Monday, August 20, 2012

Return of The Salmon

Photographs can't capture the grandeur.
The Manning Bridge - Originally a toll crossing run by a woman and her husband. 

A narrow spot -
About 300 feet across

The Bridge from upriver
Sunset Near Sand Bar , a rafting stop. 

I was well into my 16th year when I first read about the Salmon River. The article told of a mountain man, Sylvan Hart, who lived at  Mackey Bar. As with most of my wanderings, I figured I'd get there somehow.

I wandered the woods and had a great time, but disdainful of maps and uninclined to ask directions, I never found him. I spent three summers in and around The River and looked forward to stopping by again.

After Eugene (see: Voodoo Donuts 8/4/12), I headed eastward. I'd met a couple of surveyors on my way to the Fishtrap Writers' Conference who told me about Der Kleinschmidt Grade (see: Ah hung muh butt...8/14/12). One of the changes that occurred over the years was my aversion to maps. Now, after extensive perusal I saw that Der Grade made it an easy shot over the hill to Der River.

Things here too have changed, albeit only recently. Last year they started paving the road. For over 40 years it was a rocky, bumpy, single-lane dirt traipse (sorta like The Natchez Traipse) cut from the side of the mountain. They disdain guardrail so ya'll can still dump yer old cars off the edge. And they kept the single-lane designation. It's only true in a couple of places, but the sign was cheaper than adding a center stripe.

So anyway, the easiest route from Baker City, Oregon to Council, Idaho is over the Kleinschmidt Grade. And from there the Salmon River Road leaves off the highway at the South end of Riggins.

No comments: