Although early explorers cursed it, much of the Hells Canyon of the Snake River has been tamed by dams. "With the dams in there, we’re not going to have the opportunity to experience what Captain Bonneville experienced when he came into that area for the first time," says historian Marty Peterson. "But looking back over that old movie footage," he says, "you certainly can."
Outfitter and amateur photographer Omer Drury shot some of that footage. He floated Hells Canyon in 1961. He took his 16mm film camera along and filmed parts of the canyon which are now underwater.
Drury also filmed some of the wildest whitewater in the West. "They wiped out five of the best rapids when they put in the dam," Drury says. "The Squaw Creek (rapid) was bigger than any that are currently left on the Hells Canyon trip."
Hell’s Canyon NRA