National Geographic : 1936 Jul
DOWN IDAHO'S RIVER OF NO RETURN JUST BELOW RIGGINS FRESH NEWS DROPPED FROM THE SKIES Chard and Shenon became absorbed in the Sunday papers brought by plane from Spokane, while Congressman Clark meditated. these hardy and independent people, was intensely interested in affairs of State and Nation and extremely well read. PROSPECTORS INVADE THE BANKS The number of prospectors along the river had been a never-ending source of surprise to us. We more or less expected them along the bars in the upper canyon, but were not prepared for the tents, sluice boxes, small pumps, tailings piles, and other evi dence of their current activity seen every mile or so all the way to the Snake. With the sun behind us, we started early on the 26th. The current was generally swift, there were many small rapids, and we made good time through a most pictur esque part of the canyon. Occasionally bits of trail could be seen and at one place three youngsters raced us on a galloping horse, finally waving their arms in friendly defeat as they were swal lowed in a cloud of dust. Near the mouth of Flynn Creek green stone again displaces lava in the lower walls and the sides steepen to form some of the most rugged canyon we had yet seen. This, the much-feared Blue Canyon, extends all the way to Snake River. Since the river had constantly been increasing in volume, we fairly tore through the Blue Canyon. About noon the high rock wall of the Oregon shore appeared dead ahead and we were whirled out into the Snake, 862 miles below Riggins and 260 miles from Salmon. In the narrower places along the Snake we observed high sandbars and huge tree trunks lodged along the cliffs high above the river. These indicate the tremendous seasonal variation caused by increased flow when the snow on the mountains melts. That evening we camped in Oregon, only 38 miles above Lewiston. We were visited by Mr. J. L. Chapman, who next day showed us some of the many Indian paint ings and caves along the Snake River. The scow cast off early next morning and made no stop until it reached the small store and several cottages that make up Rogers burg, Washington, at the mouth of the Grande Ronde River, on one of whose tributaries gold was found in the fifties. After a brief tie-up all haste was made to Asotin, only seven miles above Lewiston. Representative Clark had long since de veloped into a crack oarsman, and in spite of a head wind we put more than 30 miles of river behind us that day.