The Grande Ronde river starts high in the Blue Mountains of NE Oregon, near the Anthony Lakes ski area. Salmon and steelhead still run up its 182 mile length from where it joins the Snake River in SE Washington. After watering the agricultural lands of the Grande Ronde Valley, the river flows though rugged, forested canyons. It has been designated a wild and scenic river in its lower stretches.
Basically a gentle river with a few challenging yet safe rapids, it makes for excellent family rafting. Meg and I and our sons rafted it numerous times in the late seventies and eighties. This past weekend, several of us adults from Boy Scout Troop 514 took seven Scouts down the river. The boys enjoyed learning to row, figuring out how to maneuver past rocks and other challenges. They fished and also prepared excellent meals in the dutch ovens that we brought along.
After we had set up camp Saturday afternoon, one of the boys spotted a rattlesnake crawling through camp. Although I disliked killing it, I did not want to risk the danger of someone inadvertently getting bit. I skinned it out and gave the skin to one of the Scouts. In the morning, we fried in in left over bacon grease and french toast topping. The boys found it to be tasty, and enjoyed this unique culinary experience.