Idaho History May 26, 2019

Daisy Erma Paulsen Tappan

Middle Fork Salmon River, Yellow Pine, Challis Idaho

March 5, 1908 – April 24, 1984

DaisyTappan-a
caption: Daisy prepares to resume splitting kindling at her ranch in the Pahsimeroi Valley, Idaho in 1980. Photograph c. Molly O’Leary 1980

Daisy was born in Prineville, Oregon, to Alex and Fannie Watson Paulsen. Her family moved to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River when she was a young girl and she and her brother Fred spent their childhood years living in what is now the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness near Indian Creek.

In 1925, Daisy married Fred Tappan. They reportedly bought this homestead from Willis Jones for $1,200 and lived in this cabin with their two sons, Stanley Charles Tappan and James Howard Tappan, on what has been known ever since as the Tappan Ranch. The Tappans raised cattle and Daisy grew a big garden with strawberries, watermelons, blackberries, raspberries and muskmelons, as well as corn for her chickens. When she wasn’t growing and preserving food for the family’s subsistence, Daisy looked after her sons and fought off the bears that frequently swam the river to feast on the bounty of her orchard.

The Tappans were forced to move from their Middle Fork home, circa 1933 (?), when their federal grazing permit was discontinued.

Joe Anderson, an early pioneer of boating on the Middle Fork, recalled at the time of Daisy’s passing that “Daisy loved the great outdoors. She loved her animals, especially a good horse. She could handle a pack string of horses or mules better than most. And she could break, train and ride a horse with the best of them. When it came to handling a gun, she was a crack shot. I believe Daisy could outwork, outshoot and outride most men, and she didn’t mind telling them.”

Marker Marker donated by Molly O’Leary.
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Daisy’s Family

Husband: Fred Tappan
Sons: Stanley Charles and James Howard Tappen
Brother: Fred H Paulsen and wife Mary
Parents: Alex Paulsen and Fannie Watson
Maternal Grand Parents: Eleck (Alex?) and Martha Watson from TX

sources: Family Search, Find a Grave, Middle Fork book (see below)
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Watsons, Paulsens and Tappans on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Daisy Paulsens Tappan lived with her family on the Middle Fork from 1912 through 1940.
(Remington, see below)
— — —

Eleck and Martha Watson from TX [were] maternal grandparents of Fred Paulsen and Daisy Tappan
(pg 52)

MF57-a
Eleck Watson’s cabin at Pistol Creek about 1914. L to R: Bessie Watson (Cameron), Mamie Watson (Nethkin Pierce), Martha Watson.

Mile 25.1 Indian Creek Campground.

Indian Creek Bar was first occupied by Mr. Watson, grandfather of Daisy Tappan and Fred Paulsen. He first tried the area across the river, then decided he preferred the Bar. He built several small cabins there about 1914.

Fred and Daisy were the only children along that whole section of the river. Miners often left them wild pets. They tamed chipmunks and broke them to pull match-box wagons which they made, sometimes even holding “wagon races.”

The children trapped ground squirrels for the penny bounty on their tails. The squirrels or “picket pins” were considered a nuisance in horse country.
(pg 55)

Lured by descriptions from a passing prospector, Watson pulled out in 1919 for Green River, Utah. The kids went to school there, but didn’t stay long. (One of Daisy’s schoolmates was Arthur Ekker of Robbers Roost Ranch fame.) They finally all returned to the Middle Fork country.

Fred Paulsen worked a mining prospect up behind Indian Creek Bar.

Eventually the site was withdrawn by the Forest Service for administrative purposes. The old cabins were burned.
(pg 57)

MF55-a
Fred Paulsen with his pack string.
(pg 55)

Mile 36.1 Little Creek Bridge

The Forest Service asked Fred Paulsen if he would pack in the materials for this bridge. He agreed to handle the job. The Service put on a summer cerw to widen the trail all the way to the river.

When spring arrived there was 15 feet of snow in places, which should have been expected. Instead of waiting for the melt, they hired Bob Johnson to fly the materials in with his tri-motor Ford.

