Herd creek or how to spend a day off

I’m writing this a few days later.  My next post will detail an encounter with a wild wolf on Loon creek.  Stay tuned!

Herd creek is a large tributary of the East Fork of the Salmon River.  Although the elevation is quite high, it is notorious with our people as being one of the hottest places to work.  The creek meanders down a narrow rock canyon with willows and sage brush in the bottom.   Most of the pictures were shot in 2009.  A busy schedule mixed with poor weather made photography problematic.

I did take Praxy up to look things over on Sunday.  She was heading home on Monday and I wanted to spend a quality day with her and show here the sites.  We drove up on Herd creek and shot a picture of the local dragon…

This odd shaped lava hoodoo looks over the tagging site on Herd creek.  It can’t be seen from just about anywhere else on the creek.  We drove on up to the Little Boulder creek trailhead.  I had shot a picture of me last year BBQing a steak and I wanted to show her the site.

This was a tasty steak, cooked on open coals.  I shot the picture with the camera sitting on the picnic table.  This year we drove up to this…

Under that very table one year later was a lost chicken, how it got there I haven’t the slightest clue.  It was tame and hoping for a handout.  Each time I walked up for a picture, it would look around at the ground near me hoping to find some scratch.  I could have easily grabbed it, but I had no way to carry a chicken around and I wouldn’t know what to do with one anyway.  Perhaps it stowed away in one of the horse packer’s trailers, there were eight of them in the parking lot.  I checked with some of the locals, but no one had any idea whose chicken it might be.  Now, for some sightseeing in the area, this all from last year.  I had a day off and spent it checking out some of my old haunts.

Railroad Ridge-  This is a 6 mile wild-and-wooly drive up big Boulder canyon, past the Livingston mine, then continuing to a parking area about 10,100 feet above sea level.  This road is rough, I recommend it only to high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles and….

motorcycles.  This was shot looking north from the main parking area.  The wind was howling and the temp was cold.  I shot a few pictures and then retreated to an area on the lee side with a view of the China Wall.


The China wall, which overlooks Slate lake.

The mountain just east of Railroad.

Railroad, yep, just Railroad.  This rock is 10,500 feet above sea level.  The hike to the top is tricky, the way is filled with loose rock and gravel.  There was no way I would attempt that climb by myself.  A very enjoyable afternoon can be spent loosening rocks and sending them down the snowbank on the left side.  That is a long, long drop to the bottom, those rocks loose 1,500-2,000 feet of elevation before the slope finally levels out.  It doesn’t take those rocks very long to get to the bottom, either, which encourages more rolled rocks to pass the time.  China wall is on the right of this picture.

The road up from the East Fork is in the center of this picture.  A mine is just out of sight in the foreground.  Years ago, the mine was home to whom we called the  “Railroad Ridgerunners”.  A very isolated lady was living there with her two sons.  Local word was that her father sold the mine to Hecla and she and the kids could stay there for free as a condition of the sale for as long as they wanted.  I think they all went stir-crazy or hog-wild.  If you drove by, you could expect a verbal assault on the return trip.  One time the boys stopped us by catching us with a motorcycle.  The one looked like Johnny Carson as “Floyd Turbo”, complete with a red flannel shirt and a snap top hunting cap.  He had a “No Trespassing” sign tucked down the back of his shirt and an oddly affected manner.  The other approached our rig with a sidearm at the ready.  He chose the canyon side of our rig and if he’d gone for that gun, he would have been dead as one of our crew was gonna let him have it with the car door and there was a steep 200 foot drop to the creek.   A few years later they set up a “parking concession” at the Big Boulder trailhead.  The hikers and packers complained.  That occurrence totally pissed off the Forest Service and the days of the Railroad Ridgerunners were numbered after that.  I’m guessing they got a hefty fine and some unveiled threats.  Last year the place appeared deserted.  No way I was going to go over and check, though.   After all, mama didn’t raise no foolish child.

Next was a trip to one of my favorite secret hot springs.  There is an old hot tub back in the woods and it was time for me to take a dip and soak off the traveling grime.



The reason this place is so nice is that it is well hidden, both by word-of-mouth and location.   All I will say is that it is the East Fork drainage.

Gotta haul the water from the creek to the tub.  The water coming out of the hillside is much to warm for soaking.  I spent about an hour here before some other people, locals, showed up also.  Next, I almost meet Hokey wolf.

About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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