I took a Beamer's Jet Boat tour up into Hells Canyon south of Lewiston.  The deepest gorge in North America is carved past 7,000 ft. mountains, in places, along the Oregon Idaho border.  This masterpiece of erosion is done by the Snake River.  Rapids along the way are testimony to the work of the river.  These tour boats, with 900 horsepower engines for "hydroplaning" through the rapids, are a great attraction.

Images taken 2002


Up the canyon we went.  Natural beauty, big horn sheep, no roads, but traffic can still be an issue - river traffic.

The powerful jet boats try to be courtious following rules of the river, such as slowing down around other craft to avoid wake.  Most of the time, things are harmonious, but one boat was parked in the wrong spot; right in an approach to rapids.  Rivers must have "no parking" zones as well. 

"That's a bad place to park and he isn't going to like me." explained our pilot, "but I have no choice."  Boats must move fast for hydroplaning through shallow rapids.  This avoids scraping bottom.

As I looked back, I saw that small boat rocking a bit, but still okay.  The sight of its owner was more ominous.  He stood, with arms crossed, looking mad. 

Later in the day, as we were docked at a lodge, a small boat sped past with someone yelling out the window.  I don't even know if it was that same boat.  A phrase like "you mother fucker" could be heard by some passengers.  That screeming was in vane as the caption, who I assume the phrase was intended for, couldn't hear it.  He was on the dock side of the boat unloading luggage.  It was just some yelling in the wind, I guess. 

While most of the trip was as harmonious as magnificant, even this remote river can have "people issues."


A picnic stop far up into Hells Canyon was educational.  We toured a remote cabin, staffed by forest service volunteers.  No power lines of course, but a water wheel ran the radio and so forth.  Among other things, it is a spot for remote weather equipment.


A view from jet boat.  Deepest gorge in North America.

Photos by region, by subject, contact.

Exit to more information:
Hellscanyonvisitor.com or
Hells Canyon Preservation Society.