Depending on the severity of the rot either cut the offending wood out and replace or if it's not to bad use a penetrating epoxy and, if necessary, a light piece of fiberglass mat. There are products available which are designed to penetrate, stiffen, and stablize dry rot. It is late June when my son Robert and I meet Al Bukowsky below Dagger Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
Anchored by a stern rope to an exposed pine root, it glows with Sapeli Mahogany—a swirling African hardwood that captures the early morning light in a spectrum of gold, orange, walnut and ebony. Standing in the square stern and framed between the forested hills and moving water, Bukowsky is the first to admit the Middle Fork’s whitewater offers little room for error.
What drift boats lack in structural strength, they compensate for in buoyancy and maneuverability.
The first wooden boats to run the Middle Fork date back to the summer of 1926 when Payette businessman and photographer Henry Weidner, his son Wes, rancher Harold Mallet and friend and prospector Roy Herrington launched two canoes into Bear Valley’s Marsh Creek.
Cort Conley and Johnny Carrey’s excellent book, “The Middle fork, A Guide,” details how legendary Utah River Guide Bus Hatch and his brother-in-law Royce “Cap” Mowrey followed nine years later. Drift boats appeared on the Middle Fork in July of 1939 when McKenzie boat builder Woodie Hindman and his wife Ruth launched into Marsh Creek above Dagger Falls.
When the Hindmans belayed their drift boat down Dagger Falls neither knew what lay around the next bend. In the first mile Al rows Robert into the shadow of a towering cliff that plummets down a smooth variegated granite wall into the clear water.


Robert has fished since he was three, young enough and long enough that his fly rod communicates fluency to his floating line. While Al holds the drift boat in an eddy, Robert lays a foam bodied Club Sandwich on the foam line next to cliff. Searching the fly box that lies open on the brilliant forward deck for a Jack Cabe, (a fly so deadly it can neither be photographed, compared or described in print) I’m struck by Bukowsky’s skill as a boat builder. Only a guide who has feathered a drift boat around rocks or scraped over a basalt ledge realizes that wood is neither durable, nor forgiving.
Pulling on the oars to slip past a granite boulder, Bukowsky tells us about a retiring Middle Fork outfitter who sank a drift boat on his final commercial trip. Clients cannot help but notice Bukowsky’s rolling gait and the tortured Redwing boot cinched over his right foot. While Al and the other guides set up the kitchen and start the fire for Solitude’s world famous “Middle Fork Fried Chicken,” Robert and I claim a tent then start to climb through the waist high grass toward a peak that rises above camp. Days on the Middle Fork slip between brilliant vistas, raging white water and a captivating history.
Robert fills his first three days with fishing then joins six other guests in the paddle raft. Silhouetted against the water’s glare, the owner of Solitude River Trips is outfitted in a pressed Orvis shirt, fresh khaki pants and a weathered felt hat. He was eighteen, a year younger than Robert when he launched a McKenzie boat into Oregon’s Deschutes, a couple of years older when he challenged the Rogue.


Surrounded by Idaho’s enormous Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, this combination of white water, wildlife clean campsites, sheep eater pictographs and dramatic vistas make this one of the Northwest’s premier float trips.
He appears to be in his late fifties, has a fine sense of humor and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge about the Middle Fork’s history, fauna and geology. The last of the big three are the Hoppers, which commence around the third week in July and continue through mid October. For the next six days we spend mornings casting to Cuts, running rapids and photographing the river, cliffs and tributary streams.
I have no way of knowing whether my youngest son will thrive in the Academy’s intense physical and educational curriculum.
Matt has an ability to spin a great tale and although he can’t spell at 5 in the morning when he writes most of his blog entries, he sure can bring a smile to your face with his wit and humour. And when Woodie and Ruth finally reached the Salmon they described a river that pumped through the wild heart of the Northern Rockies. I have no hope of keeping up with my nineteen-year-old son and as the rolling hills give way to scree slides, Robert leaves me behind. Looking for fresh ideas for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion celebration in Noosa?




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Comments to “Wood drift boat manufacturers 1970s”

  1. R_i_S_o_V_k_A  writes:
    Which you receives a commission and.
  2. narko  writes:
    Specific points to the material used that are worth considering are an skilled builder.