Skip and I met while hiking the Hells Canyon Wilderness of the Snake River in the mid-seventies. For our honeymoon, we took a job herding sheep in one of the roughest landscapes in the country, and spent the next four years getting to know it, and each other, intimately.
Our love of adventure and the back-country took us many out-of-the-way places. But when I found myself “in a family way” we came out of the mountains with our pack-string of horses and mules to seek steady employment and a place to call home. The Imnaha country seemed the perfect compromise, close to civilization, but not too close.
We spent ten wonderful years on the cattle ranch, raising two children, with the help of a milk cow or two, lots of grass-fed beef, and a garden. We learned that our adventures had just begun as we committed ourselves to family and community, exploring the opportunity to become stewards and caretakers of the Imnaha in all its seasons.
Eventually, we talked the boss out of this two acre piece right here between the road and the river and moved onto our “own” place. It looked a little different then… just a cabin with three rooms someone had hauled in on the back of a trailer in the fifties. Hired hands had added on a bit and when it was ours we did our share, making our own improvements. We cut down a few box elders trees, planted an orchard, and tilled up a garden site.
Skip started going a little crazy hauling home a rock or two every time he went fencing in the hill country and some of those rocks, most of them now, got stacked into walls. We had a major flood, called the five hundred year flood in 1997, when three freak storms hit, one on top of the other and we had to start over again stacking rocks when the river was finished flooding the banks. So I guess we are on our second go round.
I know you are going to wonder what kind of machinery we had available to us to gather and stack these rocks and I’m going to tell you every one was picked up by hand or rolled up a board into the back of a pickup truck. In some cases it defies the imagination. For some bizarre reason we really like stacking rock. The bigger the better.
We spent ten years here at the River House with our family watching otter, beaver, heron, elk and deer from the cabin’s windows. We all have fond memories of the River House and although our children are grown and have families of their own, we still like to meet here and talk of old times while we make new memories with each other.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy this place as we have, and take care of it as if it was your own, even for just a short time.
Skip and Pam Royes