Idaho History Jan 20, 2019

1907 Trip to Riordan Lake

Southwest Idaho in 1907


(Emmett to Roosevelt Wagon Road highlighted)

(click for larger zoomable map)

This was cropped from a 1907 State of Idaho Map.
source: Mike Fritz collection

Link to full size whole map:
— — — — — — — — — —

To Riordan Lake by Horse and Wagon

walterlcole-aWalter L. Cole 1907

In 1907, my great grandfather – Walter L. Cole – kept a journal of a trip he took with a friend, Perry, to Central Idaho’s Riordan Lake just southeast of Yellow Pine, Idaho. …

This copy of his journal is as he wrote it. I haven’t taken any liberties other than to put in paragraphs at the end of each day. I hope you enjoy it. – Ken Cole

Saturday Sept. 14, 1907
On this day we left Meridian at 12:35 and drove to Box Springs on Willow creek where we camped for the night.

Sunday Sept. 15, 1907
On the A.M. of the 15 we left Box Springs at 7:35 and nooned 1 1/2 miles from Sweet. At 6:15 we camped for the night at about 1/2 mile from Reed’s old sawmill on Dry Buck.

Monday Sept. 16, 1907
Next day at 7:45 o’clock we left camp and nooned at High Valley. At about 6 o’clock we camped 1 mile north of Clear Creek.

Tuesday Sept. 17, 1907
On Tues 17 we started very early and drove to Thunder City and spent until 2 o’clock getting a wheel fixed up and tire set. Then we pulled into Scott’s Valley and camped in a light rain at 5:15. Rain soon stopped and I went out and tried to catch some fish but it was too cold for them to bite.

Wednesday Sept. 18, 1907
Early next morning 7:10 we pulled out of camp and started our journey. We nooned about 4 miles west of Knox. We pulled up some very steep grade for 6 miles and then came to Cabin Creek Summit. Over the summit we drove into Trout Creek and after driving down 2 1/2 miles of the roughest road on the trip we came to camp in a nice little flat which was filled with very nice feed.

Thursday Sept. 19, 1907
Next morning we started early after my taking a picture of Perry and the team. We nooned at the Johnson Creek Summit. That night we camped on Riordan Creek. Today’s trip was the roughest and steepest we have had. We tried to catch some fish in Johnson Creek but was too cold for them to bite. We drove down Riordan Creek about 3/4 mile and camped. It was too muddy to go any further down as we feared we could not get back at all. At least without making about 1/2 mile of road.

Friday Sept. 20, 1907
Next A.M. we did not get up very early so consequently did not catch but 6 lake trout. After fishing until 2 o’clock we went to camp and got some supper and went back to fish again. I caught one on a White Miller and Perry caught 8 on a grub worm that he got out of a log. Tired and wet we pulled up the lake and went to camp to bed.

Saturday Sept. 21, 1907
Next morning the 21 we got breakfast pretty early and started to look for deer. After climbing about 4 hrs we did not see any deer sign and went back to camp. I shot the heads off of 4 fool hens and killed 2 more with rocks. After resting in camp for awhile we got dinner fed the horses & watered them and then hunted grub worms. We had fine luck finding enough for bait for tomorrow. We are having one of the best suppers that ever was cooked- Baked Beans- Jiblet gravy – fried chicken, and coffee with dutch oven bread and butter. After supper we cleaned up the dishes and smoked our pipes a short time and then turned in. Shortly before going to bed Tip raised a bark and we saw what was either a bear or a timber wolf within 25 yd’s of the camp. We were not sure that it was not a large dog that belongs at the station until after he got out of shotgun range.

Sunday Sept. 22, 1907
Next morning being, Sunday the 22, we got up early and went fishing – we did not get there early enough however but after fishing from about 9 o’clock until 4 we caught sixty-four trout and killed 2 ducks. We are living in hopes of Roast duck with dressing and brown gravy for tomorrow. We are now getting supper which consists of Dutch oven bread – good coffee, Baked beans & Bacon, Foolhen stew and prospects of duck tomorrow. Tomorrow we expect to go out for deer again.

