Idaho History Mar 10, 2019

Yellow Pine and the Chuck Wagon Boys


Carl Kitchen ready to head out on a Chuck Wagon Trip
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Carl Clayton Kitchen, Jr.

“In the summer months he operated Chuck Wagon Trips, a summer camp for youth to experience the wildnerness.”

excerpted from obituary: Find a Grave
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Headstone at the Yellow Pine Pioneer Cemetery
courtesy Valley Co GenWeb
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Carl Kitchen and the Boys


Caution – Vehicle Travel at Own Risk – Pack Strings have Right-of-way
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Chuck Wagon Trips

by Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino

My Dad, Big John Gillihan and Carl Kitchen used to lead Chuck Wagon Trips for boys. He bought the business from Carl Kitchen, somewhere in the mid-60’s. When Carl Kitchen had the outfit, we always called the boys “the Kitchen Kids”, and then later just the “Chuck Wagon Boys”.

Attached is an article from the Ford Times in July 1964. Carl still had the business then, but I think Dad took it over the next year. Also attached is one of Dad’s brochures after he took it over.

Hope you enjoy the story, photos and brochure – sure does bring back old memories of my Dad.
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Carl Kitchen & Henry fishing


Carl and the boys on the trail
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Kitchen Kids

by Gary Patterson

That barn on the carpenter ranch was where I slept two summers, maybe ‘62-‘64. The yellow building was Carl ‘n’ Willie Kitchen’s cook shack for us Chuckwagon boys. One summer Gov. Smiley came to check on his son who was with us for two weeks of backpacking. Carl had stopped in Cascade before heading into the back country to let us kids get a meal of Chinese food. Maybe 6 got food poisoning. The governor pulls up to the cookshack in his limo with a couple other politicians and knocks on the door at supper time. My brother who was one of the sick ones opens the door and hurls his whole meal right at the gov all over his suit. Whole summers of stories about Kitchens kids adventures, the Carpenter ranch and more.
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July 1964

The Highlight of a boy’s summer vacation is more than likely to be his sojourn at camp. Most summer camps follow a pattern in their activities, with appropriate emphasis on swimming, canoeing, woodcraft, athletics, and all ’round physical fitness. Some specialize in extended canoe trips, others in sailing. Less frequently you find a camp that schedules a unique summer experience which a boy will remember for years. Such a camp is conducted each summer in the wilds of central Idaho.

“Chuck Wagon Trips,” as this enterprising organization is called, isn’t really a “summer camp” in the usual sense. You could better define it as two weeks of high adventure in one of the nation’s most spectacular wilderness regions – the Idaho Primitive Area.

caption: Boys carry own packs over historic trails through wilderness.

Instead of camp counsellors and athletic directors, organized sports and bugle calls, Chuck Wagon Trips has licensed wilderness guides, supervision without regimentation, and an informal program of the kind of activity boys dream about.

In small groups accompanied by experienced guides, the Chuck Wagon boys hike and ride horses over trails that probe deep into the Idaho Primitive Area’s million-acre mountain fastness. In this rugged, roadless, unspoiled land of forests, canyons and snow-capped peaks, the boys fish for trout in remote lakes, catch huge salmon in the tumbling streams, explore and camp in the tall mountains, back-pack over historic trails to ghost town ruins, and see big game and other wildlife at close range.

These boys, ages ten to sixteen, come off a Chuck Wagon trip with a full taste of the pioneer life led by Jim Bridger, and Lewis and Clark. No wonder they remember it, and come back for more!

caption: There’s action aplenty when 75-pound boy hooks 25-pound salmon

The idea for Chuck Wagon Trips originated seven years ago with two California school teachers, Carl Kitchen and Bill Masek. These men shared the conviction that it is important to introduce our youth to the rewards of outdoor living. Both Kitchen and Masek enjoy working with boys. Both are expert woodsmen.

