New Meadows to White Bird
Day 16: 66 miles. Total: 790 miles
Today was all about the Salmon River, which I rode beside most of the day. The Salmon made up for my disappointment in the Snake. Unlike the Snake, the Salmon is wild and free.
But the day started on the Little Salmon River. This morning the road followed the Little Salmon down stream. While the road was slightly downhill, I knew it wouldn't get any steeper as I was following this slow moving river. All of a sudden the road narrowed, the shoulder disapeared, and started downhill at a much steeper grade. Where I camped last night it was a quiet meandering stream, but now it is a raging torrent.
I'm sure some of my river rafting friends know all about the Little Salmon River. The rapids continued on 20 miles to where the Little Salomon joined the Salmon at Riggins.
At one point, on the Little Salmon, there were trucks parked on both sides of the road and hundreds of people fishing. There were also some Nez Perse selling fresh Salmon out of a cooler.
Riggins is another river rafting capital, with numerous outfitters, tours, etc. all along the road. There were also jet boat trips to Hells Canyon.
I ran into Kelsey, Rachel, and Dan again just as they were about to go river rafting on the Salmon. Their biked were being shuttled to the take out point 10 miles down river in Lucile. I did laundery in Riggins before heading on.
From here on I was following the Salmon, which is a very big river.
Later on I met up with Kelsey, Rachel, and Dan and we rode into White Bird together. We cammped in their little park. The locals were mostly friendly. A woman came by and invited the girls to take a shower. I guess that happens to them a lot. Definite advantages for pretty young women not often afforded to us old geezers.
We were now following the Nez Perce trail and were now in White Bird Canyon, the location of the famous battle in which the Nez Pierce defeated the U.S. Army. My young riding companions were completely ignorant of the history of Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce. This seems like a significant part of American history, but I guess they don't teach it in school. Too bad. I took the opportunity to share what I knew.