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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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on June 28, 2000
My wife and I enjoyed reading this book aloud to each other. There are really some very wonderful stories about the individuals who lived their lives in this demanding but beautiful area. I've read a couple dozen books on Pacific Northwest history and enjoyed them all, but this one really highlights average individuals more than most. Reading this book is relaxing and engaging at the same time, a nice combination.
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on August 13, 2006
This is an excellent historical guide to the Hells Canyon region of the Snake River along the Oregon-Idaho-Washington border. The first 100 pages are a chronological account of the canyon area, from the Lewis & Clark explorations in 1806 to modern-day river runners and captains. The remaining 300 pages detail sections of the river beginning at Cambridge, ID, and continuing north through Brownlee Reservoir, Hells Canyon Dam, Pittsburg Landing, and all the way to Lewiston. These lengthy sections are marvelously described, and if the authors could find some historical scrap of information regarding any of the streams, gulches, landmarks, even abandoned cabins found along the way, they included it. It's all laid out from the perspective of someone actually voyaging down the river, and mileage markers signal points of interest. The book makes for fascinating reading, even if you never set eyes on the actual canyon. It's extremely well illustrated, too, with many archival photographs of sites and people of the region. A wonderful historical guide (very similar to the state Roadside History series) - highly recommended.
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on May 5, 2012
First, be forewarned that this is not a route guide in the traditional sense. Instead, it is a guide to the history along the Snake River's Hells Canyon. Clearly this is an area colorful history, rich characters, and occasional remnants to remind us of another time. This is the kind of history that brings a place alive and it seems to be gloriously free of the politically-correct revisions we get used to in the National Parks and other government-driven histories.

The stories are arranged with the river and you can go with the flow. Each chapter has a sufficiently detailed hand-drawn map to figure out where the stories take place and to index yourself with a decent USGS or river map. There are hundreds of pictures. The stories are a nice blend of "here is the history of what happened at that site over there" and more interesting stories with intrigue, mystery, and some crime.

If you are headed for Hells Canyon, enjoy history, and would like to paint a story across the mosaic of rocks and scrubland, this is definitely book for you. If you want a guide book to hiking the trails, go look somewhere else.
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on July 22, 2008
I enjoyed this book immensely. The history of the Middle Fork was well presented in a manor that kept me well engauged. However, if you are looking for a practical guide to paddling or rowing the river (and to locate the hot-springs) I'd Recommend "The Middle Fork of the Salmon River : A Comprehensive Guide"; a waterproof spiral bound book primarily aimed at rafters, but indispensable to kayakers & canoeists as well.
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on August 14, 2007
I expected this to be a real river guide, but it is a bunch of stories of all the strange "Idaho loners" who've lived along the Middle Fork of the Salmon over the years...some surprisingly recent. Knowing these stories definitely added something to my trip down the river, and the mile by mile organization makes it easy to connect the places you see to the stories. Worth having before you make the trip.
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on May 16, 2013
Authors' compiled in-depth historical information about Snake River, Hells Canyon, Idaho/Oregon. Very readable. Cover laminate quite wrinkled, but interior all readable. Took 2 weeks to arrive.
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on November 28, 2015
Bought this after rafting the Middle Fork. Fascinating history and stories. I would have bought it before the trip if I'd have know. The guides used this book frequently. Worth every penny.
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on February 7, 2007
I love Idaho history and this is another excellent book that covers the Snake River and homesteaders who tried to tame it's wild ways. Another great C. Conley book.
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on October 8, 2015
Great book. Had to buy another since I lent out my other two and they never came back! Great history and information.
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on January 31, 2000
A river guide essential! The definite history of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River from Bear Valley to the Main Salmon. Contains journal entries from the 1879 Sheepeater War, as well as 18 maps, 200 photos and is 386 pages. Don't float without it!
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