Light in Saqánma

We had perfect spring weather for backpacking in the bottom of Saqánma (Hells Canyon) a couple weeks ago: moody and dramatic but never seriously stormy. The light shows began the moment we first arrived at the river the evening before our hike. I parked, grabbed tripod and camera and headed straight for a view, hoping nothing would rattle at me in the tall grass. Nothing did, and the reflected sunset on the Snake was a wonderful welcome.

Kirkwood Ranch is a pretty decadent backpacking destination, with picnic tables, a flush toilet and a homestead converted to museum by the Forest Service. It won’t be mistaken for deep wilderness, but it’s a stunning place, and the dramatic light continued to show off.

The river trail here only seldom approaches the river, but that’s fine by me. The views of the spring green canyon crags and river bends from several hundred feet up were consistently outstanding. I made several breathless morning and evening trips up the steep trail above Kirkwood to enjoy the light and weather.

Saqánma is simply a stunning place, especially while it’s green and cool. I’m hoping to manage another visit soon to somewhere much higher up the canyon walls.

5 thoughts on “Light in Saqánma

    • Thanks Rajan! There wasn’t actually much more sky to get in that image – that light in the west turned to dark clouds overhead pretty fast, and all the action was down where the river was reflecting. Re. drones, I would guess the answer is yes. A lot of Hells Canyon is designated wilderness, but not the immediate river corridor, which gets a lot of jet boat traffic. Maybe someday I’ll charter a flight. Idaho backcountry flying is amazing, I used to get to do it occasionally when I was a river guide.

  1. Frankly, Kirkwood sounds like our speed. ;-) Such beautiful light and reflections on the river! It’s good to see these – we’d been thinking about exploring this area a while back and it dropped off our radar.

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