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The Gearboat Chronicles

When Hells Blooms Over

Ready. Set. Raft.

Winding Waters staff has been down in Hells Canyon watering all the plants so things are green and training the wild animals to come out for pictures. So everything’s all set for another splendid boating season. We’re launching a trip May 15 for a three-day sojourn amongst those big ol’ canyon walls and green, green Sound of Music hillsides sporting artful wildflower arrangements. Hells and high water, y’all. Get you some.

Here we have a lively action photo taken during a Spring Hells Canyon trip of  yore. Camera operator on this was photographer Kendrick Moholt. The raft is in a big trough. Passengers smiling. Snake River splooshing up a fun wave. Thanks to some judicious cropping of the photo, we’re spared from seeing the pilot of this boat, who . . . wait a minute, that’s me rowing. I know the back of that hand on that oar like the back of my hand. OK. I get it. Fine.

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Let’s just move on with a review of some of the sights you might see along the Hells Canyon corridor in Spring. Mountain goats, black bear, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, sasquatch and chupacabras are on the list, but we’re always putting photos of them up here so for the sake of variety I’ll throw in some of the under-appreciated Hells Canyon residents.


Awwww. This little nibbler was frolicking around on a tranquil hillside near Hominy Bar. So cute. But that’s because you can’t see the fangs from this angle. Hells Canyon is home to a population of Monty Python rabbits, which are not to be fooled with. And that’s why you go with professional river guides. I’ve seen Morgan fend off attacks by these beasts, coming at him from all angles, using just a carabiner and his surprising dexterity.



What we have here is a chukar. This is what makes those chuk-chuk-chuk sounds you hear while floating along. As far as I know, chukars do not exhibit the same aggressiveness and the bunnies. But you never know. Also, I’m told they are quite delicious.


From wildlife to wide open views, this here is a shot of the Suicide Point hike. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s not all that bad. Steep drop, yes. But the trail is really pretty easy going and well worth the juant.


Usually the timing works out to get a birds-eye view of the gearboat pulling downstream. Here we see Todd taking off from Salt Creek camp, loaded down with all the comforts of a Winding Waters camp.


So there’s a peek at Hells Canyon springtime. Our new guide, Jordan Manley, just got back from a week down in Hells, foraging around and living off the land with Joe Whittle, local writer and photographer. We’ll have to get their biscuit root casserole recipe and maybe try that out among the menu rotation. I’m especially excited about the signature hot sauce I saw in the boathouse kitchen that Hilary just made.

Give us a call and get on board for a Hells, Grande Ronde or Lower Salmon expedition.

See you on the riv.