Kitchen, a licensed Idaho guide, was born and raised in the mountains bordering the Idaho Primitive Area. He knew the surrounding country intimately and felt it was ideal for the purpose of Chuck Wagon Trips. So one spring in the late fifties, at the close of the school year, the two teachers changed from suits and ties to wool shirts and Levis, transported the first group of boys to the base camp near the little mountain town of Yellow Pine, then led the first Chuck Wagon Trip into the wilderness.

Two weeks later, the boys returned, reluctantly, to civilization. Their enthusiasm spelled immediate success for the venture, and each summer since, five two-week sessions have been conducted.

caption: Saddle horse trip into remote back country is high adventure for boys

In line with the guiding philosophy of Chuck Wagon Trips, the young adventurers forego the cushions’ and comforts of civilization from the time they arrive at the base camp. Between excursions into the surrounding mountains, they sleep in the loft of an abandoned barn, whose board floor and patched roof soon come to be regarded as luxuries.

Once on the trail, the Chuck Wagon boys face the rigors of wilderness living with the barest essentials, much as the early trappers and prospectors did. Each boy shoulders his own bedroll and pack and hikes long miles of steep and rugged trail.

The groups subsist on sound, simple, stick-to-the-ribs grub cooked over an open campfire. Scorning the dandified luxury of tents, the boys unroll their beds on the bare ground.

No exaggeration necessary

Fishing, one of the most popular trip activities, is so good in the seldom-fished lakes and streams, that exaggeration – the fisherman’s prerogative – is completely unnecessary. After instruction and practice in the use of the fly rod and spinning gear, even the inexperienced youngsters bring in their share of breakfast trout; and limit catches of huge rainbow and cutthroat have been taken in less than an hour.

But the biggest fishing thrill is provided by the Chinook salmon that travel up the streams in the Primitive Area. A twenty-five pound Chinook hooked by a seventy-five pound boy adds up to a hundred pounds of pandemonium, and whether the outcome of the battle is the fishing prize of a lifetime or the biggest one that ever got away, the encounter is one no Chuck Wagon boy will ever forget.

The fun of just exploring in this limitless, unspoiled wilderness ranks high in popularity among the Chuck Wagon’s varied activities. On these exploring trips, the groups follow trails into some of the wildest mountain country in the West. They camp out at places whose very names tingle with adventure: Thunder Mountain, Suicide Rock, Indian Creek, Cougar Basin, Chilcoot Pass, Trapper Flat, Kiwah Meadows, and River-of-No-Return, the last being the Salmon River’s Middle Fork.

Chuck Wagon “task forces” also make expeditions to at least one deserted mining town. Poking about among the ghost buildings, the youngsters’ imaginations are stirred, and the empty streets again seem to swarm with belted, gun-toting, brawling men.

Perhaps the most exciting deserted mining town is Roosevelt, the world’s only underwater ghost town. The strange story of the 1905 catastrophe that put this entire town at the bottom of a lake is told and re-told around the dimming embers of the evening campfire. Roosevelt sprang to lusty life on the banks of Monumental Creek around 1900. Sluice boxes once lined the banks of this sandy-bottomed stream, with its “colors” reflecting yellow in the sunlight. Mine shafts pierced deep into the heart of the mountain.

Then came the spring day in 1905 when a huge mass of ice, rubble and rocks broke loose from the mountainsides in the fury of flood. Mud, water, driftwood and boulders choked the stream to form a dam which flooded and obliterated the town in a single day.

The occupants fled, leaving behind the old hotels, cabins, mills, along with the Boot Hill cemetery which can be seen by the Chuck Wagon trippers of today.

At least one of the excursions into the more remote areas is by saddle horse and pack string. To many of the boys, this pack trip is the high point in the entire Chuck Wagon adventure. Under the close watch of expert guides and packers, and mounted on sure-footed horses, the group negotiates trails ranging through deep canyons and over high mountain passes.