… Fred Paulsen’s folks started the second cabin at Little Creek [Middle Fork] but it was never finished. … These cabins are now part of the Middle Fork Lodge property today.
(pg 86)

Fred Paulsen

Mile 43.7 Fred Paulsen’s cabin is up the hill on the right.

Fred was the brother of Daisy Tappan. He spent most of his life packing, mining, haying and working in the Middle Fork canyon. In his prime he stood 6’2″ and weighed about 275 pounds. His feats of strength were legendary. He could hold a hay wagon while someone changed a wheel, or tuck the leg of an ornery mule under his arm and hold it while he shod it.

Fred, as much as any man, symbolized the best characteristics of the old-time settlers. He worked against every kind of hardship: bad weather, hard times, frequent tragedies, long hours—yet through it all he remained good-natured and always ready to drop what he was doing to help someone else. In his later years, Fred lived in a cabin on the outskirts of Challis. He remained active until his death in 1978 at age 72.

MF93-a
Fred Paulsen at his cabin about six years before he died.
(pg 93)

Mile 56.5 Grouse Creek-Tappan Ranch-Campground.

Grouse Creek is the favorite campground of many boatmen. It was one of the two campsites used by President Jimmy Carter on his three-day Middle Fork trip in August, 1978.

The cabin on the upstream side of the creek was built by Willis Bill Jones, who homesteaded the place October 5, 1927. Jones had followed oil well drilling work, and spent some time in the Hollywood movie-making business. He was suffering from tuberculosis but got along pretty well at the creek. He would send out once a year to Meyers Cove for 50 pounds of good southern tobacco – he liked to smoke natural leaf. That would see him through the year.

Bill had only three horses, but he did ranch the place. He planted peaches, apples, grapes and currants. Some of the trees had just begun to bear when he decided to sell out. He was nearly 70 years old. He went down to Arizona and died a few years later near Salt River.

Fred and Daisy Paulsen Tappan bought the place for $1,200. Fred was from Iowa, and Daisy was born in Pineville, Oregon. Her father had hunted geese and egrets for the markets there. Daisy had first come into the Middle Fork when she was a child of seven. She was every bit as competent in the backcountry as any man who ever lived there.

The Tappans extended the cabin by enclosing the porch. That became the kitchen. They built a barn, chicken house, and corral out on the flat in front of the house, next to the big ponderosa pine tree.

They planted additional fruit trees and put in a large garden. Daisy grew strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peanuts, musk-melons, and watermelons. She said the rock chucks would make a little hole in the melons next to the ground and then proceed to hollow out the entire fruit. She thought the melons were fine until she tried to pick them. Daisy grew corn for her chickens, and canned all her fruits and vegetables. Deer were a plentiful source of meat.

Between chores she looked after their boys and fought the bears that swam the river to attack the orchard.
(pg 103)

MF107-a
Daisy and her boys haying the field below Grouse Creek.

The Tappans had a few cattle, some horses, and cows. The stock could not be left out for the winter so they packed in a hay rake. They ditched water out of Grouse Creek to irrigate hay in the upper and lower field behind the cabin. While the snow didn’t get too bad, the hillsides were dangerous with ice. It was usually the 10th of March before they could let the cows out again.

Self-sufficient as they were, Daisy said they still had to buy horseshoes, leather, and clothes. Three hundred dollars would easily see them through the year. To get the money Fred could work look-out or trail crew for the Forest Service, or work in the Yellowjacket mines.

In later years the Forest Service cut off their cattle range, so when the boys were old enough to go to school the Tappans moved out. After they left, Daisy said, “You know it was three years before I could sleep without the sound of that river and creek. It was just too darned quiet.”

You might think life was easier once they left Grouse Creek. But consider this: the Tappans lived at a mine near Yellow Pine – halfway between the town and the airport. There were two dog teams to haul mail and freight between the town and the airstrip, and Daisy ran one. She would sled the boys three miles to school in Yellow Pine each morning, pick up mail and supplies, sled six miles up to the airport on Johnson Creek to make delivery, pick up mail, freight and groceries from the pilot, and mush six miles back to Yellow Pine. There she would pick up the children and sled home to make dinner.

