Chapter 3: Up the River

Upon completion of the telephone line, we went to Pete King Ranger Station at Lowell, in the fork. Lowell, Idaho is a post office and the population consists of one family, their hired man and anyone who happened to inhabit Pete King. 

The two daughters of the family, Cleveland by name, were charming, and we managed to meet them for a game of pedro, in spite of the efforts of their jealous ranger guard. Just above the junction of the Selway and Locksaw rivers was a ferry, made of pontoons, and held against the current by a cable stretched across the river. Throwing a rudder would force the ferry across. On the way back I had to wade breast-deep across this fast current, where a slip would have meant a doubtful survival. The picture shows this ferry with its cable, and ropes to assist the rudder by swinging the entire ferry as well. The river was about 100 yards wide at this point

While on the subject of crossing rivers, one of the telephone construction parties was delayed by rising water. At last they felled a tall tree across the rapid, and one man was able to get across it before it was swept away. He carried a line by which a #9 telephone wire was pulled across. This was rigged to hold the horses' heads above water and they were driven into the raging torrent and pulled across. Two were drowned in the process. The men were then pulled across on the wire, suspended above the river on a pulley. The wire sagged until, when the last man crossed, the seat of his trousers was being lapped by the waves. They held him in this predicament while the camera was located and the picture [left] was taken. It was none too safe a position, but the photographer must be served, and no casualty resulted.

< Previous chapter


Next chapter >