After two weeks of roughing it, the boys return home tanned and toughened, with a new respect for the hardiness of their pioneer forefathers, plus an appreciation of the conservationists whose efforts preserved our wilderness areas.

caption: Fishing at Upper Bear Lake yields limit catches of trout

For more detailed information write: Chuck Wagon Trips, XXX, Concord, California. Accommodations for parents who wish to vacation in the area are provided at Deadwood Lodge, just a few miles from the Chuck Wagon Trip base camp; information from Carl Kitchen, Cascade, Idaho. Also in Cascade is Cox’s Dude Ranch.
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Ford Times was a monthly publication produced by Ford Motor Company. The first issue was published on April 15, 1908 until April 1917, ceasing publication with America’s entry into World War I. After a more than 20-year break, Ford Times resumed publishing in 1943. This iteration of the magazine would last 50 years until January 1993. The magazines were similar to Reader’s Digest and Yankee.
continued: Wikipedia
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Kitchen Kids – Chuck Wagon Boys


Kitchen Kids loading up in front of the Tavern in Yellow Pine


Chuck Wagon boys climbing on the trail


Chuck Wagon boys snowball fight
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Carpenter Ranch

by Gary Patterson

The first thing most of us boys did on our first visit to Adkins general store was to buy 0 traps* for both the rats in the barn and golden mantled ground squirrels in the meadow at the Carpenter ranch. Everyone wanted a “hide” to take home to Chicago, Australia, France, San Francisco or wherever. One boy, proud of his hide brought it into the cookshack to show Mrs Holmskag the cook. Laid it on the counter and forgot about it. The cook set the lid to the bean pot on the counter and the moisture picked it up unbeknownst to the lady and recovered the pot with it. Several hours later she was ladling the beans out to us and we started right in. Came time for seconds and she dished up the squirrel hide on to someone’s plate. Talk about pandemonium in getting out the door!

Note: Traps are made in various sizes. The smallest, No. 0, is used for catching rats principally, while the largest, No. 6, is for the grizzly bear.
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Your Trip Director

John Gillihan (Big John) was born and raised in the Idaho country near Sun Valley and has been an outfitter and guide for over 30 years. He has always loved children, and having raised 8 boys of his own, understands them and is well qualified to take care of your boy.

Nothing quite hits the spot at the end of the trail like he-man chow cooked over an open fire. Our campfire flickers against the stately pines. We see, standing like sentinels of the past, feed corrals, a sunken log hotel, a tattered log bridge and fallen rail fences, all catching the mountain wind and turning them to fluted tones in the shades of night.

Trailblazers lean back and reflect on their experiences of the day, on famous spots we passed and on the wonders of nature unfolded for us as we travel on adventure trail.

1967 Trip Dates

Trip 1 … June 20 to July 3
Trip 2 … July 4 to July 17
Trip 3 … July 18 to July 31
Trip 4 … August 1 to August 14
Trip 5 … August 15 to August 18


A Summer Adventure for Boys

Last summer trailblazers followed the old Thunder Mountain trail. We passed such famous spots as Trapper Flat, Chilcoot Trail, the Old Black Metal Mine, and Hennesy’s Meadow. What used to be a wagon road is now just a mere remnant of the past. Here in the early 1900’s horses toiled the steep grade and arrived at Riordon Creek Crossing, too tired to graze on native hillside grass.


Base Camp

This year our base camp will be at Yellow Pine, Big Creek, and Crooked Creek. We will travel the Thunder Mountain Trail, traveling from Riordon Lake on to the end at the old City of Roosevelt deep in Idaho’s vast wilderness. We will fish neighboring streams and lakes, visit old abandoned way stations, prospect for mineral, bathe in natural hot springs, and live the life of the pioneers on the gold rush trail.


Ghost Camp

In 1901 a mining town sprang up on the banks of Monumental Creek. Like most gold rush towns Roosevelt had a colorful and dramatic past. To the town came tragedy in the form of a mangled mountain of ice, snow, and rocks, coupled with a great flood to deliver an earth dam across Monumental Creek below the town. The waters backed up over the town and now offer an exciting place to camp and fish. Although winds and other elements of nature have taken their toll on buildings above the water line, old hotels, cabins, mills, and a boothill cemetery still stand, just memories of days long past.