Monday Sept. 23, 1907
We got up at 6 o’clock and after breakfast went to look for deer. After prowling around some of the worst country that ever was, until about 2 o”clock I went to camp. On the way I killed 2 chickens. About 4:15 Perry came plodding along , tired and hungry and no deer. Tomorrow we will fish again and hope for better luck. We had Bread & Butter- Tomatoes – Beans Coffee and Prunes. Pretty good for campers. And fish, I forgot that.

Tuesday Sept. 24, 1907
Next day we went fishing early. Got up at 4:20 and at 7:10 we were at the Lake. After fishing until about 4 o’clock we went home to camp and counted up. Perry had 110 and I had 75. We threw away about 50 as they were under 6 or 7 in. in length and we did not want to salt any thing so small. After supper we went to bed tired out nearly.

Wednesday Sept. 25, 1907
Next morning we did not get up until 6:30 and in the a.m. we cleaned & slimed fish and washed two towels. This after noon we corduroyed about 100 yd’s of road and had a terrible job of it. It was so bad that we were afraid that we could not get out unless we fixed it. Tonight we were expecting to pull towards home tomorrow but after having a talk with Peterson the stage man we have decided to stay and hunt some different country. He said that he was certain that we could get deer on Meadow Creek so we will try. We put the canvas on the wagon and put our tent up as it looks very much like snow or rain today.

Thursday Sept. 26, 1907
This morning we got up expecting to see a couple of inches of snow but instead the moon was shining. At about 7 o’clock the weather grew very cold and the fish did not bite at all well. We fished until 11:00 and only caught 12. This afternoon we got fish bait for tomorrow and salted down our fish. We think we have nearly 50 lbs. of trout salted and expect to get more. I tried to take a photo of the lake but was too cloudy. Will get one before we leave.

Friday Sept. 27, 1907
Today we went fishing but it was rather too cloudy & windy. We had no luck to speak of until about eleven o’clock when they started to bite pretty fair. We caught 85 good trout and about 25 that we threw back to grow bigger. We caught more big fish today than any other time. I took two photos of the lake and hope to get some more of the country around here before we leave. If we had not run out of bait we would have caught a number more fish. Perry & I shot 5 helldivers today but did not eat them. I suppose the lynx or whatever it is that prowls around our camp at night will get them before morning. Tomorrow we go for deer again.

Saturday Sept. 28, 1907
At last we are in bed again after the hardest day yet. This morning we left camp at 7:25 and went over to Meadow Creek for deer. We went down the ridge north about one half mile from the road when Perry said “Let’s look around”, then we walked out on a rocky little point and he gazed across the valley of Meadow Creek. While he was engaged in this I cast my eye on the bottom near the hill when what do I see but two deer feeding. Hastily whispering to Perry “There is two” he turned around and said “two what”, I replied, “two deer”, and then I pointed them out to him. Then we commenced shooting at them. It was all of 150 yd’s and straight downhill. We over shot them but Perry got the range well enough to get one and wound another. I fired 4 shots and crippled one but was unable to get him. He bled like a stuck hog for a half of a mile or more but could not find him. Perry wounded one too but after trailing it for nearly a mile he too lost the track and did not get him. He and I tracked his quite a way and were standing talking when here came one deer loping along in plain sight of me about 3 jumps and I, like a damn fool, stood there and let him pass. Not that I could not have hit him but I did not know enough to shoot. Then Perry went back to dress his and I took a circle around the flat. I saw nothing however and we met on the East side of the valley. After eating a small lunch that we had we went back to where his deer lay. On the way we separated and I struck the trail of blood from my shot deer. I went up and then we came back and followed it but lost it. I went a way down in the bottom and jumped one but could not get a shot at it. On the way back I heard another deer jumping off at quite a distance. At first I thought that he was coming to me but he went off to one side. Perry was hunting bear at this time but Mr. Bear is still awenting. We dressed the deer skinned her half out and put the front parts up in a tree so the coyotes & cougar would not touch it. Perry hung his handkerchief up to scare them away. If that won’t nothing will. Then we got a pole and run it through the deer’s gumbles and carried her up the hill. It was a very hard climb but at last we reached the top after a hard struggle. Then we rested a short time and struck out for home. It got awfully heavy before we got there. We stopped and gave Mr. Peterson , the stage man a piece and got a bag of white bread for dressing. Then we went to camp and ate all we could hold of venison – deer gravy- fried spuds & onions – black coffee and bread. Perry ate so much that he had to let out his belt. Then we hung up the deer and rolled into bed. Tomorrow we will go back and try to get more. It rained here since 5:45 which we hope is snow up there. If so we are sure of 1 or 2 tomorrow.

