WOODEN SCOWSWatch scows punch through the rapids
In the 1880s big wooden boats with poles at bow and stern began appearing on the river. They were roughly eight feet wide and 32 feet long and angled up at the ends. Boatmen steered these boats with two 28 foot poles with large blades. It took two men to run the boats. It required more skill but less effort than the more traditional oar boats. The scows carried tons of mining equipment downriver to the mines.
The best boatman of his time was Harry Guleke, a big, muscular, likable fellow. He would take the scows from Salmon City to Lewiston, then sell them and find another way back home. It was during this time that the Salmon River began being called "the River of No Return." Guleke brought national prominence to the Salmon scow when Field and Stream published an article about him in 1921. For Idaho"s bi-centennial celebration in 1990, several outfitters took a wooden scow down the Salmon River, in honor of "Captain" Guleke.