way. In addition to the many photos of this trip, at will, I am going to include some of the photos from the October 2011 jet boat trip and the April of 2018 day hike. The first photos I post are going to be a few maps (so you can follow along) or our May 2019 route; and a photo of the gear I took for the backpacking (in case you are interested). Here goes: FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019 Fred and I left Riggins, Idaho, where we had stayed Thursday night, early in the morning for our drive to Upper and Lower Pittsburg Landing. We didn't want to rush the driver nor miss the boat. We both stopped our vehicles for a few photo ops on the drive up over Pittsburg Saddle and made a planned stop to visit the Native American rock art on the way to upper Pittsburg Landing. We did. Two young women, attired in outdoor apparel were walking down the road towards us we approached the far trail head parking lot at Upper Pittsburg Landing. There was only one other car in the parking lot and it had Washington plates. We could see hiking packs on the picnic table and what looked like might have been a tent camping site from the night before. I loaded all my backpacking gear into Fred's SUV from my Honda Fit, then locked my car up with a sun shield placed in the windshield. Just as we were about to leave for Lower Pittsburg Landing, the two young women walked up and we started to chat. Where you from is always first right? They were a married couple from Spokane and had hiked and backpacked in the canyon extensively in the past. They knew the canyon and they had the experience and gear to do it right. When we asked about their plans they said they were taking a jet boat up to Bernard Creek and the jet boat was supposed to pick them up at Upper Pittsburg Landing at around 10 am. Well it didn't take long to figure out that all four of us had made the same plan to ride up canyon with Killgore Adventures and backpack for a few days. I didn't know Killgore would pick up backpackers at Upper Pittsburg Landing or Fred and I could have left both our vehicles there, but no worry. Fred and I were both looking for all the jet boat travel or fee would cover! So off Fred and I drove to Lower Pittsburg Landing. There were five young, smiling, healthy looking, young people (three guys and two gals) at Lower Pittsburg. They were wearing Montana Conservation Corp T-shirts and had massive packs and double ended cross cut saws, getting ready for a twenty minute jet boat trip up the Snake River (on an Idaho Fish and Game jet boat), and then work their tail feathers off, on the High Line trail, which the said had not had much maintenance in a very long time. Their enthusiasm and great attitudes were infectious. They couldn't wait for their jet boat ride and to get up in the canyon and get to work. I fortunately had fiver Costco cookies left as potential boat snacks, so I gave the five cookies to the five of them. They were elated. Made me feel great. Fred and I had both of our backpacks ready to go by 9:30 am, a half an hour before the boat was scheduled to leave. The Killgore jet boat,the Horn Star, was in the parking lot along with the Idaho Fish and Game jet boat, and two others. Into the lot drove Captain Kurt Killgore The Killgore jet boat that my wife and I took in October of 2006 was the "Happy Hour". The Killgore boat for this May 2019 trip would be the "Horn Star". Kurt captained both. Kurt was still in great shape and efficient as always. He single handedly trailered the jet boat down the ramp and launched it. The he drove his pickup the parking area and asked if we were "ready to go" as he walked up to us. But where are the others Fred and I thought but didn't ask. We were it. The Saturday Killgore boat would be full, but on this day it would be just me and Fred and the Spokane couple at Upper Pittsburg, making a drop off run up to Bernard Creek. Just the four of us and Captain Kurt. I was delighted beyond words. Now I could hop around the entire boat, snapping photos all the way up the river. I talked with Captain Kurt a couple of times and mentioned the deer running Granite Rapids on October 11, 2006 and his face lit up. "Never seen anything like that before or since. And you know those two deer were whitetail deer, unusual in every way". "Yes", he said "I remember that day well." We chatted a little with the Spokane gals (as I will now call them) and then all got lost in our own thoughts and the grandeur of the fast arriving Hells' Canyon scenery on a high powered jet propelled river boat. Here is some of the main landmarks we would pass going up Hell's Canyon to Bernard Creek (River mile 14) from Lower Pittsburg Landing launch (River mile 34): Corral Creek; Durham Creek; Muir Creek; Kirby Creek; Kirkwood Bar; Suicide Point; Temperance Creek Ranch; Big Bar; Caribou Creek; High Bar; Willow Creek; Sand Creek cabin; Sheep Creek ranch; Johnson Bar; Rush Creek rapids; Sluice Creek; Bills Creek; Waterspout Creek; Bernard Creek (Our drop off place). JET BOAT RIDE ENDS AT BERNARD CREEK. BACKPACKING TRIP BEGINS: Captain Kurt told me of some Native American pictographs near the trail at the Bernard Creek landing and drop off point, so Fred and I hiked directly to them. The we crossed the foot bridge and went up to enjoy some time looking in and around the historic McGaffee cabin. Some of the things that were brought into the remote canyon ranches during the late 1800s and early 1900s are unbelievable. A bit wood burning iron stove in the McGaffee cabin and lots of abandoned farm equipment made for interesting exploration. Like homesteads I had once studied back in Eastern Kentucky, old newspapers and magazines were popular "wall papering" material to keep out the drafts and presumably give life and use to the material, after untold numbers of reading. McGaffee cabin had excellent magazine wallpaper, dating well the wall papering project. The Spokane gals, showed up and we chatted briefly and exchanged the usual trail system courtesy of "you take our photograph and we will take yours". Cameras and iPhones were exchanged and we snapped photos of each other. Then Fred and I decided we would carry our backpacks and hike farther up the canyon. We both agreed that no matter what, we wouldn't go farther south, upriver than Three Creeks. Poison ivy was everywhere, and the trail hadn't been well used, so some of the stuff almost blocked clear passage of the trail at times. Besides poison ivy we found that the high water had covered the trail in places forcing us to cross country or detour a few times on our hike back down the canyon. That all said we hiked on upriver about a mile and half and got great views across the river at Hat Creek, Pete Wilson's place, and Saddle Creek. Three rafters floated down the Snake River while we were hiking this portion of trail 102. We could see Dry Gulch up ahead of us when we voted to turn around, head back to McGaffee cabin, have a bite to eat, then head downriver stopping at the best camping location we could find. We had been up since five that morning and an early campsite selection sounded good. On the way downriver from opposite Saddle Creek, Fred spotted the first two rattlesnakes of the three would see this day. The first slithered off across the trail and I never did see it. The second coiled up in some brush next to the trail and though well camouflaged, was easy to spot since he used his rattle. Not sure, but I think all three rattlesnakes we saw this day were Western rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus). Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus vividis) is listed as "excitable and aggressive". I don't know if that fits all three we saw, but number three you could add: unpredictable". We hiked just over a couple of miles when we found just what we were looking for. There might be better places to camp on down the river but we figured setting up our tents and camp early, then explore around with some early evening hiking with just a camera in hand, sounded good. Bills Creek (River mile 16) was tiny, but everything we were looking for in a good campsite was there: The creek itself cold and clear, easy to gather and filter water; the remains of the Si Bullock stone house, with a dilapidated iron stove gave the place a historic feel; and Bill Creek rapids right next to the right bank and a short ways above were we set up camp. Bills Creek/Si Bullock's place campsite was a real winner. The Spokane gals were nowhere to be seen, but we though over the course of the next few days we might leapfrog and run into each other again, which we did. Camp was all set up and organized. Fred took off upstream with his camera, and I decided to see if I might be able to climb up Bills Creek (avoiding all the poison ivy) and get a look at a small waterfalls I had noticed. I also hoped to get some raven eye's view of our campsite from above. We later ended up back at our camp with plenty of time for another short hiking excursion, so again with just camera gear, we headed downriver this time and hiked around a mile and half past Sluice Creek on the Oregon side, to just above the Rush Creek rapids, that we had traveled through in the jet boat just hours earlier. Along the way, it was my turn to find a rattlesnake. It was as close as I have ever come to stepping on one. It was coiled beside the trail under some overhanging grass (giving him shade). He blended so well with the sandy trail that I just didn't see him until I was two steps away from stepping on or near him. I backed up and motioned to Fred, following behind me, that we had rattlesnake number three on the trail. This snake did not rattle, uncoil or do anything. So we waited a few moments and the snake didn't move. We could have just hiked off the trail and gone around it, but I didn't want to look for him on the way back especially in the impending low light. I suggested that we try not to irritate the snake, but persuade it to move well off the trail. Fred placed the bottom of this camera tripod a few feet behind the snake and it seemed to take the hint. The rattlesnake slithered across the trail, through the grass and toward the far away river, at a leisurely and dignified pace. Then "my rattlesnake" as I now called it, inexplicably changed his mind and made an abrupt U-turn in the grass and seemed to be intent on returning to its exact place in the trail, where we found him. When he retuned. within about six feet of the trail, Fred pointed his tripod legs toward the snake, which really seemed to piss him off. He coiled and rattled, flicking his tongue to test the air. We gave up. We placed a large stone in a vertical position in the trail, and hiked on. We could use due caution when we reached that point on our return. We never saw my