Hosted by the Idaho, Oregon and Washington Chapters
Lewiston, Orofino, and Weippe, Idaho
24-27 May 2013
by Philippa Newfield
The Idaho, Washington, and Oregon Chapters of the LCTHF sponsored a regional gathering over the Memorial Day Weekend that took participants from the heights of the Weippe prairie to the depths of Hells Canyon via a jet boat ride on the Snake River. The theme of this Regional, planned by Steve Lee, John Fisher, Garry Bush, and Chuck and Penny Raddon, was "Rendezvous On the Koos Koos Kee."
During a kickoff and orientation meeting on the evening of the 24th at Clark’s Clearwater Crossing in Orofino, ID, attendees were treated by Linwood Laughy's welcome message that elucidated the theme and described the journey of Lewis and Clark as a hero's quest containing all the elements: Initial refusal, acceptance, challenges, and triumphal return. Margaret Gorski, President-elect of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (LCTHF), updated the attendees on what's been happening at the national level. Board member Philippa Newfield invited everyone to submit items for publication in The Orderly Report. Idaho Chapter President Chuck Raddon and Washington Chapter President Rob Heacock reported on their respective chapter activities.
As this Regional was scheduled to coincide with the Camas Festival in Weippe, on the second day, all attendees were able to enjoy this event which featured a fun run/walk ("Retreat to Weippe"), speakers, reenactors, interpreters, musicians, artisans, and an old-fashioned melodrama. In between these events, the group visited the Discovery Center's Lewis and Clark themed murals and the actual site where Lewis and Clark met the Nez Perce. The camas were in bloom on the Weippe prairie, rendering it, in Lewis' words, a sea of blue.
The next day's overcast skies made for comfortable temperatures during the Snake River jet boat ride to the area to which John Ordway and two other expedition members came to buy salmon from the Nez Perce in May of 1806. Talks by John Fisher on the local geology and Alan Pinkham and Kevin Peters on Nez Perce culture highlighted lunch at the historic Garden Creek Ranch, now a Nature Conservancy property with a bed and breakfast and fishing camp. It was fitting that this spot is the only common point where Idaho, Oregon, and Washington meet. During the all-day boat tour, the group also saw petroglyphs, bighorn sheep, a lamprey eel (haso-tin in Nez Perce), prickly pear in bloom, and many visual remnants of the Nez Perce long houses in the form of ground depressions.
Upon the group's return to Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston, they toured the Lewis & Clark Discovery Center before a wine tasting featuring a selection of wines from Colter's Creek Winery in Juliaetta, ID. After a steak dinner, John Fisher addressed the group again on the books Lewis and Clark brought on the expedition and passed around contemporaneous examples.
On the final day, participants saw Lewiston's public art installations with Steve Lee or toured Lewis and Clark sites around Orofino with Chuck Raddon.