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Governor's Punchbowl
Wednesday July 2nd, 2003


There are 12 photos in the slideshow at right. Download times vary from 2-3 seconds for high-speed connections, and 2-3 minutes for dial-up. Enjoy the whole show (which will load and play automatically) OR use the quick links at right to view and print individual slides (just use the BACK button on your web browser to return to this page when you are done with each slide).

*Slide 1: Alexander Ross Sign
*Slide 2
: Governor's Punchbowl
*Slide 3
: Giant Whitebark Pine
*Slide 4
: Jennifer & Gun
*Slide 5
: Big Wood Drainage
*Slide 6: Whitebark Sentinel
*Slide 7
: Elaine & Pamela
*Slide 8
: Upper Sawtooth Valley
*Slide 9
: Punchbowl Hikers
*Slide 10
: Down to Punchbowl
*Slide 11
: Charred Wood Art
*Slide 12
: Globe Flower

This steep (1300 feet elevation gain in two miles) and beautiful trek took place in the area where explorer/beaver trapper Alexander Ross reportedly first saw the jagged Sawtooth Mountains in September 1824. Ross had come from Ketchum, following the Big Wood River, looking for “brown gold” as beaver was called then. Somewhere past present day Galena Lodge, he climbed a peak and named it Mount Simpson after the Hudson Bay Company’s northern governor. In his book, “Fur Hunters”, Ross describes a pond 20 feet in diameter on top of that peak which he named the Governor’s Punchbowl.

As Ross looked over the rugged country ahead, he was said to wonder how he would proceed. “The doubt remained,” he wrote, “until I turned to view the quarter [Big Wood River watershed] we had come from, and seeing it nearly as rugged and wild as country could be it struck me that since we had passed through the one we might attempt the other (Fur Hunters p. 279.)

We hiked to a small, shallow lake, shown on the Horton Peak USGS map at the Governor’s Punch Bowl. Nearby was one of the largest whitebark pines that we had ever seen. We continued upward through more whitebarks for splendid views of the Sawtooths and Salmon River to the west, and the Big Wood drainage to the east. While lunching on Knob 9,139, and reading excerpts from Ross’ book, we concluded that Ross was likely further north, and there might be another “punchbowl” somewhere else in the rugged Boulder Mountains. We talked, too, of being surrounded by wild country, some of it protected like the Sawtooths as Wilderness, and other ranges like the Boulders, White Clouds and Smokys, still await enduring protection.

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