rattlesnake again. Clearly he won the trail standoff. I slept well at Bill Creek camp. Fred the intrepid photographer vowed to get up during the night to see if there might be some star trail photo ops. It was new moon time so there wouldn't be any light competition. I hope his efforts paid off. Based on one photograph he just forwarded to me, he hit a home run with his night sky photography efforts. Stunning. I will ask his permission to post it with my photos of this trip. SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 Fred and I were up, had breakfast, cleared camp, and hoisted our backpacks by a little after 6 am. It was cool and I was looking forward to trail miles hiked out of the sun and the heat. We quickly retrace the section of trail we had hiked the evening before to Rush Creek Rapids, then on through Johnson Bar (losing the trail for a short distance) and arriving at the footbridge over Sheep Creek. I hiked up the creek a short ways and saw a Sharp-shinned hawk hopping about in a ponderosa pine seemingly unafraid of me, but gazing up often at ravens or crows, that appeared to be taking an interest in him, with fly overs. Sheep Creek ranch like McGaffee cabin, was an excellent place to relax, enjoy the shade, filter some cold water, eat a bite, and look for farm equipment photo ops. I remembered well the Sheep Creek barn my wife and I had photographed back in 2006. The ever diminishing remains of a Ford model "T" with its three pedals, sits in overgrown grass near the landing spot at Sheep Creek ranch. Leaving Sheep Creek we hiked past Sand Creek (Oregon side) and Willow Creek (Idaho side). We left the trail to hike down among the impressive grove of ponderosa pine (posited to benefit from the alum soil in the area), and eat a bite in the shade, with Sturgeon Rock just off shore. While there the Killgore Adventure boat came traveling up the river and slowed to let all the passengers see Sturgeon Rock and Pine Bar. We gave thumbs up to Kurt as he made his way on up the river. At Meyer (Myers) Creek we met up with the Spokane gals. They were doing the same thing we wanted to do: enjoy the shade; filter some cold water; eat a bite; and most of all hydrate. We got into and extended chat session at this point. It was travel and hiking stories one after another. I was truly impressed with this couple's outlook toward traveling as a priority and hiking. They set aside 30 days each year to travel and had hiked in the Caucuses among other places and had an ambitious bucket list of places to visit. They also had an impressive list of places visited and hike to in the Western U.S. We split up again but would meet them yet again on the high point of Suicide Point, where I would photograph Captain Kurt's Killgore Adventure boat, the Horn Star, gracefully curve down the Snake River below us. The Spokane gals, veterans of hiking, boating, camping, and backpacking had a place they planned to spend Saturday night to avoid any of the "crowd" that can gather at Kirkwood Bar. Fred and I chose to go on to Kirkwood, deal with any crowds, and have an easy five and half mile hike out to the Upper Pittsburg trail head on Sunday. We had put in a lot of trail miles by the time we set up camp at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. There were other campers but certainly not a crowd and no loud hikers or campers at all. Fred took the hike up Kirkwood Creek to the Carter Mansion, while I stayed close to camp. When he returned I asked him if he had seen any great horned owls nesting, which he replied he hadn't. SUNDAY 5 MAY 2019 We were up early and backpacks shouldered early. We wanted to hike the switchback section of trail up our of Kirkwood early before it got hot. We did. Before 6:15 am we were starting up the switchback section of trail at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. The hike back to Upper Pittsburg Landing was routine but enjoyable. Two things stand out in my memory. First the ford at Corral Creek. There are two ways to get across the high, fast running creek by rock hopping. The other way of course is to get wet. We both got across Corral Creek without mishap, so had an easy mile to hike back to the trailhead. It was the last mile of the 26 total miles I would hike and the 27 Fred would hike (Carter Mansion extra), that I got the last wildlife encounter surprise and photo op. Close to the trail in a boulder field, I saw and photographed what I thought at the time was an "out of place" American Pine Martin. But after returning home and checking my books and a new field guide I purchased on 5.10.19 - - I now believe it was a Long-tailed weasel, and not a pine martin. I have seen a fair number of weasel in my life but never with that particular two tone coloration nor the "marten like ears". Never too old to learn. Earlier that day on a steep ledge section of trail, Fred had a similar experience with a "trail raccoon' hiking in the opposite direction. They came together fact to face around a bend in the trail, and the more agile raccoon gracefully bailed, and yielded the trail to us. By 8:30 am, we were at Upper Pittsburg Landing and my little Honda Fit. It had been a great three days. I dropped Fred off at Lower Pittsburg Landing and soon he was on his way back home to Boise and I was on my way home to Eastern Washington. CODA: If you decide to on a visit of your own to Hell's Canyon please consider reading two books before you go: 1. SNAKE RIVER IN HELLS CANYON by Johnny Carrey, Cort Conley and Ace Barton. 2. HOME BELOW HELLS CANYON by Grace Jordan If a jet boat trip of any kind in the Hells Canyon or Lower Salmon River interests you, you couldn't do better than contact: KILLGORES ADVENTURES White Bird, Idaho 800 469 8757 or 208 839-2255 I talked to both Jenny and Kandy in their office in making the arrangements for the Bernard Creek drop off. They were both super. Kurt Killgore is as good as they get for a jet boat captain. Give them a try. Enjoy my photographs. Canon Powershot SX720 HS was my camera of choice for this trip. the 40 X optical zoom came in handy several times. especially with the hawk and weasel photographs. Oldmantravels 8 May 2019
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Before lights out. Bills Creek camp
Before lights out. Bills Creek camp Photo Credit: Fred Stillings. Sawtoothphoto on Flickr. Fred is a professional grade photographer. In addition to his real profession, he also has been successful selling his photographs. One of the many photo styles he has mastered, is that of the night sky, star trails, and illumintated backpacking tent in all seasons. I have backpacked with Fred a few times in the Wind River range and in Coyote Gulch in the Escalante River canyon area. He always returns with world class photos. So... I pretty much begged him to try some lit up backpacking tents and milky way star shots on this backpacking trip. It was cloudy early at our first night's campsite, So I figured that Fred might not get any star shots but perhaps could get some backpacking tents alight, photos. He did. He also stayed up and got up several times during the night to get some backpacking tent and star photographs. I was clueless. After reading for awhile (knowing that Fred might try a few tents at night photos), I turned off my LED headlamp and fell sound asleep. I didn't wake up once that night. I missed the show. I didn't get a glimpse of the night sky. And as long as I am confessing, I did the same thing at our second night's camp on Kirkwood Bar. I was dead tired, so when I read for a short while and turned off my headlamp, that was it. Next thing I knew it was daylight. The only photograph from this trip that I took that I am halfway proud of is of the long-tailed weasel on the last mile or so of our hike back to the Upper Pittsburg trailhead. The four night photos Sawtoothphoto took at Bills Creek are the photos from this trip I most covet and envy. Thanks Fred! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three Day Backpack Trip. Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. Friday May 3 - 5, 2019 Oldmantravels and Sawtoothphoto (Fred). Trail 102 on the Idaho side of the river. Trail 1726 runs along the Oregon side. Original plan for 3rd of May, 2019 backpack trip: Start backpacking early on Friday May 3rd, 2019 up into Hell's Canyon from the Idaho side (trail 102). Head up the canyon, camp two nights. Essentially one day up the canyon; one day to day hike from a base camp; and the third day backpack out. Background: 11th of October 2006. My wife and I took a jet boat trip with Killgore Adventures out of White Bird, Idaho. We took their jet boat from Lower Pittsburg Landing up to Hell's Canyon dam, with a quick stop at Kirkwood Ranch on the way up. Lunch and leg stretch at Hell's Canyon dam, them back down the river with a short stop at Sheep Creek ranch. A spectacular trip. One of the most memorable moments on that trip is when all of us on board spotted two "heads" bobbing down swiftly through the Granite Creek rapids, coming right towards our boat. Turned out to be two deer. Both amazingly made it through the rapids and clambered up the Oregon side of the river, unhurt. 