At this writing [1980] Daisy lives on her ranch in the Pahsimeroi Valley of Idaho, still looking after cattle and felling her firewood with a chainsaw – at 73 years of age. What a remarkable woman!

Fred Tappan died in California in 1975.

Bob Simplot acquired the Tappan Ranch and sold all but the five acres with the cabin to the Fish and Game Department. When he got around to surveying it, he found the Fish and Game Department had left him only 3 1/2 acres. He still uses the cabin as a vacation spot, often packing in with his son in the fall.

The highest peak looking west across the river is Bear Creek Point, 8,629 feet.
(pg 105)

MF104-a
The Jones-Tappan cabin today [1980], after the Tappans enclosed the front overhang.
(pg 104)

MF106-a
Fred and Daisy at Meyers Cove, ready for a trip to Grouse Creek.
(pg 106)

MF87-a
The Tappens and their boys pose with a vintage plane at the Thomas Creek strip.
(pg 87)

Mile 13.1 Sheepeater Hot Springs and Camp on the left.

There were cabins on the upper and lower flats here. Gene Hussey and Charles Smith, who worked the mill up at Waterwheel, wintered down here. They built the cabins and used them as headquarters for their winter trapping operations. The logs around the hot spring are all that remain of a cabin that enclosed it. It was used for washing clothes and bathing. Water was taken by small ditches to the other cabins. Evidence of the foundations can still be seen on the flats.

Daisy Tappan recalls that a colony of beaver dammed the outflow of the springs creating a large pond on the upper flat. Her boys used it as a swimming pool in the Forties.

MF45-a
The Tappan boys swimming in the pool behind the beaver dam at Sheepeater Hot Springs.
(pg 45)

… In the spring and fall elk are often attracted to the minerals deposited by the spring waters.
(pg 43)

excerpted from: “Middle Fork and the Sheepeater War” by Johnny Carrey & Cort Conley 1980
Amazon link:
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Daisy Erma Paulsen Tappan

Author: Molly O’Leary

… Another strong, capable woman I had the good fortune of meeting was Daisy Erma Paulsen Tappan. I met Daisy in her early seventies, when she lived on and single-handedly worked a ranch property in the Pahsimeroi Valley of east-central Idaho.

Daisy was born in Prineville, Oregon in 1908 but her family moved to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River when she was a young girl. She and her brother Fred spent their childhood years living in what is now the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness near Indian Creek.

Daisy later returned to the Middle Fork area with her husband Fred Tappan to raise their two sons in a small log cabin on what has been known ever since as the Tappan Ranch, at the mouth of Grouse Creek. Together they raised cattle, horses and a few milk cows, and put up hay to feed their stock through the long winters. As if raising hay in such rough country wasn’t daunting enough, Daisy and Fred had to pack the haying equipment into the back country by horses when they set up their home.

In addition to tending to the ranching chores, Daisy grew a big garden with strawberries, watermelons, blackberries, raspberries and muskmelons, as well as corn for her chickens. She canned all of their fruits and vegetables. When she wasn’t growing and preserving food for the family’s subsistence, Daisy looked after her sons and fought off the bears that frequently swam the river to feast on the bounty of her orchard.

After several years of investing their sweat equity to improve the hand-hewn homestead, the Tappans were forced to move from the Middle Fork when their grazing permit was discontinued. From there, they moved on to Yellow Pine, Idaho, where Daisy transported her sons three miles to school each day by dogsled team in the winter, and then mushed six miles out to the nearby landing strip to pick up the day’s mail, before returning to Yellow Pine to deliver the mail and retrieve her sons from school for the sled-ride home.

Joe Anderson, an early pioneer of boating on the Middle Fork, recalled at the time of Daisy’s passing that “Daisy loved the great outdoors. She loved her animals, especially a good horse. She could handle a pack string of horses or mules better than most. And she could break, train and ride a horse with the best of them. When it came to handling a gun, she was a crack shot. I believe Daisy could out-work, out-shoot and out-ride most men, and she didn’t mind telling them.”

