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Camping in the Canyon

Part of my independent project involves cataloging all the campsites along the South Fork of the Snake River. As most of these sites are intended to allow anglers to do a longer float down the river by providing a place to sleep overnight, they can only be accessed from the river. So, in order to reach them to catalog, my mentor and I, along with a fellow intern, decided to do a two-day float through the canyon stretch of the South Fork. This area is called the canyon stretch as the river runs through about 20 miles of a canyon, with large, beautiful rock faces looming over each shore of the river.

Pictured: different sections of the South Fork along the canyon stretch

We started our float out of Conant, one of the developed boat ramps I also had to catalog this summer. As we went, I was nervous that I would miss a campsite because I had no idea how well they would be marked, but was pleasantly surprised when I could easily see a sign indicating a campsite from a few yards away, so we had time to maneuver ourselves into a good position to safely dock. Once at a campsite, I would geotag the location, look around at the amenities, and take ample pictures. I later plan to add these notes and pictures to my catalog of South Fork sites.

Pictured left: an example of what a sign designating a campsite looks like; pictured right: me taking notes about a campground, including: coordinates, how many sites are available, and what the area around it looks like

Just like the anglers who need these campsites to have a safe place to stay, we also chose to camp overnight. After playing with my mentor’s dog, Josie, and cooking a fajita dinner together, all three of us sat around the table to play some cards. I showed them how to play one of my favorite games: “President”. After about two hours of playing, we called it a night as we had another day of floating in front of us.

Now, I am back in our office writing this post. Even though I’ve only been off the river for a few hours, I already miss the rock of the waves, the beautiful scenery, or the chance to jump into the cool water at each campground. I never would have thought that I would be spending my summer having this much fun on a river while still working hard from 9-5, but I am so glad I decided to give it a try.

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