Snake River/Jet Boat
May 25-30, 1992
Bus left SEHS at 8:00, driving to Portland on I-5 (to pick up two riders there). Up the Columbia River, with commentary about its geology by Ewart Baldwin, and stopped at his favorite viewpoint looking up-river. We went by the old highway, ending up at Multnomah Falls. Stopped in at Bonneville Dam to view the large sturgeon and salmon, and to eat lunch. Around the Wallula Gap in the Columbia and turned right for Walla Walla, stopping in at the Whitman Mission. Beautiful day. Pony Village Motel; had a great swimming pool, and a magnificent continental breakfast.
Much is written of the rolling fields of wheat in that country but you can’t comprehend it until you see it: The hills are perhaps a quarter-as-high as Spencer Butte, and go on for miles, rows of wheat marching out of sight over the top and down the other side … We went to the Palous Falls. Spectacular erosion of rock from the “Spokane Flood” waters, taking a short cut to the Snake River. Arrived at 4500-ft. Steptoe Butte in a rainstorm; it is a pointed hill with a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. Spiral road, with antennas on top. Before arriving at Clarkston (our second night’s stop) we went east eight miles to another American Indian historical center.
Left next morning at 8:00 up-river on two fast jet boats. Stopped at a down-river lodge for mid-morning, arriving at Cougar Creek Lodge at 4:00 p.m., with none of the bank stops of the 1981 trip. That evening we had a campfire kind of activity, with numerous jokes, and highlighted by a skit put on by the Eugene contingent for the others (Lutherans). Next day another 40 miles up-river, but not as far as in 1981 as the water was too low. If we’d gone past the last bend, we could have looked up at 6,962-ft. Hat Point. The elevation at Lewiston/ Clarkston is 740 ft. above sea level — 330 miles inland! The beauty of the gorge is without comparison: it is the deepest in the U.S. I counted (on the 1981 trip) 27 layers of lava flows, Columbia River basalt! They took us back to the Copper Creek Lodge in time for a 11:30 buffet lunch. That afternoon back to Clarkston for overnight.
Next morning, back to Enterprise, which is a rise up to the plateau (2,500 ft.), with a winding road all the way down and back at the mouth of the Grand Rhonde River. Went by Hot Lake on the way to Baker City. We went east to the NEW Oregon Trail Commemorative Center. It is magnificent, and well worth the trip! It is mounted high on the hill above the pass the wagons went through, with four miles of trails to various points of interest. Inside was a long diorama, with full-size animals and people, and tape-recorded backgrounds. Stayed overnight in Baker City — a great place, though no pool.
Stopped in Sumpter to see the old gold dredge and view the narrow gauge railway. Had our last lunch in a nice park west of John Day, and home by 5:30 p.m.
Riders were: Kay Anderson, Margaret Baldwin, Rita Baxter, Ingrid Carmichael, Ardis Ebbighausen, Bette Hack, Herman & Flora Mae Hendershott, Jane Hilt, Miki Hutchison, Virginia Kapsa, Delores Kelly, Ruth Keen, Helen Knowlton, Theodosa Leppman, Janice Pattison, Peg Rhodes, Marelton Schutz, June Smith, Bobbye Sorrels, Robin & Ethel Steussy, Louise Thurber, Dorothy Turner, Paula Vehrs, Christy White, and (leaders) Ewart Baldwin and Bill Eaton.