Sources:
Daisy Erma Paulsen Tappan Obituary, published April 38, 1904, The Challis Messenger.
Daisy Tappan – The Legend Lives on, published May 3, 1984, The Challis Messenger.
The Middle Fork – A Guide, by Johnny Carrey & Court [sic] Conley, 3rd Edition, Backeddy Books. C. 1992.
Photograph c. Molly O’Leary 1980

excerpted from: Whats Past Is Prologue by Molly O’Leary March 24, 2014
[h/t CG]
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1940 (Sun Valley Job) Middle Fork of the Salmon River

by Emma Cox

That Spring we received a letter from Sun Valley asking if Lafe would be interested in contract packing for for the Sun Valley Lodge. It sounded exciting for both of us and the folks urged us to try it. We would learn more of the country. Most of the packing would be on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and would be a summer job.
(pg 87)

EC89-a
Lafe (and Emma) Cox in 1940 above the Middle Fork on the way to Sun Valley job.
(pg 89)

… We arrived at Fred and Daisy Tappan’s place on the Middle Fork. Lafe knew them and their two boys well, so he told Daisy about the tick bite and how I was feeling. We had tried not to show or say anything to the fishermen or the chief of parties.

Daisy insisted we stay in one of the heated cabins. The dudes stayed in stove heated tents. The doctor was sure I had tick fever and kept an eye on me, supplying us with aspirin. I was so relieved when the Good Lord showed he was on my side by bringing a downpour of rain that kept us inside for two days. With that the fishermen decided to stay over a few days and just fish in the river there. I remained in bed until I quit chilling and the fever broke.

Daisy prepared good homecooked meals and the dudes were amazed at her ability. She was the first woman I had ever seen roll her own cigarettes, sometimes in just one hand. She never spilled a drop! I believe she was smoking Bull Durham tobacco that came in little white sacks which she always kept in her shirt pocket. She was really a neat little woman.

One fellow in the party who had a movie camera enjoyed taking movies of Daisy rolling her cigarettes.

She told me she came into that country as a very small girl with her parents.

We were surely grateful for our stay. When the weather settled, we moved on up to Loon Creek at Sam Lovell’s place. Stanley Tappen (sic), who was in his late teens, rode with us on his horse part way, as he wanted to ask Lafe if he thought there was a chance for employment at the dude ranch. We called Clark and Beulah by Forest Service telephone from the Lovell’s. Clark said he surely could use Stan if he wanted to work trail and do a lot of riding. Stanley was one happy boy as he turned around, went back home to get his bedroll, clothes and some food, and headed for the dude ranch.
(pgs 92-93)

from: “Idaho Mountains Our Home” by Lafe and Emma Cox
Order from: VO Ranch Books, P O box 173, Emmett, Idaho 83617
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Fred H. Tappan

1942 Fred H. Tappan is listed as a Patrolman Middle Fork Challis National Forest

source: History of the Challis National Forest
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Grouse Creek C&H

Located around Tappen [sic] Ranch, closed in 1947 for game and recreation use. Tappen had a temporary permit for 25 head C&H 5/1-11/15. The Jones Ranch was the commensurate ranch property used in connection with this allotment. The early records of the use of this allotment seem to be somewhat clouded. Undoubtedly the homesteader, Willis Jones, grazed some free use stock on this allotment prior to 1911 for about this time R. L. Ramey seems to have been issued a permit to use this allotment, probably with his ranch at the mouth of Loon Creek. However, we find that in 1940, Fred Tappen apparently acquired the Jones Ranch at the mouth of Grouse Creek and was issued a permit to graze 5 cattle and 10 horses for a season of 5/1 to 11/15 under a temporary permit. It is probable, however, that this range was also used by William Wilson in connection with his Meyers Cove Ranch long before this. Tappen had held temporary permit for about 25 head of stock from 1940 to 1944, and in 1945 the ranch was leased by L. L. Anderson who held temporary permit for about the same number.

source: History of the Challis National Forest
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Daisy Paulsen Tappan

DaisyPaulsenTappanHeadstone-a

Birth: 5 Mar 1908
Death: 24 Apr 1984 (aged 76)
Burial: Challis Cemetery, Challis, Custer County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave

Obit: Dated 3 May 1984

Daisy E. Tappan, 76, dies

Funeral services for Daisy Erma Tappan, 76, were held at the Challis Community Church on Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. with Rev. Harry Boughey officiating.