Sunday Sept. 29, 1907
We went back this morning and hunted all day and could not even find a track of one in the Meadow creek vicinity. At 4:15 we carried the other half of Perry’s deer up to the horses and came home. Feet wet and hungry too. We got to camp at 6:10. Tomorrow we will try again.

Monday Sept. 30, 1907
Today was but another day of disappointments. We started at 8 o’clock and got back to camp 6:30 and did not see a deer. We both jumped one but did not get to see it. We found no fresh deer signs in all of today’s travel. Today’s trip was the hardest on the trip thus far. It was the steepest and brushiest & rockiest country that I ever saw, on the head of Meadow Creek. Well tomorrow we will try to catch some fish and rest up a little as we are nearly tired out. We have hunted for three days straight now.

Tuesday Oct. 1, 1907
This morning we got up at about 7 o’clock and saw the ground was white with snow. After getting breakfast we fixed up the tent with a pole and also fixed the wagon cover so that it would not leak. Then I slimed the fish and put soup and beans on to boil. Then we salted down the rest of the fish. After dinner of venison soup, beans and bread & coffee. I wrote a letter to Blanche and took it up to the station. While there I met Doc Allen and his party. They had been in to Chamberlain Basin and had 1 elk 1 black bear and several deer. They told me of a big buck track that crossed the road up the gulch a ways so I hurried to camp and got the two rifles and hunted Perry up (he was to the lake after his rope) and we went after him. Perry found a lynx track quite fresh and I found the buck track and followed him quite a ways but gave him up as his track was too old. After coming down the hill for about 100 yd’s I stumbled onto tracks of four deer and followed them nearly to the lake. As it was getting near dark I left them and went to camp. We set my two traps at the skin and meat of the deer Perry got in hopes that Mr. Lynx would get in one of them before morning. Tomorrow we will try for deer again. As it has snowed all day we feel quite confident of getting one or two in the next few days.

Wednesday Oct. 2, 1907
Well to bed again, at 7:45. Rather early but tomorrow we must get up and go for deer again. We started for Meadow Creek this morning and got about half way to the summit when we came across a right fresh bear track. We debated a while whether or no we should chase him and at last as Perry wanted to we went after him. We followed him about 4 miles and got so close to him that he lit out right smart. After following him until we were sure we could not catch him we hunted a while on Riordan Creek and then as I was not feeling very skookum I went to camp. Perry came along about 1 1/2 hours later. We cooked some ribs and heart and made dressing. I made a batch of corn bread and we had a swell supper. We will try over on the East of the summit between Riordan & Indian creeks tomorrow for deer.

Thursday Oct. 3, 1907
Today I got up at 4:30 and we started up the creek at about 7:15. We went up the road quite a ways and then swung into the timber and crossed the divide into some creek or other and then kept along the ridge until quite a ways beyond Black Lake. After going on around the ridge we came back through the Chilcoot Pass and past Black Lake & Poker Jacks cabin and then down Riordan Creek home. We did not see a track or sign of any deer but saw 4 blue grouse. We tried to get some of them but they were too wild to shoot with a rifle. We have found two new places for deer where Peterson says that they are sure to be. Tomorrow we will try over on Indian Creek. We went fishing this afternoon and caught 19. Perry took my picture this afternoon and I took a picture of Peterson’s stage station. We hope to get a deer tomorrow and then we will pull over to Trapper Flat and hunt there a day or two.

