Valley County, IDGenWeb Project

East Fork South Fork Trail

by Ron Smith
East Fork of the South Fork Trail

One spring day in, I believe 1952, Lafe Cox was asked to pack the right of way cutters camp down to Deadman Bar. One of the fallers name was Pete Petersen, I don't recall the other fellow's name.

We packed up at the Carpenter Ranch, now belonging to the Egurens, and headed down river to where the old trail starts around the rock bluffs. The construction company had the road roughed in that far — they were building the road on down the East fork to where it dumps in to the South fork of the Salmon River. (see map)

Lafe and I each had two head of pack stock plus our two riding horses. I was riding a good sized white horse called Demo. Lafe started around the narrow trail which was blasted through solid rock with his pack string. I was close behind him. Just as we got out on the bad part of the trail Lafe stopped and we both dismounted. Right a way old Demo started getting nervous, small rocks and dirt were sifting down on us, that and the roaring river down below about 50 feet didn't help things either! I yelled for Lafe to pull ahead but found out later he couldn't. The drilling crew had their Jack hammer, hoses and other equipment blocking the trail. The crew had also pried all the loose rocks on the edge of the trail in to the river. By that time Demo was wanting to go back home, he pivoted on his hind legs and turned around in the trail all I could do was give him his head and let him go.There I was with a backward saddle horse facing two loaded pack horses on a very narrow trail. In a little while Lafe was able to move ahead some. I squeezed past Demo, backed him up to a little wider space and turned him around. When the drill crew cleared the trail of their stuff Lafe and I untied all the horses so if one horse went over it wouldn't pull the others with it. This narrow trail was several hundred feet long. I can remember the inside packs scraping on the wall of the trail as we led them through. Lafe and I both walked on that section!

We headed on down the trail at a good clip until the little black mare Butter Fly decided she wanted rid of her pack. She soon calmed down so before to long we made it to Deadman Bar, dropped off the camp and headed back to the Carpenter ranch. The next day the road crew blasted the narrow trail into the river. Lafe and I were the last people to take a pack string over that trail.

The next summer my brother Jack, Lavalle Dugdale, and I all worked on the East fork road.

Lafe Cox & Ron Smith on the Trail

Lafe Cox and Ron Smith with last pack horses to come over East Fork Trail at Caton Creek. The Road Crew blasted the trail into the river after we returned from packing camp to Deadman Bar for right-of-way cutters, 1952.

The 1920's

Frank Foster and wife

Frank Foster and wife on trail in 1920

Frank Foster & Ray Call building trail

Frank Foster and Ray Call building trail in 1920.


before the trail, 1920

Before the trail, 1920



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