Mrs. Tappan died April 24, 1984, in Challis.

She was born March 5, 1908, in Prineville, Ore., the daughter of Alex and Fannie Watson Paulsen.

Her family moved to the Middle Fork country while she was a young child. She and her brother, Fred, grew up in the back country and this is where she gained her deep respect of wildlife and the great outdoors.

In 1925 she was married to Fred Tappan and to this union two sons were born and they were raised on the ranch in the Middle Fork. Daisy was well-known for her horsemanship and packer experience.

She could out-work, out-ride, and out-shoot most men and didn’t mind telling them so. She had the pioneer spirit deep in her veins and there was no such thing as: “it can’t be done.”

She was an early riser and loved her animals but her greatest joy was working which is what she was doing when she died.

There are few left like Daisy Tappan and she will be greatly missed by those who knew her. If you missed knowing her, you missed one of lifes’ great pleasures.

She also lived at the mouth of [Tower Creek and was presently residing north of Challis at the old stagecoach stop.]

Her two sons Stanley Charles and James Howard Tappan [preceded her in death.] … (unintelligible) …

Burial took place in the Challis Cemetery under direction of the Jones & Casey Funeral home.
— —

Funeral:
DaisyTappanObit

Daisy Tappan

Challis – Funeral services for Daisy Erma Tappan, 76, were held at the Challis Community Church Saturday [April 28] with Rev. Harry Boughey officiating.

She died April 24, 1984.

She worked with horses and helped her husband ranch in the Middle Fork area.

She was born March 5, 1908 in Prineville. Ore., to Alex and Fannie Watson Paulsen. Her family moved to the Middle Fork area when she was a young child.

In [1925], she married Fred Tappan. They ranched in the Middle Fork area.

She also lived at the mouth of Tower Creek and was presently residing north of Challis at the old stagecoach stop.

She is survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Burial was in the Challis Cemetery under the direction of the Jones & Casey Funeral Home.

source: Family Search
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Divorced Fred Howard Tappen

Date: 09 Mar 1950
Place: Custer, Idaho

Fred Howard Tappan and Daisy Erma Tappan, 09 Mar 1950; citing Divorce, Custer, Idaho, United States, certificate 00462, Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Boise.

citation: “Idaho Divorce Index, 1947-1963,” database, FamilySearch 27 December 2014, 

Married Orvil Arthur Westergard

Date: 14 Jul 1951
Place: Roberts, Jefferson, Idaho
Orvil Arthur Westergard and Daisy Paulsen Tappan, 1951.

citation: “United States Western States Marriage Index”, database, FamilySearch 19 October 2018 
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Brother Fred H Paulsen

Birth: 27 August 1907 Crook, Oregon
Death: 22 July 1978 Challis, Custer, Idaho

source: Family Search
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Sons

Stanley Charles Tappan

US Navy World War II
Birth: 3 Feb 1926 Crook County, Wyoming
Death: 13 Jun 1976 (aged 50) Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah
Burial: Challis Cemetery, Challis, Custer County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave (w/photo of headstone)
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Stanley Tappan

StanleyTappanObit-aChallis – Services for Stanley Charles Tappan, 50, were held at the Challis Community Church 2pm Thursday with Rev. Harry Boughey officiating.

Mr. Tappen died June 13 [1976] in a Salt Lake City hospital. He had been ill the past four months.

He was born Feb. 3, 1926, in Saratoga, Wyo., the on of Fred and Daisey [sic] Paulsen Tappan.