Friday Oct. 4, 1907
This morning at about half past six we started for Indian Creek to try and get some deer. We went over in Meadow Creek and hunted a while there and then went on over to Indian Creek. While in Meadow creek flat we found the fresh track of a good big bear and quite fresh. We swung way down Indian Creek and started down into the bottom. While on our way down we saw the tracks of three old bucks but they were quite old. We ate our lunch and I took a photo of the valley facing west (No. 20). After climbing like cats until about five o’clock we at last reached the summit and after I took a photo of the valley facing East (No. 21) we went on our road home. Today’s climb was the hardest of any day yet. I don’t think I will ever care to come in this country to hunt again. It is the worst & roughest & steepest country that I ever saw or want to see.

Saturday Oct. 5, 1907
Today we got up at 7:10 and after a good hot breakfast we went to work on our wagon. While Perry was busy on the wagon I cleaned up the breakfast dishes and started some beans to cook. At 11 o’clock I started dinner which consisted of fried venison – fried spuds & onions boiled rice with cinnamon and raisins in it – coffee and hot flapjacks, and tomatoes. After dinner we went up to Peterson and ground our axes and fixed [any?] iron for the wagon. Then we came back and worked on the road until 5:30. After supper we put the beans in the Dutch oven to bake and went to bed. Tomorrow we will finish the road and pull to Trapper Flat and hunt there for a day or two. The we will pull straight for home. Perry found his pipe which he lost day before yesterday also a can of Eagle milk which comes in very handy as we are nearly out of milk.

Sunday Oct. 6, 1907
Well here we are at Snow’s cabin in Trapper Flat. After working on the wagon and road until about 12 o’clock we loaded up and started at 2:20 at 5:10 we were at the summit. Birch balked 3 different times but by different means we got him to go on again. We got at the cabin at 5:45 and after looking around for horse feed have come to the conclusion that we will have to pull for home in the morning. The sheep have skinned every bit of feed out of here so we wont be able to hunt here as we expected to. It was very disappointing to spend a month and the sum of money we have and then have to go home with only one deer. Next year if I go hunting I am going into the South Fork of Salmon River Country, and go by pack train. If we could wait for 2 or 3 weeks more we could get plenty of deer but cannot do it.

Monday Oct. 7, 1907
This afternoon we pulled into Knox at about 5:30 and after mailing a postal to Art Ballard & buying some hay at $30 per ton and some oats a $2.25 per cwt & a can of fine ? cherries at 30¢ we went into camp at about a quarter of a mile west. This morning we started at 8:30 from Snow’s Cabin in Trapper Flat and made 25 miles today over some very rough roads. At half past two this morning Buck came up to get something to eat and we got up and dressed and went down to the creek and got Birch and brought him up and put in the barn & gave them some more oats. If nothing goes wrong we will be home by Friday noon. That is in Meridian. Oh won’t I be glad to get back to Blanche. Well, I just guess yes. I have had a good hard time. We have hunted and tramped very hard since we got to Riordan Creek and all for nothing. Still I don’t begrudge the time and money. Next year maybe I will get to go on a good hunt.

Tuesday Oct. 8, 1907
At 8:15 this morning we started and at about 6 o’clock we made camp at Charley Cantwell’s 4 1/2 miles from Thunder City. We made 30 miles today. We nooned about half way down the summit in a very nice little flat. Did not see any birds or anything else today. Am getting anxious to get home now. The nearer I get towards home the more anxious I am to get there. Well tomorrow night will see us to Box springs. I hope and then Friday noon we will be in Meridian. Well we can’t get there too quick to suit me. My time is very valuable from now on it seems, so that I must get home quickly. I hope to go on another hunt in the near future but may have to put it off for a year or two. Anyway I mean to go into the South Fork of Salmon River country and then I sure will get game.

