~Hell's Canyon~

The thing that got my attention in Hell's Canyon was the total silence. It was like being thrown into another world with no one and no thing to make a sound. Even the Snake River was quiet due to the dams. Hells Canyon has the deepest gorge in the U.S. Even deeper than the Grand Canyon. This the effect of the draining of Lake Bonneville. During my visit I was back and forth between Idaho and Oregon about six times as the Canyon straddles the border. There is essentially only one way in on either side. If I had been four-wheeling, I could have gotten out by a dirt trail. However, I wasn't and had to go out the way I came in.
The river here is dammed three times by the Brownlee Dam, the Oxbow Dam, and finally by the Hell's Canyon Dam. They form three reservoirs and provide much of the electric power for Idaho.
While reading to gather information on the canyon, I became aware of the adverse effect these dams have on the salmon, bass and other wildlife in the canyon. They also cause changes in water temperature and the the sediments in the river. There is a question whether these dams will have their hydroelectric generating licenses renewed in 2005. If that happens, the dams will be removed and the river allowed to flow naturally through the canyon.
It's not likely the Bush Administration will ever return any part of this country back to its natural form though. So we'll be stuck with more pollution and more of man's negative influence.
It was so quiet.




A lone boater coming home

The Brownlee Dam Reservoir

The Brownlee Dam

The Oxbow Dam

Big Bar

A campground is near here
Big Bar was settled in the 1890's and the land was used for farming and fruit growing. The fruit and vegetables were carried by pack horses to the Seven Devil's mining area. The fruit was of exceptional quality and won awards at fairs. A major portion of Big Bar is now covered by water backed up by the Hells Canyon Dam.

The rugged canyon walls

The Snake twists and turns

The Hells Canyon Dam

The diversion tunnel
When dams are built the river has to be redirected in order for construction to take place. In the case of the Hells Canyon Dam a tunnel had to be blasted through the mountain to allow the water to flow through.

A couple of views of the canyon

from near Black Point

A mountain above the river

The Brownlee Dam Reservoir

An interesting rock formation

Steep cliffs line the canyon
Water does amazing things to the rocks and earth. In the photo on the right you can see the canyon wall, the road I was travelling and the river. Not a lot of room here.

Music is "Converging Shadows"
An Original composition by Bruce DeBoer

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