Up a Creek Without a Paddle

August 12, 2021, Read Time 2 mins · Annie Stillar

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It’s been a long 15 months of mostly remote work for the Klündt Hosmer crew. Too many Zoom meetings and a crash course in WFH communications protocols took the place of our usual close work style. A necessary and understandable change, but we really missed each other. (Mostly the sharing of office snacks.) Jean—a.k.a our Chief Morale Officer—made some calls and decreed to SHUT THE OFFICE DOWN, YOU ARE GOING ON A FIELD TRIP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

Our agenda for the day: a jet boat trip through Hells Canyon. Enter Lewiston-based Snake Dancer Adventures, who we can confidently say had no idea what hit them.

Like responsible adults, we armed ourselves with drinks and sunscreen and departed south up the Snake River, passing the towns of Asotin and Heller Bar. (In a crushing disappointment, it’s an actual gravel bar where the Grand Ronde River flows into the Snake.) We stopped at Buffalo Eddy, which hosts a collection of ancient petroglyphs so old even the present-day Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) Tribe is unsure of who made them or what they mean. We saw evidence of recent wildfires, stopped to swim on the beaches, and flirted with L&I because as it turns out, “If your team jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” is exactly 0% effective. We won’t name names, but Jessica showed everyone up.

Our fearless captain Clayton navigated us up Class 3 whitewater, turning on a dime before hitting rocks in as little as 8 inches of water, and he did so while managing to keep everyone dry except for Annie, who sat at the bow and was an easy target.

We saw dozens of whitewater rafts and kayakers headed downriver, a bachelor herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and endured stories of 8-foot sturgeon that cruise the shallows looking for tasty toes. Clayton shared some of the histories of Hell’s Canyon and the mighty River of No Return — the infamous Salmon River — which merges with the Snake from Idaho. We learned of fraudulent mining ventures, early ranching mishaps, and Nez Perce tribal history. (We also learned that Costco’s boozy ice pops are surprisingly excellent.)

We turned around above the confluence of Oregon’s Imnaha River, piled back into the caravan, and like any decent Inland NW travelers, had Zip’s for dinner.

Being together for a day of fun in the sun confirmed how much we’ve missed each other during our months of working from home. 10 out of 10 agencies recommend cramming grown adults into a Suburban and trekking two hours to squash the quarantine blues.