He married Ruby Piva and about 1950 started packing out of Stanley into the Middle Fork area.

He married Helen Wambolt in February, 1962, in Reno, Nev.

He continued to operate his pack outfit until 1970 when he moved to the Ketchum area.

He was a member of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Assn.

Survivors include his mother, Daisy Tappan, May; children, Scot Tappan, American Falls; Sue Duke, Challis, and Judy Ann Tappan, Salmon; one grandson.

Burial was in the Challis Cemetery under direction of the Jones Casey Funeral Home of Salmon.

source: Family Search
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James Howard Tappan

AIC US Air Force World War II Korea
Birth: 10 Sep 1927 Midas, Elko County, Nevada
Death: 29 Jan 1976 (aged 48) Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah
Burial: Challis Cemetery, Challis, Custer County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave (w/photo of headstone)
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Mother

Fannie Watson (Paulsen) Richardson

Birth: 25 Apr 1888 Colorado
Death: 26 Jun 1928 (aged 40) Lovelock, Pershing County, Nevada
Burial: Mountain View Cemetery Reno, Washoe County, Nevada

source: Find a Grave
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Grand Mother

Martha “Mattie” Reeves Watson

Birth: 1 Aug 1865
Death: 10 Apr 1931 (aged 65) Gem County, Idaho
Burial: Riverside Cemetery Emmett, Gem County, Idaho

Note: Messenger Index newspaper in 1931: “Mrs. Martha Watson died Thursday of pneumonia at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mayme Pierce of South Washington Street. Another daughter, Mrs. Grey of Nevada, came in response to a message telling her of the death of her mother.” Mrs. Grey is probably Fannie, who died with the surname of Richardson in Nevada.

source: Find a Grave
— — —

Grand Father

Alex (Eleck?) Calvin Watson

Birth: 31 Jan 1862 Coryell County, Texas
Death: 3 May 1930 (aged 68) Custer County, Idaho
Burial: Challis Cemetery, Challis, Custer County, Idaho

Note: Husband of Mattie in Riverside Cemetery, Gem County. Married 1884. No stone apparently.

source: Find a Grave
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Census Records

United States Census, 1930 Idaho Challis Precinct, Custer County

Fred Tappan Male 31 Married Head 1899 Iowa
Daisy Tappan Female 22 Married Wife 1908 Oregon
Stanley Tappan Male 4 Single Son 1926 Wyoming
James Tappan Male 2 Single Son 1928 Nevada

Willard Pierce Male 38 Married Head 1892 Utah
Mamie E (Watson) (Nethken) Pierce Female 26 Married Wife 1904 Oregon
Lloyd N Nethken Male 11 Single Stepson 1919 Idaho
Lewis W Nethken Male 8 Single Stepson 1922 Idaho
Chester R Nethken Male 6 Single Stepson 1924 Idaho
Martha Watson Female 64 Married Mother-in-law 1866 Texas

United States Census, 1940 Idaho Singiser Precinct, Lemhi County

Fred Tappen Male 43 Married Head 1897 Iowa Same House
Daisy Tappen Female 32 Married Wife 1908 Oregon Same House
Stanley Tappen Male 13 Single Son 1927 Wyoming Same House
James Tappen Male 12 Single Son 1928 Nevada Same House

United States Census, 1940 Idaho Challis Precinct, Custer County

Fred H Paulsen Male 34 Married Head 1906 Oregon
Mary Paulsen Female 36 Married Wife 1904 Utah

source: Family Search US Census Records
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Middle Fork Wolves?

… Budell believed wolves were rare in the Middle Fork country (pers. commun.), as did Daisy Tappan who lived with her family on the Middle Fork from 1912 through 1940. Tappan believed wolves were extremely scattered and rare through much of the Middle Fork country, occurring primarily alone but at times in pairs. The only sign she observed were tracks of a lone wolf near the mouth of Pistol Creek during 1915 (D.Tappan, pers. conmun.).

source: Tom Remington
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MapTappanRanch-a

source: Topozone
— — — — — — — — — —

Modern Middle Fork

Tappan Ranch

TappanRanch-a

… First up on Day Three was a visit to the Tappan Ranch at Grouse Creek. The ranch house is still maintained by the Forest Service. Next we walked by Tappan Falls Rapids–happy that we were not floating the river.

excerpted from: Middle Fork Backpack April 1995 © Copyright Tom Lopez; Idaho: A Climbing Guide
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Daisy Tappan was a legendary figure in the Salmon River area.

