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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
North Fork in Lemhi County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

Salmon River Encounter

Downriver Reconnaissance

 
 
Salmon River Encounter Panel image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 24, 2017
1. Salmon River Encounter Panel
Panel on the left.
Inscription. Three panels make up this marker.

Salmon River Encounter

... a Small river at the mouth of Which Several families of Indians were encamped and had Several Scaffolds of fish & buries drying we allarmed (sic) them verry much as they knew nothing of a white man being in their Countrey, and at the time we approached their Lodges which was in a thick place of bushes - my guides were behind. - They offered every thing they possessed (which was verry Littl (sic)) to us, Some run off and hid in the bushes. The first offer of theirs were Elks tuskes from around their Childrens necks, Sammon, & c. my guide (soon) attempted passifyed those people and they Set before me berres, & fish to eate (sic), I gave a few Small articles to those fritened (sic) people which added verry much to their pasification but not entirely as Some of the women & Childn Cried during my Stay of an hour at this place . . .”
Clark; August 22, 1805


The Main Stem Salmon River and the North Fork met in a series of rapids where salmon entered the smaller tributary to spawn. This was the perfect place to catch them as they attempted to swim up the shallow, narrow creek. Drying racks made of willow were placed on the low banks or on the dry portion of the river bars. Conical brush
North Fork Area Lewis and Clark Opportunities panel, center image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 24, 2017
2. North Fork Area Lewis and Clark Opportunities panel, center
Travel west on the Salmon River Road to view the rapids and vertical cliffs of the Salmon River Canyon that so daunted Clark that he abandoned the Salmon River as a viable water route. About 6 miles west is an interpretive sign describing Sore Feet Horse Camp, while at 20 miles west is the Infamous Pine Creek rapids and another interpretive sign that describes why Clark abandoned the quest. On the north side of the road and immediately west of the Salmon River Ranches you can gaze up and see the ridge where Toby showed Clark how difficult further passage would be.
At Wagonhammer Springs Picnic Area and Trailhead about 1 mile south of here you can start a 6-mile one way hike along the rolling hills and open prairies of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Be sure to stop in at the North Fork Ranger Station to get more information and maps of the route before you begin this relatively arduous hike.
Following Highway 93 north over Lost Trail Pass leads to the visitors center and several interpretive signs along the highway. The signs tell the story of Deep Creek camp, crossing of Lost Trail Pass and modern day efforts at defining the Trail. At the rest area on top of the Pass are more interpretive opportunities and information about the Montana section of the trail.
huts providing shelter for the Indians were placed on the higher river bars in a dense concentration of willow, rose, choke cherry, service berries, Columbia hawthorn and an occasional pine tree. There was very little game in the area, just an occasional elk, deer, bighorn sheep, bird or small mammal to eat when the salmon weren’t running.

Downriver Reconnaissance

The water is so rapid and the bed of the river so rocky, that going by water appeared impracticable; and the mountains so amazingly high, steep and rocky, that it seemed impossible to go along the river by land. ... we all turned back up the river again, poor and uncomfortable enough, as we had nothing to eat, and there is no game. We proceeded up about 3 miles, and supperless went to rest for the night - August 24, 1805

Although the Indians he talked with advised against it, Clark decided to determine for himself whether or not it would be feasible to float down the Salmon - or Lewis River as he called it. Clark explored nearly 40 miles of the river before sheer, high cliffs of solid rock and almost continual rapids convinced him the Indians were right. There was no other way west, they would have to go over the mountains.
 
Erected by U.S. Forest Service.
 
Marker series.
Downriver Reconnaissance Marker, right image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 24, 2017
3. Downriver Reconnaissance Marker, right
Click on the image to enlarge it and read the details of Clark's Reconnaissance and the Corp's route over Lost Trail Pass.

"This map is an artists rendition of Clark's reconnaissance of the Salmon River Valley. Present day pace names and Clark's journal names in parenthesis are represented in approximate locations."
This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
 
Location. 45° 24.428′ N, 113° 59.772′ W. Marker is in North Fork, Idaho, in Lemhi County. Marker is on Salmon River Road (Forest Road 30) near Casey Road (U.S. 93), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Fork ID 83466, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. In Commemoration of Old Toby the Shoshone Indian (within shouting distance of this marker); Lewis and Clark (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hungry, Wet and Cold (approx. 5.1 miles away); Nez Perce Trail (approx. 5.4 miles away); Tower Creek (approx. 7.4 miles away); Tower Rock: William Clark's "Clift" (approx. 7.9 miles away); William Clark's Campsite, August 21 and 25, 1805 (approx. 7.9 miles away); In memory of Jeff Allen and Shane Heath (approx. 8.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Fork.
 
Categories. Exploration
 
Salmon River Encounter Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 24, 2017
4. Salmon River Encounter Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 56 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 5, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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