The Salmon River is the legendary “River of No Return,” and we followed a portion of the river from White Bird to Riggins, Idaho’s whitewater capital. Highway 95 parallels this mighty river, and we witnessed how its power had carved the beautiful Salmon River Canyon through the mountains. On the way we passed back into Mountain Time Zone, one more indication that we’re nearing the end of our trip.
|The Salmon River Is Peaceful Here|
|The Salmon River Cut this Canyon|
A bit farther south we turned onto the Payette River Scenic Byway. The Payette River seemed to be even wilder than the section of the Salmon we had been following. We watched the river crashing and tumbling its way over rocks through the narrow river valley. Often the river was a wild torrent, while in other places it was barely a ripple.
|Payette River Whitewater|
McCall was our destination for lunch. This quaint resort mountain town sits on Payette Lake and is a popular place for both summer and winter recreation. We soon climbed into tall tree country and ascended into high mountain valleys. Snowcapped peaks provided a dramatic backdrop for much of the day.
|High Mountain Valleys|
|Snow Lingers on the Mountains|
We arrived in Boise, Idaho’s capital, and drove through the downtown area where we saw the capitol building. Our favorite stop, however was a local co-op, where we picked out local cheeses, wine and produce. The prepared foods were too tempting to resist. We will eat well for the next few days.
When we stopped for the evening, I uncorked a bottle of a local red wine from the Snake River Valley called Chicken Dinner. I just loved the name, but the wine also turned out to be very good. It was a nice way to end a lovely day.
The Snake River cuts its way through much of south central Idaho, and the river was our constant companion for much of today. The high desert plateau which we passed through is now a rich agricultural region, thanks to irrigation provided by the Snake River.
|The Snake River Winds Its Way Through South Central Idaho|
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument also owes its existence to the Snake River and what was found in the bluffs that form the river canyon. The monument protects the world’s richest known fossil deposits of the late Pliocene Epoch, about 3.5 million years ago. Hagerman also contains the largest concentration of fossilized horses in North America and is most famous for the Hagerman Horse, Idaho’s state fossil.
|The Hagerman Horse|
Although it is not possible to view fossils on a trail, we were able to get a closer look at the sedimentary layers in the bluffs, which are approximately 600 feet high. Each layer in the formation represents a different geologic event. The views down to the Snake River were beautiful.
|Snake River Overlook|
|Sedimentary Layers in the Bluffs|
|Oregon Trail Ruts Are Visible Between the Two Poles|
|This Is the Landscape that the Oregon Trail Emigrants Traversed|
|Who Would Try to Jump the Snake River Canyon?|