26 April 2018. Lower Pittsburg Landing has long been a favorite campground of ours. So I have camped there many times. On a road trip I set up camp there once again, and decided with the beautiful sky and wildflowers in bloom, to take a very short hike up Trail 102 from Upper Pittsburg Landing. I had nothing but road trip gear with me and a really small lightweight day pack, but on my short hike up the canyon, perhaps a mile and then back, I decided I might do the same thing the next morning. I did. I didn't plan to hike up the trail more than a few miles the early morning of April 26, 2018, so I took zero food and only one cold can of diet Pepsi for drinking (and my daily requirement for a caffeine fix). The farther I hiked up the canyon the more I enjoyed it. I couldn't stop, so I didn't. I ended up at Kirkwood Ranch, five miles up the trail. I talked with the ranch summer caretaker (Garik), and decided to hike up to the Carter Mansion (about a mile and half round trip easy hike), and check out a nest of Great Horned Owls along the way. I did. Back at Kirkwood Ranch I was ready to chug my can of diet Pepsi, but it was hot now, and I wished for some water. Garik came up with a solution that made us both laugh (but it worked). He poured out the small amount of whisky that a rafter or jet boater had given him (he wasn't a drinker and neither was I and the last thing I would have wanted to drink on the hike out would have been warm whisky). So all said I put in about 12 miles of unplanned for day hiking and had relished every minute of it. FINAL PLAN FOR 3RD OF MAY, 2019 BACKPACKING TRIP: I saw some photographs of a trip some older women (but much younger than me), had taken. They had taken the jet boat mail boat up canyon for a fee and were dumped off on the Idaho side, so they had a one way backpacking trip back to their car. That appealed to me a LOT! So first I called Fred to see if he might want to go along with it. He did. So I made the call to Killgore Adventures and soon had us set up for a ride up Hell's Canyon and a drop off. My first choice was Bernard Creek (McGaffee Cabin) but if the high water prevented a drop off there, then Johnson Bar would work. Then the two of us would have an easy 20 mile or so backpacking trip back to a vehicle we would leave at Upper Pittsburg Landing since the jet boat leaves from Lower Pittsburg Landing. Plan ready. Now for the weather. I watched the weather forecast for White Bird, Idaho like a hawk. It didn't look good. Rain. Rain. More rain. Fairly cold, but Fred and I pledged go anyway. What happened in short: The three days for our trip would now be mostly sunny, no rain and high daytime temperatures in the high 70's that during the hottest part of the day in a rock canyon like Hell's Canyon, can feel much hotter. NOTE: I am going to post a few photographs of our May 2019 trip in chronological order and I am going to post a lot of them. I didn't get any spectacular photos (None will appear in Flickr Explore), but I did try to capture the trip well along the way. In addition to the many photos of this trip, at will, I am going to include some of the photos from the October 2011 jet boat trip and the April of 2018 day hike. The first photos I post are going to be a few maps (so you can follow along) or our May 2019 route; and a photo of the gear I took for the backpacking (in case you are interested). Here goes: FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019 Fred and I left Riggins, Idaho, where we had stayed Thursday night, early in the morning for our drive to Upper and Lower Pittsburg Landing. We didn't want to rush the driver nor miss the boat. We both stopped our vehicles for a few photo ops on the drive up over Pittsburg Saddle and made a planned stop to visit the Native American rock art on the way to upper Pittsburg Landing. We did. Two young women, attired in outdoor apparel were walking down the road towards us we approached the far trail head parking lot at Upper Pittsburg Landing. There was only one other car in the parking lot and it had Washington plates. We could see hiking packs on the picnic table and what looked like might have been a tent camping site from the night before. I loaded all my backpacking gear into Fred's SUV from my Honda Fit, then locked my car up with a sun shield placed in the windshield. Just as we were about to leave for Lower Pittsburg Landing, the two young women walked up and we started to chat. Where you from is always first right? They were a married couple from Spokane and had hiked and backpacked in the canyon extensively in the past. They knew the canyon and they had the experience and gear to do it right. When we asked about their plans they said they were taking a jet boat up to Bernard Creek and the jet boat was supposed to pick them up at Upper Pittsburg Landing at around 10 am. Well it didn't take long to figure out that all four of us had made the same plan to ride up canyon with Killgore Adventures and backpack for a few days. I didn't know Killgore would pick up backpackers at Upper Pittsburg Landing or Fred and I could have left both our vehicles there, but no worry. Fred and I were both looking for all the jet boat travel or fee would cover! So off Fred and I drove to Lower Pittsburg Landing. There were five young, smiling, healthy looking, young people (three guys and two gals) at Lower Pittsburg. They were wearing Montana Conservation Corp T-shirts and had massive packs and double ended cross cut saws, getting ready for a twenty minute jet boat trip up the Snake River (on an Idaho Fish and Game jet boat), and then work their tail feathers off, on the High Line trail, which the said had not had much maintenance in a very long time. Their enthusiasm and great attitudes were infectious. They couldn't wait for their jet boat ride and to get up in the canyon and get to work. I fortunately had fiver Costco cookies left as potential boat snacks, so I gave the five cookies to the five of them. They were elated. Made me feel great. Fred and I had both of our backpacks ready to go by 9:30 am, a half an hour before the boat was scheduled to leave. The Killgore jet boat,the Horn Star, was in the parking lot along with the Idaho Fish and Game jet boat, and two others. Into the lot drove Captain Kurt Killgore The Killgore jet boat that my wife and I took in October of 2006 was the "Happy Hour". The Killgore boat for this May 2019 trip would be the "Horn Star". Kurt captained both. Kurt was still in great shape and efficient as always. He single handedly trailered the jet boat down the ramp and launched it. The he drove his pickup the parking area and asked if we were "ready to go" as he walked up to us. But where are the others Fred and I thought but didn't ask. We were it. The Saturday Killgore boat would be full, but on this day it would be just me and Fred and the Spokane couple at Upper Pittsburg, making a drop off run up to Bernard Creek. Just the four of us and Captain Kurt. I was delighted beyond words. Now I could hop around the entire boat, snapping photos all the way up the river. I talked with Captain Kurt a couple of times and mentioned the deer running Granite Rapids on October 11, 2006 and his face lit up. "Never seen anything like that before or since. And you know those two deer were whitetail deer, unusual in every way". "Yes", he said "I remember that day well." We chatted a little with the Spokane gals (as I will now call them) and then all got lost in our own thoughts and the grandeur of the fast arriving Hells' Canyon scenery on a high powered jet propelled river boat. Here is some of the main landmarks we would pass going up Hell's Canyon to Bernard Creek (River mile 14) from Lower Pittsburg Landing launch (River mile 34): Corral Creek; Durham Creek; Muir Creek; Kirby Creek; Kirkwood Bar; Suicide Point; Temperance Creek Ranch; Big Bar; Caribou Creek; High Bar; Willow Creek; Sand Creek cabin; Sheep Creek ranch; Johnson Bar; Rush Creek rapids; Sluice Creek; Bills Creek; Waterspout Creek; Bernard Creek (Our drop off place). JET BOAT RIDE ENDS AT BERNARD CREEK. BACKPACKING TRIP BEGINS: Captain Kurt told me of some Native American pictographs near the trail at the Bernard Creek landing and drop off point, so Fred and I hiked directly to them. The we crossed the foot bridge and went up to enjoy some time looking in and around the historic McGaffee cabin. Some of the things that were brought into the remote canyon ranches during the late 1800s and early 1900s are unbelievable. A bit wood burning iron stove in the McGaffee cabin and lots of abandoned farm equipment made for interesting exploration. Like homesteads I had once studied back in Eastern Kentucky, old newspapers and magazines were popular "wall papering" material to keep out the drafts and presumably give life and use to the material, after untold numbers of reading. McGaffee cabin had excellent magazine wallpaper, dating well the wall papering project. The Spokane gals, showed up and we chatted briefly and exchanged the usual trail system courtesy of "you take our photograph and we will take yours". Cameras and iPhones were exchanged and we snapped photos of each other. Then Fred and I decided we would carry our backpacks and hike farther up the canyon. We both agreed that no matter what, we wouldn't go farther south, upriver than Three Creeks. Poison ivy was everywhere, and the trail hadn't been well used, so some of the stuff almost blocked clear passage of the trail at times. Besides poison ivy we found that the high water had covered the trail in places forcing us to cross country or detour a few times on our hike back down the canyon. That all said we hiked on upriver about a mile and half and got great views across the river at Hat Creek, Pete Wilson's place, and Saddle Creek. Three rafters floated down the Snake River while we were hiking this portion of trail 102. We could see Dry Gulch up ahead of us when we voted to turn around, head back to McGaffee cabin, have a bite to eat, then head downriver stopping at the best camping location we could find. We had been up since five that morning and an early campsite selection sounded good. On the way downriver from opposite Saddle Creek, Fred spotted the first two rattlesnakes of the three would see this day. The first slithered off across the trail and I never did see it. The second coiled up in some brush next to the trail and though well camouflaged, was easy to spot since he used his rattle. Not sure, but I think all three rattlesnakes we saw this day were Western rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus). Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus vividis) is listed as "excitable and aggressive". I don't know if that fits all three we saw, but number three you could add: unpredictable". We hiked just over a couple of miles when we found just what we were looking for. There might be better places to camp on down the river but we figured setting up our tents and camp early, then explore around with some early evening hiking with just a camera in hand, sounded good. Bills Creek (River mile 16) was tiny, but everything we were looking for in a good campsite was there: The creek itself cold and clear, easy to gather and filter water; the remains of the Si Bullock stone house, with a dilapidated iron stove gave the place a historic feel; and Bill Creek rapids right next to the right bank and a short ways above were we set up camp. Bills Creek/Si Bullock's place campsite was a real winner. The Spokane gals were nowhere to be seen, but we though over the course of the next few days we might leapfrog and run into each other again, which we did. Camp was all set up and organized. Fred took off upstream with his camera, and I decided to see if I might be able to climb up Bills Creek (avoiding all the poison ivy) and get a look at a small waterfalls I had noticed. I also hoped to get some raven eye's view of our campsite from above. We later ended up back at our camp with plenty of time for another short hiking excursion, so again with just camera gear, we headed downriver this time and hiked around a mile and half past Sluice Creek on the Oregon side, to just above the Rush Creek rapids, that we had traveled through in the jet boat just hours earlier. Along the way, it was my turn to find a rattlesnake. It was as close as I have ever come to stepping on one. It was coiled beside the trail under some overhanging grass (giving him shade). He blended so well with the sandy trail that I just didn't see him until I was two steps away from stepping on or near him. I backed up and motioned to Fred, following behind me, that we had rattlesnake number three on the trail. This snake did not rattle, uncoil or do anything. So we waited a few moments and the snake didn't move. We could have just hiked off the trail and gone around it, but I didn't want to look for him on the way back especially in the impending low light. I suggested that we try not to irritate the snake, but persuade it to move well off the trail. Fred placed the bottom of this camera tripod a few feet behind the snake and it seemed to take the hint. The rattlesnake slithered across the trail, through the grass and toward the far away river, at a leisurely and dignified pace. Then "my rattlesnake" as I now called it, inexplicably changed his mind and made an abrupt U-turn in the grass and seemed to be intent on returning to its exact place in the trail, where we found him. When he retuned. within about six feet of the trail, Fred pointed his tripod legs toward the snake, which really seemed to piss him off. He coiled and rattled, flicking his tongue to test the air. We gave up. We placed a large stone in a vertical position in the trail, and hiked on. We could use due caution when we reached that point on our return. We never saw my rattlesnake again. Clearly he won the trail standoff. I slept well at Bill Creek camp. Fred the intrepid photographer vowed to get up during the night to see if there might be some star trail photo ops. It was new moon time so there wouldn't be any light competition. I hope his efforts paid off. Based on one photograph he just forwarded to me, he hit a home run with his night sky photography efforts. Stunning. I will ask his permission to post it with my photos of this trip. SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 Fred and I were up, had breakfast, cleared camp, and hoisted our backpacks by a little after 6 am. It was cool and I was looking forward to trail miles hiked out of the sun and the heat. We quickly retrace the section of trail we had hiked the evening before to Rush Creek Rapids, then on through Johnson Bar (losing the trail for a short distance) and arriving at the footbridge over Sheep Creek. I hiked up the creek a short ways and saw a Sharp-shinned hawk hopping about in a ponderosa pine seemingly unafraid of me, but gazing up often at ravens or crows, that appeared to be taking an interest in him, with fly overs. Sheep Creek ranch like McGaffee cabin, was an excellent place to relax, enjoy the shade, filter some cold water, eat a bite, and look for farm equipment photo ops. I remembered well the Sheep Creek barn my wife and I had photographed back in 2006. The ever diminishing remains of a Ford model "T" with its three pedals, sits in overgrown grass near the landing spot at Sheep Creek ranch. Leaving Sheep Creek we hiked past Sand Creek (Oregon side) and Willow Creek (Idaho side). We left the trail to hike down among the impressive grove of ponderosa pine (posited to benefit from the alum soil in the area), and eat a bite in the shade, with Sturgeon Rock just off shore. While there the Killgore Adventure boat came traveling up the river and slowed to let all the passengers see Sturgeon Rock and Pine Bar. We gave thumbs up to Kurt as he made his way on up the river. At Meyer (Myers) Creek we met up with the Spokane gals. They were doing the same thing we wanted to do: enjoy the shade; filter some cold water; eat a bite; and most of all hydrate. We got into and extended chat session at this point. It was travel and hiking stories one after another. I was truly impressed with this couple's outlook toward traveling as a priority and hiking. They set aside 30 days each year to travel and had hiked in the Caucuses among other places and had an ambitious bucket list of places to visit. They also had an impressive list of places visited and hike to in the Western U.S. We split up again but would meet them yet again on the high point of Suicide Point, where I would photograph Captain Kurt's Killgore Adventure boat, the Horn Star, gracefully curve down the Snake River below us. The Spokane gals, veterans of hiking, boating, camping, and backpacking had a place they planned to spend Saturday night to avoid any of the "crowd" that can gather at Kirkwood Bar. Fred and I chose to go on to Kirkwood, deal with any crowds, and have an easy five and half mile hike out to the Upper Pittsburg trail head on Sunday. We had put in a lot of trail miles by the time we set up camp at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. There were other campers but certainly not a crowd and no loud hikers or campers at all. Fred took the hike up Kirkwood Creek to the Carter Mansion, while I stayed close to camp. When he returned I asked him if he had seen any great horned owls nesting, which he replied he hadn't. SUNDAY 5 MAY 2019 We were up early and backpacks shouldered early. We wanted to hike the switchback section of trail up our of Kirkwood early before it got hot. We did. Before 6:15 am we were starting up the switchback section of trail at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. The hike back to Upper Pittsburg Landing was routine but enjoyable. Two things stand out in my memory. First the ford at Corral Creek. There are two ways to get across the high, fast running creek by rock hopping. The other way of course is to get wet. We both got across Corral Creek without mishap, so had an easy mile to hike back to the trailhead. It was the last mile of the 26 total miles I would hike and the 27 Fred would hike (Carter Mansion extra), that I got the last wildlife encounter surprise and photo op. Close to the trail in a boulder field, I saw and photographed what I thought at the time was an "out of place" American Pine Martin. But after returning home and checking my books and a new field guide I purchased on 5.10.19 - - I now believe it was a Long-tailed weasel, and not a pine martin. I have seen a fair number of weasel in my life but never with that particular two tone coloration nor the "marten like ears". Never too old to learn. Earlier that day on a steep ledge section of trail, Fred had a similar experience with a "trail raccoon' hiking in the opposite direction. They came together fact to face around a bend in the trail, and the more agile raccoon gracefully bailed, and yielded the trail to us. By 8:30 am, we were at Upper Pittsburg Landing and my little Honda Fit. It had been a great three days. I dropped Fred off at Lower Pittsburg Landing and soon he was on his way back home to Boise and I was on my way home to Eastern Washington. CODA: If you decide to on a visit of your own to Hell's Canyon please consider reading two books before you go: 1. SNAKE RIVER IN HELLS CANYON by Johnny Carrey, Cort Conley and Ace Barton. 2. HOME BELOW HELLS CANYON by Grace Jordan If a jet boat trip of any kind in the Hells Canyon or Lower Salmon River interests you, you couldn't do better than contact: KILLGORES ADVENTURES White Bird, Idaho 800 469 8757 or 208 839-2255 I talked to both Jenny and Kandy in their office in making the arrangements for the Bernard Creek drop off. They were both super. Kurt Killgore is as good as they get for a jet boat captain. Give them a try. Enjoy my photographs. Canon Powershot SX720 HS was my camera of choice for this trip. the 40 X optical zoom came in handy several times. especially with the hawk and weasel photographs. Oldmantravels 8 May 2019
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Night reading. Bills Creek camp
Night reading. Bills Creek camp Photo Credit: Fred Stillings. Sawtoothphoto on Flickr. Fred is a professional grade photographer. In addition to his real profession, he also has been successful selling his photographs. One of the many photo styles he has mastered, is that of the night sky, star trails, and illumintated backpacking tent in all seasons. I have backpacked with Fred a few times in the Wind River range and in Coyote Gulch in the Escalante River canyon area. He always returns with world class photos. So... I pretty much begged him to try some lit up backpacking tents and milky way star shots on this backpacking trip. It was cloudy early at our first night's campsite, So I figured that Fred might not get any star shots but perhaps could get some backpacking tents alight, photos. He did. He also stayed up and got up several times during the night to get some backpacking tent and star photographs. I was clueless. After reading for awhile (knowing that Fred might try a few tents at night photos), I turned off my LED headlamp and fell sound asleep. I didn't wake up once that night. I missed the show. I didn't get a glimpse of the night sky. And as long as I am confessing, I did the same thing at our second night's camp on Kirkwood Bar. I was dead tired, so when I read for a short while and turned off my headlamp, that was it. Next thing I knew it was daylight. The only photograph from this trip that I took that I am halfway proud of is of the long-tailed weasel on the last mile or so of our hike back to the Upper Pittsburg trailhead. The four night photos Sawtoothphoto took at Bills Creek are the photos from this trip I most covet and envy. Thanks Fred! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three Day Backpack Trip. Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. Friday May 3 - 5, 2019 Oldmantravels and Sawtoothphoto (Fred). Trail 102 on the Idaho side of the river. Trail 1726 runs along the Oregon side. Original plan for 3rd of May, 2019 backpack trip: Start backpacking early on Friday May 3rd, 2019 up into Hell's Canyon from the Idaho side (trail 102). Head up the canyon, camp two nights. Essentially one day up the canyon; one day to day hike from a base camp; and the third day backpack out. Background: 11th of October 2006. My wife and I took a jet boat trip with Killgore Adventures out of White Bird, Idaho. We took their jet boat from Lower Pittsburg Landing up to Hell's Canyon dam, with a quick stop at Kirkwood Ranch on the way up. Lunch and leg stretch at Hell's Canyon dam, them back down the river with a short stop at Sheep Creek ranch. A spectacular trip. One of the most memorable moments on that trip is when all of us on board spotted two "heads" bobbing down swiftly through the Granite Creek rapids, coming right towards our boat. Turned out to be two deer. Both amazingly made it through the rapids and clambered up the Oregon side of the river, unhurt. 