Salmon Rover, Idaho 2013

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Salmon Rover, Idaho 2013

Post by tsharp » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:57 am

August 2013: It is the time again to head west for our annual river trip out west with friends I was somewhat reluctant to go since I acquired a new knee in May. With some help and encouragement from wife and friends I was able to make the trip.
This years trip was eighty-one miles on the Salmon River from Corn Creek to Carey Creek. Participants included Susan Sharp, Turner Sharp, Kathleen Simpson, Mike Gilzow, Tom Connelly, Bridget Tincher, Heath Henson, Nancy Ward, Jess Parks, and Christina Peraino. Craft included 3 Catarafts, 2 Kayaks, 2 Rafts, and 1 IK. Low summer flows make this trip Class II-III in difficulty, This was Nancy and Christina's first self supported river trip.
This was the same trip we did in August of 2010 and other information may be found at:

Day 1: Found ten of us at the Corn Creek Forest Service campground which is used to marshal gear and let the Forest Service Ranger inspect the river permits and give an orientation and safety talk. We were informed of the location of two new rapids caused by a blow out in Black Canyon. We were also warned of thunderstorms with high winds predicted for the afternoon. As a bonus the ranger commented that this summer was the worst infestation of Yellow Jacket ever seen. It was to be a seven day trip with one layover day scheduled. Most of the first day was spent loading boats, but I did get to measure some trees I had previously measured 3 years ago at this site

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulae) 2.0’ x 24.8’
The Ponderosa Pines measured on the previous trip showed no growth at all.

Our destination was Upper Devils Teeth Camp at mile 12.9. Somewhere near mile nine the predicted thunderstorms arrived. There was not much rain but the roar of the wind higher up on the canyon walls was impressive. Then we started hear trees snapping which was not unusual because of all the fire damaged timber. It then got serious with large perfectly health trees torn out of the ground and pitch poled down the mountain side. Some of these trees had substantial root balls with embedded rock. Some of our group were very close to the cascade of rocks bouncing down the mountain. Some of the rocks were basketball size and actually hit the opposite shore. No one was hit. As soon as we realized how lucky we were another down burst struck from the opposite direction but any rock fall did not come our way although it did blow a kayaker over.What a welcome!
Day 2: Made Sandy Hole Camp at mile 23.8’. I missed seeing the fir trees on river left at Salmon Falls. At the time i was more interested in observing the small riffles where a major rapid called Salmon Falls used to be. It has disappeared underwater because of a blowout of side canyon that backed the river up for three plus miles. It also created a new significant rapid pictured below.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Tom Connelley
The blowout was on river right and created this 10-12 foot stairstep drop. One of the kayakers decided to run part of this rapid upside down and got a mild concussion. She did roll up at the bottom.

We made a mandatory stop at Hot Tub Springs for about an hour soak.
The only tree measured was a Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) 11.6’ x 92.7’
Day 3: We pulled over at Magpie Creek (mile 29.5) and take a lunch break while I did some tree ID and measuring. Trees measured included:
Grand Fir (Abies grandis) # x 115.9’, 3.9’ x 93.5’
Douglas-fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii var. glauca) # x 134.1’, 10.6’ x # (top out)
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) 10.8’ x 163.0’
This is the tallest Ponderosa pine I have ever measured anywhere in the Salmon River drainage.
Grand Fir is near the eastern edge of its range at this location along the river. They are relict populations surviving in some of the deep and wet side canyons and indicative of a previous wetter and cooler climate. One could encounter other Pacific Northwest species such as Pacific Yew and Black Cottonwood. I also saw a Red Alder trunk in a driftwood pile along the creek.
The best and tallest Firs proved to difficult for me to measure being stuck down among boulders along the creek and surrounded by White Alders. Nancy Ward measured the smaller Grand Fir did fine with her first effort with a clinometer and range finder. A possible lady ENT?
Day 4: Camped at Rhett Creek at mile 46.6
There were plenty of Alders along this creek with the largest measured at:
White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia) # x 64.5’, 6.6’ x 47.4’
This species was tough to measure because most of them grew in clumps of 2-8 stems with the tops many times intertwined plus it is rough going in the creek bed.
We stopped at Buckskin Bills at Five Mile Bar to get necessities such as beer, ice cream, and water. The compound is like an oasis in very arid surroundings with green grass and a vegetable garden irrigated from nearby creek I also noted the presence of various nut and fruit trees including Black Walnut, Peach, Cherry, and Apricots. I measured an English Walnut girth Juglans regia at 6.2'.
Day 5 & 6: Swimming Hole Camp at mile 60.6
What a pleasant way to spend an extra day. There were trees to measure, a mile long sandy beach and a killer swimming hole with cliffs to dive from. The dry hill side behind the camp caught my attention by being filled with Blue Elderberries and Mountain Mahogany.
Trees measured included:
Blue Elderberry ( Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea) 2.5’ x 18.6’
Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolios) 3.2’@3 1/2’ x 20.1’
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) 12.6’ x 149.9’ x 48’(maximum spread)
Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis laevigata var. reticulata) 5.6’ x 35.6’
This variety of Hackberry is found in the driest and most inhospitable locations on a site. Usually pinched up against rocks or in a rock crevice and receiving plenty of sun with a southwestern exposure
Day 7: Johnson Beach camp mile 75.7
Measured a large Douglas-fir above the beach and pictured below:

Click on image to see its original size

Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii var.glauca) 13.6’ x 132’.
Photo by Susan Sharp

Some typical scenery along a placid section of river.

Click on image to see its original size

Photo by Susan Sharp

Take out at Carey Creek is at mile 80.9 and the boat ramp is usually busy with people derigging and wondering how they will get everything stuffed back into vehicles. We were the first ones their and got a good head start. The ever present yellow jackets got their last lick in and the only ones not stung as of yet got stung. We made it to Mountain Home, Idaho to camp. The next day we dropped of several at the Salt Lake City airport and then made camp at the Gros Ventre campground in the Grand Teton National Park and headed east.
A complete listing of trees measured measured may be found on the Trees Datatbase site at: ... 62/Details

Turner Sharp

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