The Tappan cabin faced Grouse creek. The cabin was situated between the Middle Fork River and Grouse Creek.

There was precious little flat ground, and all of it rocky. It would seem difficult to grow anything or to graze cattle.

Daisy sounded like quite a woman! and it did not escape my notice that she was just 25 years old when she moved away from the Middle Fork cabin.

excerpted from: Notes from the Cabin….and beyond by Sue and Fred September 21, 2015
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Tappan Rapids on the Middle Fork

Mile 57: Grouse Creek Rapid (II+) is a fun S-turn rapid and a good warm up for the Tappan Rapids downstream.

Mile 58.2: Tappan I (III-) is the first of the Tappan Rapids.

Mile 58.5: Tappan Falls is the biggest rapid in the Tappan Rapids.

Mile 59: Cove Creek Rapid (or Tappan 2 1/2) changed Tappan III and part of Tappan II after the Cove Creek landslide in 2008. Since this rapid was formed by a recent landslide it changes each season.

excerpted from: Whitewater Guidebook
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Middle Fork Day 4 – Canyon Description

Matt Leidecker

Typically, the fourth day on a six-day Middle Fork trip will take boaters through a variety of increasingly dramatic landscapes. As the landscape transitions from the sloping hillsides of the middle canyon the river flows through the dramatic Tappan Canyon and into steeper and lower canyons of the Middle Fork.

Tappan Canyon

A significant geologic change occurs at the mouth of Grouse Creek and continues through Tappan Canyon. A small window of ancient and resistant metamorphic rock crops out along the right wall of the canyon. Attentive floaters will notice some interesting folds in the wall just above the Grouse Creek Camps. The less geologically aware can’t help but notice the series of rapids formed downstream where the river pours over ledges and boulders of this resistant rock.

Over time, the Middle Fork appears to have eroded down and along the contact between the Tappan Canyon metamorphics that slope toward the river from the right canyon wall and the more easily eroded pink granite of the Casto pluton. In addition, a large alluvial fan emanating from the mouth of Grouse Creek (river right) also pushes the river into the granites along the left bank. The result is an impressive rampart of pink granite towers on the left bank at the mouth of Grouse Creek that mark the entrance to Tappan Canyon.

Further downstream, the river splits around Tappan Island and weaves along the contact, exposing the grey-green metamorphic rock on the right bank and more crumbly pink granite cliffs on the left. Several significant rapids clog this stretch of stunningly pretty canyon.

The river leaves the metamorphic rock after Tappan IV Rapid and makes a sweeping 180-degree turn at the mouth of Camas Creek (another great side hike possibility). For the next 6 miles to the Flying B Ranch (mile 68) the landscape is very similar to the stretch upstream of Tappan Canyon. The banks are lined with beautiful 200- to 300-year-old ponderosa pine trees that throw large patches of needles in the campsites. The narrow constriction at Aparajo Rapid (mile 63.1) stands out as one of the more scenic spots.

The Flying B Ranch offers a small store with a selection of gifts, ice cream, beer, and other boating essentials. The irrigated lawn and shade trees can offer a respite from the heat in mid August. Fires in 2000 roared down Brush Creek onto the ranch. While most of the buildings were spared, the firestorm eradicated nearly every living thing for miles on both sides of the canyon. While the grass and sage have fully recovered, the wide and open feeling of the canyon combined with the charred forests a thousand feet overhead can make this stretch feel a little desolate and oppressive during a slow, hot August afternoon.

excerpted from: Adventure Guides United States Idaho Rafting Kayaking (Whitewater)
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page updated Feb 27, 2020