Wednesday Oct. 9, 1907
This morning at 4:45 I woke up and got up at 5 o’clock. There was a very heavy frost and everything was very cold and wet to handle. We got started at 8:10 and after driving quite some we nooned at Smith’s Ferry. After dinner we moved on to Dry Buck. We made camp at about 6:45 the very latest yet. Just before coming into camp I shot a pheasant and treed another one but could not find him afterwards. It certainly tasted good for supper. Perry has just put the neck of the deer to boil and we will have some stew tomorrow morning for breakfast. Tomorrow will nearly finish our trip home. We camped in the same little flat which Pop and I camped in two nights when we were up to the Lakes two years ago.

Thursday Oct. 10, 1907
This morning we got up at about 5 o’clock and drove out of camp at 8 o’clock. We got to the summit and helped two men load a couple logs on their wagon. Then we drove down Dry Buck and as we went out we cut some pitch from an old log to make fire with at Box Springs. We stopped at Sweet and got some lard, butter, sugar, and cheese and two bottles of Beer and then drove over to the Payette river and nooned. We drove from there to Box Springs and gathered up a couple of posts on the way to make fire with. We got in at Box Springs at half past four o’clock and made camp. Perry made a couple of corn dodgers and we had “taters” and onions & corn & coffee – also honey. I got a half gallon of milk and 1/2 dozen eggs.

Friday Oct. 11, 1907
I got up at 10 to 6 and got fire started and breakfast going. After breakfast of taters & onions, coffee and corn cake & honey we pulled for home arriving in Meridian at 12:15. After dinner we got shaved and hair trimmed and unloaded and divided up. I started home at 4 o’clock and just got home in time to hear great news. About 8 or half past there came a visitor in the shape of a 6 1/2# boy.

source: Ken Cole Feb 2012
— — — — — — — — — —

Places mentioned in the diary

Early Meridian, Idaho


source: Bob Hartman Idaho History 1800 to 1950
— —

Meridian (Willow Creek) Box Springs Sweet




source for above maps Boise Quad 1890 (very large)
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
— —

Sweet Idaho ca. 1908


link to more old photos of Sweet from the Mike Fritz collection
— —

Dry Buck High Valley Smiths Ferry Round Valley




source for map crops Squaw Creek Quad 1891 (very large)
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
— —

High Valley post office 1914


High Valley post office 1914, with Homer, Emily and Lydia Beal, courtesy of Art Beal, thanks for sharing!

(click for source size)
source: AHGP

Team and Wagon in High Valley – Valley County, Idaho


source: Hugh Hartman (Idaho History 1800 to 1950)
— —

Clear Creek Thunder City


(cropped and stitched from two maps, Squaw Creek 1891 and Garden Valley 1893 Quads)
source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
— —

1895 Thunder City

Link: Hoff Phenomenology Research – ED 574 – Pioneer Life Photo Essay
[hat tip to SMc]

Note: Even though there is nothing left of Thunder City, a road by that name exists today.


Thunder City Road (starts at Hwy 55 south of airport, bypasses Cascade and connects to the Warm Lake Road)

source: Map Quest
— —

Scott’s Valley to Trail Creek



map source for crops Gold Fork Quad 1954
source: USGS Topo View (large file)
— —

Trail Creek to Knox


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Warm Lake Quad
— —

Knox 1905

1905 photo, Univ. of Idaho Library digital collection, Idaho Cities and Towns.

(click for source size)
source: AHGP
— —

Cabin Creek Summit Trout Creek


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Warm Lake Quad
— —

Johnson Creek Twin Bridges


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Log Mountain Quad 1973
— —

Riordan Lake


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: 1937 Yellow Pine Topo Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps (very large)
— —

Riordan Lake 2007


source: Mike Huston Photo Collection
— — — — — — — — — —

Map sources

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps


USGS Topo View