26 April 2018. Lower Pittsburg Landing has long been a favorite campground of ours. So I have camped there many times. On a road trip I set up camp there once again, and decided with the beautiful sky and wildflowers in bloom, to take a very short hike up Trail 102 from Upper Pittsburg Landing. I had nothing but road trip gear with me and a really small lightweight day pack, but on my short hike up the canyon, perhaps a mile and then back, I decided I might do the same thing the next morning. I did. I didn't plan to hike up the trail more than a few miles the early morning of April 26, 2018, so I took zero food and only one cold can of diet Pepsi for drinking (and my daily requirement for a caffeine fix). The farther I hiked up the canyon the more I enjoyed it. I couldn't stop, so I didn't. I ended up at Kirkwood Ranch, five miles up the trail. I talked with the ranch summer caretaker (Garik), and decided to hike up to the Carter Mansion (about a mile and half round trip easy hike), and check out a nest of Great Horned Owls along the way. I did. Back at Kirkwood Ranch I was ready to chug my can of diet Pepsi, but it was hot now, and I wished for some water. Garik came up with a solution that made us both laugh (but it worked). He poured out the small amount of whisky that a rafter or jet boater had given him (he wasn't a drinker and neither was I and the last thing I would have wanted to drink on the hike out would have been warm whisky). So all said I put in about 12 miles of unplanned for day hiking and had relished every minute of it. FINAL PLAN FOR 3RD OF MAY, 2019 BACKPACKING TRIP: I saw some photographs of a trip some older women (but much younger than me), had taken. They had taken the jet boat mail boat up canyon for a fee and were dumped off on the Idaho side, so they had a one way backpacking trip back to their car. That appealed to me a LOT! So first I called Fred to see if he might want to go along with it. He did. So I made the call to Killgore Adventures and soon had us set up for a ride up Hell's Canyon and a drop off. My first choice was Bernard Creek (McGaffee Cabin) but if the high water prevented a drop off there, then Johnson Bar would work. Then the two of us would have an easy 20 mile or so backpacking trip back to a vehicle we would leave at Upper Pittsburg Landing since the jet boat leaves from Lower Pittsburg Landing. Plan ready. Now for the weather. I watched the weather forecast for White Bird, Idaho like a hawk. It didn't look good. Rain. Rain. More rain. Fairly cold, but Fred and I pledged go anyway. What happened in short: The three days for our trip would now be mostly sunny, no rain and high daytime temperatures in the high 70's that during the hottest part of the day in a rock canyon like Hell's Canyon, can feel much hotter. NOTE: I am going to post a few photographs of our May 2019 trip in chronological order and I am going to post a lot of them. I didn't get any spectacular photos (None will appear in Flickr Explore), but I did try to capture the trip well along the way. In addition to the many photos of this trip, at will, I am going to include some of the photos from the October 2011 jet boat trip and the April of 2018 day hike. The first photos I post are going to be a few maps (so you can follow along) or our May 2019 route; and a photo of the gear I took for the backpacking (in case you are interested). Here goes: FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019 Fred and I left Riggins, Idaho, where we had stayed Thursday night, early in the morning for our drive to Upper and Lower Pittsburg Landing. We didn't want to rush the driver nor miss the boat. We both stopped our vehicles for a few photo ops on the drive up over Pittsburg Saddle and made a planned stop to visit the Native American rock art on the way to upper Pittsburg Landing. We did. Two young women, attired in outdoor apparel were walking down the road towards us we approached the far trail head parking lot at Upper Pittsburg Landing. There was only one other car in the parking lot and it had Washington plates. We could see hiking packs on the picnic table and what looked like might have been a tent camping site from the night before. I loaded all my backpacking gear into Fred's SUV from my Honda Fit, then locked my car up with a sun shield placed in the windshield. Just as we were about to leave for Lower Pittsburg Landing, the two young women walked up and we started to chat. Where you from is always first right? They were a married couple from Spokane and had hiked and backpacked in the canyon extensively in the past. They knew the canyon and they had the experience and gear to do it right. When we asked about their plans they said they were taking a jet boat up to Bernard Creek and the jet boat was supposed to pick them up at Upper Pittsburg Landing at around 10 am. Well it didn't take long to figure out that all four of us had made the same plan to ride up canyon with Killgore Adventures and backpack for a few days. I didn't know Killgore would pick up backpackers at Upper Pittsburg Landing or Fred and I could have left both our vehicles there, but no worry. Fred and I were both looking for all the jet boat travel or fee would cover! So off Fred and I drove to Lower Pittsburg Landing. There were five young, smiling, healthy looking, young people (three guys and two gals) at Lower Pittsburg. They were wearing Montana Conservation Corp T-shirts and had massive packs and double ended cross cut saws, getting ready for a twenty minute jet boat trip up the Snake River (on an Idaho Fish and Game jet boat), and then work their tail feathers off, on the High Line trail, which the said had not had much maintenance in a very long time. Their enthusiasm and great attitudes were infectious. They couldn't wait for their jet boat ride and to get up in the canyon and get to work. I fortunately had fiver Costco cookies left as potential boat snacks, so I gave the five cookies to the five of them. They were elated. Made me feel great. Fred and I had both of our backpacks ready to go by 9:30 am, a half an hour before the boat was scheduled to leave. The Killgore jet boat,the Horn Star, was in the parking lot along with the Idaho Fish and Game jet boat, and two others. Into the lot drove Captain Kurt Killgore The Killgore jet boat that my wife and I took in October of 2006 was the "Happy Hour". The Killgore boat for this May 2019 trip would be the "Horn Star". Kurt captained both. Kurt was still in great shape and efficient as always. He single handedly trailered the jet boat down the ramp and launched it. The he drove his pickup the parking area and asked if we were "ready to go" as he walked up to us. But where are the others Fred and I thought but didn't ask. We were it. The Saturday Killgore boat would be full, but on this day it would be just me and Fred and the Spokane couple at Upper Pittsburg, making a drop off run up to Bernard Creek. Just the four of us and Captain Kurt. I was delighted beyond words. Now I could hop around the entire boat, snapping photos all the way up the river. I talked with Captain Kurt a couple of times and mentioned the deer running Granite Rapids on October 11, 2006 and his face lit up. "Never seen anything like that before or since. And you know those two deer were whitetail deer, unusual in every way". "Yes", he said "I remember that day well." We chatted a little with the Spokane gals (as I will now call them) and then all got lost in our own thoughts and the grandeur of the fast arriving Hells' Canyon scenery on a high powered jet propelled river boat. Here is some of the main landmarks we would pass going up Hell's Canyon to Bernard Creek (River mile 14) from Lower Pittsburg Landing launch (River mile 34): Corral Creek; Durham Creek; Muir Creek; Kirby Creek; Kirkwood Bar; Suicide Point; Temperance Creek Ranch; Big Bar; Caribou Creek; High Bar; Willow Creek; Sand Creek cabin; Sheep Creek ranch; Johnson Bar; Rush Creek rapids; Sluice Creek; Bills Creek; Waterspout Creek; Bernard Creek (Our drop off place). JET BOAT RIDE ENDS AT BERNARD CREEK. BACKPACKING TRIP BEGINS: Captain Kurt told me of some Native American pictographs near the trail at the Bernard Creek landing and drop off point, so Fred and I hiked directly to them. The we crossed the foot bridge and went up to enjoy some time looking in and around the historic McGaffee cabin. Some of the things that were brought into the remote canyon ranches during the late 1800s and early 1900s are unbelievable. A bit wood burning iron stove in the McGaffee cabin and lots of abandoned farm equipment made for interesting exploration. Like homesteads I had once studied back in Eastern Kentucky, old newspapers and magazines were popular "wall papering" material to keep out the drafts and presumably give life and use to the material, after untold numbers of reading. McGaffee cabin had excellent magazine wallpaper, dating well the wall papering project. The Spokane gals, showed up and we chatted briefly and exchanged the usual trail system courtesy of "you take our photograph and we will take yours". Cameras and iPhones were exchanged and we snapped photos of each other. Then Fred and I decided we would carry our backpacks and hike farther up the canyon. We both agreed that no matter what, we wouldn't go farther south, upriver than Three Creeks. Poison ivy was everywhere, and the trail hadn't been well used, so some of the stuff almost blocked clear passage of the trail at times. Besides poison ivy we found that the high water had covered the trail in places forcing us to cross country or detour a few times on our hike back down the canyon. That all said we hiked on upriver about a mile and half and got great views across the river at Hat Creek, Pete Wilson's place, and Saddle Creek. Three rafters floated down the Snake River while we were hiking this portion of trail 102. We could see Dry Gulch up ahead of us when we voted to turn around, head back to McGaffee cabin, have a bite to eat, then head downriver stopping at the best camping location we could find. We had been up since five that morning and an early campsite selection sounded good. On the way downriver from opposite Saddle Creek, Fred spotted the first two rattlesnakes of the three would see this day. The first slithered off across the trail and I never did see it. The second coiled up in some brush next to the trail and though well camouflaged, was easy to spot since he used his rattle. Not sure, but I think all three rattlesnakes we saw this day were Western rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus). Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus vividis) is listed as "excitable and aggressive". I don't know if that fits all three we saw, but number three you could add: unpredictable". We hiked just over a couple of miles when we found just what we were looking for. There might be better places to camp on down the river but we figured setting up our tents and camp early, then explore around with some early evening hiking with just a camera in hand, sounded good. Bills Creek (River mile 16) was tiny, but everything we were looking for in a good campsite was there: The creek itself cold and clear, easy to gather and filter water; the remains of the Si Bullock stone house, with a dilapidated iron stove gave the place a historic feel; and Bill Creek rapids right next to the right bank and a short ways above were we set up camp. Bills Creek/Si Bullock's place campsite was a real winner. The Spokane gals were nowhere to be seen, but we though over the course of the next few days we might leapfrog and run into each other again, which we did. Camp was all set up and organized. Fred took off upstream with his camera, and I decided to see if I might be able to climb up Bills Creek (avoiding all the poison ivy) and get a look at a small waterfalls I had noticed. I also hoped to get some raven eye's view of our campsite from above. We later ended up back at our camp with plenty of time for another short hiking excursion, so again with just camera gear, we headed downriver this time and hiked around a mile and half past Sluice Creek on the Oregon side, to just above the Rush Creek rapids, that we had traveled through in the jet boat just hours earlier. Along the way, it was my turn to find a rattlesnake. It was as close as I have ever come to stepping on one. It was coiled beside the trail under some overhanging grass (giving him shade). He blended so well with the sandy trail that I just didn't see him until I was two steps away from stepping on or near him. I backed up and motioned to Fred, following behind me, that we had rattlesnake number three on the trail. This snake did not rattle, uncoil or do anything. So we waited a few moments and the snake didn't move. We could have just hiked off the trail and gone around it, but I didn't want to look for him on the way back especially in the impending low light. I suggested that we try not to irritate the snake, but persuade it to move well off the trail. Fred placed the bottom of this camera tripod a few feet behind the snake and it seemed to take the hint. The rattlesnake slithered across the trail, through the grass and toward the far away river, at a leisurely and dignified pace. Then "my rattlesnake" as I now called it, inexplicably changed his mind and made an abrupt U-turn in the grass and seemed to be intent on returning to its exact place in the trail, where we found him. When he retuned. within about six feet of the trail, Fred pointed his tripod legs toward the snake, which really seemed to piss him off. He coiled and rattled, flicking his tongue to test the air. We gave up. We placed a large stone in a vertical position in the trail, and hiked on. We could use due caution when we reached that point on our return. We never saw my rattlesnake again. Clearly he won the trail standoff. I slept well at Bill Creek camp. Fred the intrepid photographer vowed to get up during the night to see if there might be some star trail photo ops. It was new moon time so there wouldn't be any light competition. I hope his efforts paid off. Based on one photograph he just forwarded to me, he hit a home run with his night sky photography efforts. Stunning. I will ask his permission to post it with my photos of this trip. SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 Fred and I were up, had breakfast, cleared camp, and hoisted our backpacks by a little after 6 am. It was cool and I was looking forward to trail miles hiked out of the sun and the heat. We quickly retrace the section of trail we had hiked the evening before to Rush Creek Rapids, then on through Johnson Bar (losing the trail for a short distance) and arriving at the footbridge over Sheep Creek. I hiked up the creek a short ways and saw a Sharp-shinned hawk hopping about in a ponderosa pine seemingly unafraid of me, but gazing up often at ravens or crows, that appeared to be taking an interest in him, with fly overs. Sheep Creek ranch like McGaffee cabin, was an excellent place to relax, enjoy the shade, filter some cold water, eat a bite, and look for farm equipment photo ops. I remembered well the Sheep Creek barn my wife and I had photographed back in 2006. The ever diminishing remains of a Ford model "T" with its three pedals, sits in overgrown grass near the landing spot at Sheep Creek ranch. Leaving Sheep Creek we hiked past Sand Creek (Oregon side) and Willow Creek (Idaho side). We left the trail to hike down among the impressive grove of ponderosa pine (posited to benefit from the alum soil in the area), and eat a bite in the shade, with Sturgeon Rock just off shore. While there the Killgore Adventure boat came traveling up the river and slowed to let all the passengers see Sturgeon Rock and Pine Bar. We gave thumbs up to Kurt as he made his way on up the river. At Meyer (Myers) Creek we met up with the Spokane gals. They were doing the same thing we wanted to do: enjoy the shade; filter some cold water; eat a bite; and most of all hydrate. We got into and extended chat session at this point. It was travel and hiking stories one after another. I was truly impressed with this couple's outlook toward traveling as a priority and hiking. They set aside 30 days each year to travel and had hiked in the Caucuses among other places and had an ambitious bucket list of places to visit. They also had an impressive list of places visited and hike to in the Western U.S. We split up again but would meet them yet again on the high point of Suicide Point, where I would photograph Captain Kurt's Killgore Adventure boat, the Horn Star, gracefully curve down the Snake River below us. The Spokane gals, veterans of hiking, boating, camping, and backpacking had a place they planned to spend Saturday night to avoid any of the "crowd" that can gather at Kirkwood Bar. Fred and I chose to go on to Kirkwood, deal with any crowds, and have an easy five and half mile hike out to the Upper Pittsburg trail head on Sunday. We had put in a lot of trail miles by the time we set up camp at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. There were other campers but certainly not a crowd and no loud hikers or campers at all. Fred took the hike up Kirkwood Creek to the Carter Mansion, while I stayed close to camp. When he returned I asked him if he had seen any great horned owls nesting, which he replied he hadn't. SUNDAY 5 MAY 2019 We were up early and backpacks shouldered early. We wanted to hike the switchback section of trail up our of Kirkwood early before it got hot. We did. Before 6:15 am we were starting up the switchback section of trail at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. The hike back to Upper Pittsburg Landing was routine but enjoyable. Two things stand out in my memory. First the ford at Corral Creek. There are two ways to get across the high, fast running creek by rock hopping. The other way of course is to get wet. We both got across Corral Creek without mishap, so had an easy mile to hike back to the trailhead. It was the last mile of the 26 total miles I would hike and the 27 Fred would hike (Carter Mansion extra), that I got the last wildlife encounter surprise and photo op. Close to the trail in a boulder field, I saw and photographed what I thought at the time was an "out of place" American Pine Martin. But after returning home and checking my books and a new field guide I purchased on 5.10.19 - - I now believe it was a Long-tailed weasel, and not a pine martin. I have seen a fair number of weasel in my life but never with that particular two tone coloration nor the "marten like ears". Never too old to learn. Earlier that day on a steep ledge section of trail, Fred had a similar experience with a "trail raccoon' hiking in the opposite direction. They came together fact to face around a bend in the trail, and the more agile raccoon gracefully bailed, and yielded the trail to us. By 8:30 am, we were at Upper Pittsburg Landing and my little Honda Fit. It had been a great three days. I dropped Fred off at Lower Pittsburg Landing and soon he was on his way back home to Boise and I was on my way home to Eastern Washington. CODA: If you decide to on a visit of your own to Hell's Canyon please consider reading two books before you go: 1. SNAKE RIVER IN HELLS CANYON by Johnny Carrey, Cort Conley and Ace Barton. 2. HOME BELOW HELLS CANYON by Grace Jordan If a jet boat trip of any kind in the Hells Canyon or Lower Salmon River interests you, you couldn't do better than contact: KILLGORES ADVENTURES White Bird, Idaho 800 469 8757 or 208 839-2255 I talked to both Jenny and Kandy in their office in making the arrangements for the Bernard Creek drop off. They were both super. Kurt Killgore is as good as they get for a jet boat captain. Give them a try. Enjoy my photographs. Canon Powershot SX720 HS was my camera of choice for this trip. the 40 X optical zoom came in handy several times. especially with the hawk and weasel photographs. Oldmantravels 8 May 2019
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My tent at dusk. Snake River
My tent at dusk. Snake River Photo Credit: Fred Stillings. Sawtoothphoto on Flickr. Fred is a professional grade photographer. In addition to his real profession, he also has been successful selling his photographs. One of the many photo styles he has mastered, is that of the night sky, star trails, and illumintated backpacking tent in all seasons. I have backpacked with Fred a few times in the Wind River range and in Coyote Gulch in the Escalante River canyon area. He always returns with world class photos. So... I pretty much begged him to try some lit up backpacking tents and milky way star shots on this backpacking trip. It was cloudy early at our first night's campsite, So I figured that Fred might not get any star shots but perhaps could get some backpacking tents alight, photos. He did. He also stayed up and got up several times during the night to get some backpacking tent and star photographs. I was clueless. After reading for awhile (knowing that Fred might try a few tents at night photos), I turned off my LED headlamp and fell sound asleep. I didn't wake up once that night. I missed the show. I didn't get a glimpse of the night sky. And as long as I am confessing, I did the same thing at our second night's camp on Kirkwood Bar. I was dead tired, so when I read for a short while and turned off my headlamp, that was it. Next thing I knew it was daylight. The only photograph from this trip that I took that I am halfway proud of is of the long-tailed weasel on the last mile or so of our hike back to the Upper Pittsburg trailhead. The four night photos Sawtoothphoto took at Bills Creek are the photos from this trip I most covet and envy. Thanks Fred! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Three Day Backpack Trip. Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. Friday May 3 - 5, 2019 Oldmantravels and Sawtoothphoto (Fred). Trail 102 on the Idaho side of the river. Trail 1726 runs along the Oregon side. Original plan for 3rd of May, 2019 backpack trip: Start backpacking early on Friday May 3rd, 2019 up into Hell's Canyon from the Idaho side (trail 102). Head up the canyon, camp two nights. Essentially one day up the canyon; one day to day hike from a base camp; and the third day backpack out. Background: 11th of October 2006. My wife and I took a jet boat trip with Killgore Adventures out of White Bird, Idaho. We took their jet boat from Lower Pittsburg Landing up to Hell's Canyon dam, with a quick stop at Kirkwood Ranch on the way up. Lunch and leg stretch at Hell's Canyon dam, them back down the river with a short stop at Sheep Creek ranch. A spectacular trip. One of the most memorable moments on that trip is when all of us on board spotted two "heads" bobbing down swiftly through the Granite Creek rapids, coming right towards our boat. Turned out to be two deer. Both amazingly made it through the rapids and clambered up the Oregon side of the river, unhurt. 26 April 2018. Lower Pittsburg Landing has long been a favorite campground of ours. So I have camped there many times. On a road trip I set up camp there once again, and decided with the beautiful sky and wildflowers in bloom, to take a very short hike up Trail 102 from Upper Pittsburg Landing. I had nothing but road trip gear with me and a really small lightweight day pack, but on my short hike up the canyon, perhaps a mile and then back, I decided I might do the same thing the next morning. I did. I didn't plan to hike up the trail more than a few miles the early morning of April 26, 2018, so I took zero food and only one cold can of diet Pepsi for drinking (and my daily requirement for a caffeine fix). The farther I hiked up the canyon the more I enjoyed it. I couldn't stop, so I didn't. I ended up at Kirkwood Ranch, five miles up the trail. I talked with the ranch summer caretaker (Garik), and decided to hike up to the Carter Mansion (about a mile and half round trip easy hike), and check out a nest of Great Horned Owls along the way. I did. Back at Kirkwood Ranch I was ready to chug my can of diet Pepsi, but it was hot now, and I wished for some water. Garik came up with a solution that made us both laugh (but it worked). He poured out the small amount of whisky that a rafter or jet boater had given him (he wasn't a drinker and neither was I and the last thing I would have wanted to drink on the hike out would have been warm whisky). So all said I put in about 12 miles of unplanned for day hiking and had relished every minute of it. FINAL PLAN FOR 3RD OF MAY, 2019 BACKPACKING TRIP: I saw some photographs of a trip some older women (but much younger than me), had taken. They had taken the jet boat mail boat up canyon for a fee and were dumped off on the Idaho side, so they had a one way backpacking trip back to their car. That appealed to me a LOT! So first I called Fred to see if he might want to go along with it. He did. So I made the call to Killgore Adventures and soon had us set up for a ride up Hell's Canyon and a drop off. My first choice was Bernard Creek (McGaffee Cabin) but if the high water prevented a drop off there, then Johnson Bar would work. Then the two of us would have an easy 20 mile or so backpacking trip back to a vehicle we would leave at Upper Pittsburg Landing since the jet boat leaves from Lower Pittsburg Landing. Plan ready. Now for the weather. I watched the weather forecast for White Bird, Idaho like a hawk. It didn't look good. Rain. Rain. More rain. Fairly cold, but Fred and I pledged go anyway. What happened in short: The three days for our trip would now be mostly sunny, no rain and high daytime temperatures in the high 70's that during the hottest part of the day in a rock canyon like Hell's Canyon, can feel much hotter. NOTE: I am going to post a few photographs of our May 2019 trip in chronological order and I am going to post a lot of them. I didn't get any spectacular photos (None will appear in Flickr Explore), but I did try to capture the trip well along the way. In addition to the many photos of this trip, at will, I am going to include some of the photos from the October 2011 jet boat trip and the April of 2018 day hike. The first photos I post are going to be a few maps (so you can follow along) or our May 2019 route; and a photo of the gear I took for the backpacking (in case you are interested). Here goes: FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019 Fred and I left Riggins, Idaho, where we had stayed Thursday night, early in the morning for our drive to Upper and Lower Pittsburg Landing. We didn't want to rush the driver nor miss the boat. We both stopped our vehicles for a few photo ops on the drive up over Pittsburg Saddle and made a planned stop to visit the Native American rock art on the way to upper Pittsburg Landing. We did. Two young women, attired in outdoor apparel were walking down the road towards us we approached the far trail head parking lot at Upper Pittsburg Landing. There was only one other car in the parking lot and it had Washington plates. We could see hiking packs on the picnic table and what looked like might have been a tent camping site from the night before. I loaded all my backpacking gear into Fred's SUV from my Honda Fit, then locked my car up with a sun shield placed in the windshield. Just as we were about to leave for Lower Pittsburg Landing, the two young women walked up and we started to chat. Where you from is always first right? They were a married couple from Spokane and had hiked and backpacked in the canyon extensively in the past. They knew the canyon and they had the experience and gear to do it right. When we asked about their plans they said they were taking a jet boat up to Bernard Creek and the jet boat was supposed to pick them up at Upper Pittsburg Landing at around 10 am. Well it didn't take long to figure out that all four of us had made the same plan to ride up canyon with Killgore Adventures and backpack for a few days. I didn't know Killgore would pick up backpackers at Upper Pittsburg Landing or Fred and I could have left both our vehicles there, but no worry. Fred and I were both looking for all the jet boat travel or fee would cover! So off Fred and I drove to Lower Pittsburg Landing. There were five young, smiling, healthy looking, young people (three guys and two gals) at Lower Pittsburg. They were wearing Montana Conservation Corp T-shirts and had massive packs and double ended cross cut saws, getting ready for a twenty minute jet boat trip up the Snake River (on an Idaho Fish and Game jet boat), and then work their tail feathers off, on the High Line trail, which the said had not had much maintenance in a very long time. Their enthusiasm and great attitudes were infectious. They couldn't wait for their jet boat ride and to get up in the canyon and get to work. I fortunately had fiver Costco cookies left as potential boat snacks, so I gave the five cookies to the five of them. They were elated. Made me feel great. Fred and I had both of our backpacks ready to go by 9:30 am, a half an hour before the boat was scheduled to leave. The Killgore jet boat,the Horn Star, was in the parking lot along with the Idaho Fish and Game jet boat, and two others. Into the lot drove Captain Kurt Killgore The Killgore jet boat that my wife and I took in October of 2006 was the "Happy Hour". The Killgore boat for this May 2019 trip would be the "Horn Star". Kurt captained both. Kurt was still in great shape and efficient as always. He single handedly trailered the jet boat down the ramp and launched it. The he drove his pickup the parking area and asked if we were "ready to go" as he walked up to us. But where are the others Fred and I thought but didn't ask. We were it. The Saturday Killgore boat would be full, but on this day it would be just me and Fred and the Spokane couple at Upper Pittsburg, making a drop off run up to Bernard Creek. Just the four of us and Captain Kurt. I was delighted beyond words. Now I could hop around the entire boat, snapping photos all the way up the river. I talked with Captain Kurt a couple of times and mentioned the deer running Granite Rapids on October 11, 2006 and his face lit up. "Never seen anything like that before or since. And you know those two deer were whitetail deer, unusual in every way". "Yes", he said "I remember that day well." We chatted a little with the Spokane gals (as I will now call them) and then all got lost in our own thoughts and the grandeur of the fast arriving Hells' Canyon scenery on a high powered jet propelled river boat. Here is some of the main landmarks we would pass going up Hell's Canyon to Bernard Creek (River mile 14) from Lower Pittsburg Landing launch (River mile 34): Corral Creek; Durham Creek; Muir Creek; Kirby Creek; Kirkwood Bar; Suicide Point; Temperance Creek Ranch; Big Bar; Caribou Creek; High Bar; Willow Creek; Sand Creek cabin; Sheep Creek ranch; Johnson Bar; Rush Creek rapids; Sluice Creek; Bills Creek; Waterspout Creek; Bernard Creek (Our drop off place). JET BOAT RIDE ENDS AT BERNARD CREEK. BACKPACKING TRIP BEGINS: Captain Kurt told me of some Native American pictographs near the trail at the Bernard Creek landing and drop off point, so Fred and I hiked directly to them. The we crossed the foot bridge and went up to enjoy some time looking in and around the historic McGaffee cabin. Some of the things that were brought into the remote canyon ranches during the late 1800s and early 1900s are unbelievable. A bit wood burning iron stove in the McGaffee cabin and lots of abandoned farm equipment made for interesting exploration. Like homesteads I had once studied back in Eastern Kentucky, old newspapers and magazines were popular "wall papering" material to keep out the drafts and presumably give life and use to the material, after untold numbers of reading. McGaffee cabin had excellent magazine wallpaper, dating well the wall papering project. The Spokane gals, showed up and we chatted briefly and exchanged the usual trail system courtesy of "you take our photograph and we will take yours". Cameras and iPhones were exchanged and we snapped photos of each other. Then Fred and I decided we would carry our backpacks and hike farther up the canyon. We both agreed that no matter what, we wouldn't go farther south, upriver than Three Creeks. Poison ivy was everywhere, and the trail hadn't been well used, so some of the stuff almost blocked clear passage of the trail at times. Besides poison ivy we found that the high water had covered the trail in places forcing us to cross country or detour a few times on our hike back down the canyon. That all said we hiked on upriver about a mile and half and got great views across the river at Hat Creek, Pete Wilson's place, and Saddle Creek. Three rafters floated down the Snake River while we were hiking this portion of trail 102. We could see Dry Gulch up ahead of us when we voted to turn around, head back to McGaffee cabin, have a bite to eat, then head downriver stopping at the best camping location we could find. We had been up since five that morning and an early campsite selection sounded good. On the way downriver from opposite Saddle Creek, Fred spotted the first two rattlesnakes of the three would see this day. The first slithered off across the trail and I never did see it. The second coiled up in some brush next to the trail and though well camouflaged, was easy to spot since he used his rattle. Not sure, but I think all three rattlesnakes we saw this day were Western rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus). Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus vividis) is listed as "excitable and aggressive". I don't know if that fits all three we saw, but number three you could add: unpredictable". We hiked just over a couple of miles when we found just what we were looking for. There might be better places to camp on down the river but we figured setting up our tents and camp early, then explore around with some early evening hiking with just a camera in hand, sounded good. Bills Creek (River mile 16) was tiny, but everything we were looking for in a good campsite was there: The creek itself cold and clear, easy to gather and filter water; the remains of the Si Bullock stone house, with a dilapidated iron stove gave the place a historic feel; and Bill Creek rapids right next to the right bank and a short ways above were we set up camp. Bills Creek/Si Bullock's place campsite was a real winner. The Spokane gals were nowhere to be seen, but we though over the course of the next few days we might leapfrog and run into each other again, which we did. Camp was all set up and organized. Fred took off upstream with his camera, and I decided to see if I might be able to climb up Bills Creek (avoiding all the poison ivy) and get a look at a small waterfalls I had noticed. I also hoped to get some raven eye's view of our campsite from above. We later ended up back at our camp with plenty of time for another short hiking excursion, so again with just camera gear, we headed downriver this time and hiked around a mile and half past Sluice Creek on the Oregon side, to just above the Rush Creek rapids, that we had traveled through in the jet boat just hours earlier. Along the way, it was my turn to find a rattlesnake. It was as close as I have ever come to stepping on one. It was coiled beside the trail under some overhanging grass (giving him shade). He blended so well with the sandy trail that I just didn't see him until I was two steps away from stepping on or near him. I backed up and motioned to Fred, following behind me, that we had rattlesnake number three on the trail. This snake did not rattle, uncoil or do anything. So we waited a few moments and the snake didn't move. We could have just hiked off the trail and gone around it, but I didn't want to look for him on the way back especially in the impending low light. I suggested that we try not to irritate the snake, but persuade it to move well off the trail. Fred placed the bottom of this camera tripod a few feet behind the snake and it seemed to take the hint. The rattlesnake slithered across the trail, through the grass and toward the far away river, at a leisurely and dignified pace. Then "my rattlesnake" as I now called it, inexplicably changed his mind and made an abrupt U-turn in the grass and seemed to be intent on returning to its exact place in the trail, where we found him. When he retuned. within about six feet of the trail, Fred pointed his tripod legs toward the snake, which really seemed to piss him off. He coiled and rattled, flicking his tongue to test the air. We gave up. We placed a large stone in a vertical position in the trail, and hiked on. We could use due caution when we reached that point on our return. We never saw my rattlesnake again. Clearly he won the trail standoff. I slept well at Bill Creek camp. Fred the intrepid photographer vowed to get up during the night to see if there might be some star trail photo ops. It was new moon time so there wouldn't be any light competition. I hope his efforts paid off. Based on one photograph he just forwarded to me, he hit a home run with his night sky photography efforts. Stunning. I will ask his permission to post it with my photos of this trip. SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 Fred and I were up, had breakfast, cleared camp, and hoisted our backpacks by a little after 6 am. It was cool and I was looking forward to trail miles hiked out of the sun and the heat. We quickly retrace the section of trail we had hiked the evening before to Rush Creek Rapids, then on through Johnson Bar (losing the trail for a short distance) and arriving at the footbridge over Sheep Creek. I hiked up the creek a short ways and saw a Sharp-shinned hawk hopping about in a ponderosa pine seemingly unafraid of me, but gazing up often at ravens or crows, that appeared to be taking an interest in him, with fly overs. Sheep Creek ranch like McGaffee cabin, was an excellent place to relax, enjoy the shade, filter some cold water, eat a bite, and look for farm equipment photo ops. I remembered well the Sheep Creek barn my wife and I had photographed back in 2006. The ever diminishing remains of a Ford model "T" with its three pedals, sits in overgrown grass near the landing spot at Sheep Creek ranch. Leaving Sheep Creek we hiked past Sand Creek (Oregon side) and Willow Creek (Idaho side). We left the trail to hike down among the impressive grove of ponderosa pine (posited to benefit from the alum soil in the area), and eat a bite in the shade, with Sturgeon Rock just off shore. While there the Killgore Adventure boat came traveling up the river and slowed to let all the passengers see Sturgeon Rock and Pine Bar. We gave thumbs up to Kurt as he made his way on up the river. At Meyer (Myers) Creek we met up with the Spokane gals. They were doing the same thing we wanted to do: enjoy the shade; filter some cold water; eat a bite; and most of all hydrate. We got into and extended chat session at this point. It was travel and hiking stories one after another. I was truly impressed with this couple's outlook toward traveling as a priority and hiking. They set aside 30 days each year to travel and had hiked in the Caucuses among other places and had an ambitious bucket list of places to visit. They also had an impressive list of places visited and hike to in the Western U.S. We split up again but would meet them yet again on the high point of Suicide Point, where I would photograph Captain Kurt's Killgore Adventure boat, the Horn Star, gracefully curve down the Snake River below us. The Spokane gals, veterans of hiking, boating, camping, and backpacking had a place they planned to spend Saturday night to avoid any of the "crowd" that can gather at Kirkwood Bar. Fred and I chose to go on to Kirkwood, deal with any crowds, and have an easy five and half mile hike out to the Upper Pittsburg trail head on Sunday. We had put in a lot of trail miles by the time we set up camp at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. There were other campers but certainly not a crowd and no loud hikers or campers at all. Fred took the hike up Kirkwood Creek to the Carter Mansion, while I stayed close to camp. When he returned I asked him if he had seen any great horned owls nesting, which he replied he hadn't. SUNDAY 5 MAY 2019 We were up early and backpacks shouldered early. We wanted to hike the switchback section of trail up our of Kirkwood early before it got hot. We did. Before 6:15 am we were starting up the switchback section of trail at the north end of Kirkwood Bar. The hike back to Upper Pittsburg Landing was routine but enjoyable. Two things stand out in my memory. First the ford at Corral Creek. There are two ways to get across the high, fast running creek by rock hopping. The other way of course is to get wet. We both got across Corral Creek without mishap, so had an easy mile to hike back to the trailhead. It was the last mile of the 26 total miles I would hike and the 27 Fred would hike (Carter Mansion extra), that I got the last wildlife encounter surprise and photo op. Close to the trail in a boulder field, I saw and photographed what I thought at the time was an "out of place" American Pine Martin. But after returning home and checking my books and a new field guide I purchased on 5.10.19 - - I now believe it was a Long-tailed weasel, and not a pine martin. I have seen a fair number of weasel in my life but never with that particular two tone coloration nor the "marten like ears". Never too old to learn. Earlier that day on a steep ledge section of trail, Fred had a similar experience with a "trail raccoon' hiking in the opposite direction. They came together fact to face around a bend in the trail, and the more agile raccoon gracefully bailed, and yielded the trail to us. By 8:30 am, we were at Upper Pittsburg Landing and my little Honda Fit. It had been a great three days. I dropped Fred off at Lower Pittsburg Landing and soon he was on his way back home to Boise and I was on my way home to Eastern Washington. CODA: If you decide to on a visit of your own to Hell's Canyon please consider reading two books before you go: 1. SNAKE RIVER IN HELLS CANYON by Johnny Carrey, Cort Conley and Ace Barton. 2. HOME BELOW HELLS CANYON by Grace Jordan If a jet boat trip of any kind in the Hells Canyon or Lower Salmon River interests you, you couldn't do better than contact: KILLGORES ADVENTURES White Bird, Idaho 800 469 8757 or 208 839-2255 I talked to both Jenny and Kandy in their office in making the arrangements for the Bernard Creek drop off. They were both super. Kurt Killgore is as good as they get for a jet boat captain. Give them a try. Enjoy my photographs. Canon Powershot SX720 HS was my camera of choice for this trip. the 40 X optical zoom came in handy several times. especially with the hawk and weasel photographs. Oldmantravels 8 May 2019
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Pantà de Siurana
Pantà de Siurana Pantà de Siurana, comarca del Montsant (Tarragona). Un lloc d'una bellesa increïble.
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Pantà de Siurana
Pantà de Siurana Pantà de Siurana, comarca del Montsant (Tarragona). Un lloc d'una bellesa increïble.
All Rights Reserved