Idaho River Cruise


This week WC and Mrs. WC took WC’s brother and sister-in-law down Hells Canyon. Just your typical Idaho river cruise.

Because we didn’t have much time, we opted for Hells Canyon Adventures‘ jet boats instead of whitewater rafting. After the long, twisty drive along Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoirs in the upper Hells Canyon, below Hells Canyon Dam we boarded the Culebra II and motored downstream.

Hells Canyon Jetboat at Kirkwood Ranch

Hells Canyon Adventures Jetboat at Kirkwood Ranch

Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America, and the scenery and the whitewater are consistent with that claim. There is certainly whitewater.

Sheep Creek Rapids, Hells Canyon, Snake River

Sheep Creek Rapids, Hells Canyon, Snake River

And there is certainly scenery.

Hells Canyon, looking downstream.

Hells Canyon, looking downstream.

There’s even charismatic megafauna (at least by Lower 48 standards).

Black Bear, Hells Canyon (Oregon side)

Black Bear, Hells Canyon (Oregon side)

And Rocky Mountain Sheep which, WC is forced to admit, are considerably larger than Alaska’s Dall Sheep.

Rocky Mountain Sheep Ram (with tracking collar), Hells Canyon

Rocky Mountain Sheep Ram (with tracking collar), Hells Canyon

And his harem.

Rocky Mountain Sheep, Hells Canyon

Rocky Mountain Sheep, Hells Canyon

The geology is pretty spectacular too, but WC will inflict share that with his readers in another post.

Hells Canyon, looking down to Granite Creek Rapids

Hells Canyon, looking down to Granite Creek Rapids

We motored 32 miles down to Pittsbugh Landing, the first road-accessible take-out point below Hells Canyon Dam, and then back up to Hells Canyon Dam. It’s a different kind of experience to motor up through a big stretch of rapids.

We enjoyed near-perfect weather. Warm but not hot, a light breeze, and enough clouds to make the sky interesting. The scenery is pretty awesome, And jet boating was a whole new way of enjoying whitewater for WC. Hells Canyon Adventures did a very nice job, and their lodge, about 13 miles above Hells Canyon Dam, is quite comfortable.

WC highly recommends the trip to anyone with a taste for motorized adventure.

 

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