Fishing, our major concern, will be enjoyed in many hidden unnamed lakes in the surrounding mountains.


Adventure Trail

Since we plan to cover more miles this year, we have provided a saddle horse for each boy to ride and care for on his two-week trip. Although most of our trails will be covered via horseback, we plan to have side trips for hiking and exploring. To follow the adventure trail each Chuck Wagon applicant must have the following desires: To explore deep into the Idaho Primitive Area, to eat meals cooked over the open fire, to experience outdoor living such as sleeping under the big blue shed, swimming in mountain lakes and streams, and fishing in haunts seldom seen by man. Your reward for measuring up to this challenge will be a wonderful trip into the big country of rugged snow-capped peaks, singing streams, meadows carpeted with wild flowers, wild animal observation, and absolutely the best fishing one could want – all proper heritage for those who love the great outdoors.

A Chuck Wagon Trip Special

Here is fishing at its best. On this trip, where miles of beautiful unspoiled streams and rivers abound with native rainbow and cutthroat, fishing will be a specialty. Lakes hidden under a mountain peak await the ardent angler. Your fishing pole is a must here. We offer instructions in the proper way to handle both bait and fly line. Salmon fishing from the McCoy Ranch in the shadow of Suicide Rock will be an added attraction. Visitors here see one of nature’s great accidents in the palisade rock and mud column, namesake of the water from which we pull the wily chinook. The enthusiastic camera fan will find plenty of subject matter.

Application for Any Trip

Camp Fees – 2 weeks, $195; 4 weeks, $370 ; 6 weeks, $530; 8 weeks, $680; 10 weeks, $800. (All fees currently subject to 3% Idaho Sales Tax.)

A $50.00 deposit required with all applications, balance payable 10 days before trip date.

Our trip prices are based upon delivery of your son to Boise, Idaho.

Fees paid to reserve a place on a trip are refundable only when illness, certified by a doctor, prevents a boy from participating or if notification of cancellation reaches us prior to May 15.

Arrival in Boise, Idaho

We meet all planes, trains and buses in Boise where boys are accommodated by Mrs. George B. Brewer, XXX Adams Street, Boise, Idaho. Phone 344-XXXX. You must notify her of the mode of transportation, departure time from home, arrival time in Boise. Your son should know our Boise phone number.

A boy should arrive in Boise the day before his trip is to start. Parents will be notified by telegram night letter of safe arrival. On return trip, your son will leave Boise the evening his trip ends or the following day.

We will be responsible for your son’s board and room from the time we pick him up in Boise.

In case of emergency call Mrs. Brewer, who will arrange a back country radio call to us.


For a Safe Trip

Some previous experience in camping is helpful; the ability to swim, a must. For your boy’s safety the number on each trip will be limited. Mr. John Gillihan, who is an experienced woodsman, a licensed and bonded outfitter and guide, will serve as chief guide.

Emergency radio service is available. Weekday stage from Cascade, Idaho, provides mail service. Also, an airstrip at the Bryant Ranch enables fast transportation.

Camp directors are skilled in handling children and will teach accident prevention in camp. Accident insurance policy provided for each child.

Everything conceivable has been planned to make this a wonderful vacation opportunity for your boy – the chance of a lifetime – to experience life as the early pioneers found it—a real outdoor adventure.

We invite inquiry. Write the Idaho State Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board, State of Idaho, Boise, Idaho.


Chuck Wagon Trips
John & Elsie Gillihan
Yellow Pine, Idaho 83677
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Milton [Gillihan] at Bear Lake with a group of the Chuck Wagon kids. He is the boy in the hat leading the horse.


Packstring in the pines


Yellow Pine Crosswalk – I think that’s my Dad [John Gillihan] standing by Old Pinky.
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Note: all photos and information kindly provided by Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino and Gary Patterson via personal correspondence.