Snake River jet boat

May 26-30, 1981

The goal of the trip was a three-day trip on the Snake River by comfortable jet boat (not a float trip). In addition, we were to do some sight-seeing and hear all about the geology of the area. Ewart Baldwin made a special trip to Eugene from Walla Walla (where college had just closed) to accompany us on the bus. He and Margaret made the river trip and left us at Lewiston to go to Canada. Bill Eaton tried to convey geologic points received from Ewart, on the way home. Twenty-nine people, made the trip including six couples.

Left promptly at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, arrived in Clarkston/Lewiston at 6:15 p.m. for nice rooms at Nendels. On the way stopped at Bonneville Dam to see the fish ladder (Lampreys but no salmon) and six foot sturgeon in ponds at the hatchery. Also stopped in at the beautiful Whitman Mission National Park near Walla Walla. Along the way, Ewart discussed the geologic features and some of the publications that had been mailed. As usual with Ewart’s trips, we took lunches to provide flexibility for stops and ate at the mouth of the John Day River. Beautiful weather. Three stops totaling about two hours.

Down to the dock at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday — loaded boat and away by 8:15 a.m. Arrived 50 miles up at Rivers Navigation Co. camp about 4:00 p.m. with stops along the way to deliver mail, hear about history, visit an old homestead, and a mine. Big dinner, quiet evening. Next day, off again about 9:00 to go up river another 40 miles to head of navigation: elevation about 1000' and Hat Point visible at 7000'! Stops for mail and visit to Pittsburgh Landing and the Jordan Ranch. Back to camp about 3:15 p.m. Camp consists of a central building with kitchen and dining; and numerous other small cabins having beds or bunks with clean sheets. One building is the toilets, washrooms, laundry. Another is the famous “Copper Creek Saloon.” After another large dinner, spent the evening in the “saloon” listening to Elmer Earle play the piano (never had a lesson in his life) and sing songs.

Friday morning was spent in some leisurely hikes by some, just plain leisure by others, in the cool of tree shade and green lawn. The camp is an oasis in a dry barren country, with 2000 foot mountains to its back and across the river. The river noise at night is quite different than the McKenzie; it just kind of slips by quietly. Early lunch and early departure: at 12:30 for Lewiston, so we could get an early start for Enterprise — where arrived at 5:40 p.m., after a spectacular, nine mile, twisting switchback ride down into the Grande Ronde river gorge. Here we had a look at Ewart’s dikes, which are believed to be the source of all the Columbia basalt. All but two took a side trip to Wallowa Lake: after supper to see the glacial moraine.

Saturday morning: up and away at 7:00 a.m. for the return to Eugene via La Grande, Ukiah, Long Creek, Kimberly, John Day Fossil Beds Park, Mitchell, Prineville, Redmond, Sisters and home at 6:15 p.m. Stopped at Fossil Beds Park for lunch where they were without electricity since the night before when a strong wind blew down many trees in the valley. Pit stops at crossing of Oregon Trail and Sisters.

Leaders were Ewart and Margaret Baldwin and Bill Eaton. Other jet boaters were: Lois Baker, Carol and Lonnie Bourgerie, Reva Dildine, Laura Hayes, Vera Heidenreich, Jane Hilt, Virginia Horton, Miki Hutchison, Lillian and Art Johnson, Elwina Meacham, Frances Newsom, Ruth Nichols, Clarence and Dorothy Scherer, Lots Schreiner, Grace Smith, Al Smith, Betty Stamm, Hal and Val Thoenig, Paula Vehrs, Ruth Williams and Buck and Grace Carter.


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