Title Steamboats in Hell
Word Count 530
Summary Inuyasha and the boys assist the crew of the Shoshone in running Hells Canyon in April 1870
Part of the Old Fort Boise series
The boys thought that guiding the crew of the Shoshone would be a lark. They fondly remembered building the boat and riding in the sternwheeler as it took them to the silver mines. It was their time as miners that they did not remember fondly. It was too much like work
The company remembered them, though the names, Livingston and Smith, seemed to be phony. They were obviously the men who built the Shoshone only four years before. The company needed the boat to be running not stranded in Huntington, Oregon. So they took on Livingston and Smith as crewman and guides.
The road to Huntington was hard. It took a month to reach the Shoshone by sled, foot and canoe. Livingston and Smith seemed to have endless energy and boundless enthusiasm. Once afloat the boys were able to chop the trees for fuel in nothing flat. Miller had to rub his eyes as it seemed as they were chopping wood with their bare hands
The captain had a plan for going over Copper Ledge Falls. Once they reached the falls, all hell broke loose. For a moment it seemed as if steamboat was spinninng in midair. As if a giant hand lifted it up. The boat began to fall apart until it was thrown against rocks. Luckily, the Captain was able to take it ashore for repairs.
The boys looked at each other. Dad was here. Trying to be a hero like always . In lifting the boat he had almost wrecked it. They saw no sign of him, but they knew that they would have to be on their guard against his reckless attempts to save them. Mom must have sent here, but without her here, there was no one to watch out for his recklessness.
The boys were sent ahead to check for rocks and hazards They knew that the greatest hazard was behind them where their father was busy pulling the boat out of a whirlpool His toss of the boat caused water to flood the boat The men had to dodge the cordwood at the same time was Shoshone was dodging the walls of Hells Canyon which Inuyasha widened just enough to allow the boat to pass through.
The rest of trip was fairly benign They reached Lewiston, Idaho after only eight days on the river running some of the toughest rapids on the Snake River. People were surprised to see them. After wreckage had been sighted they were presumed dead. The captain would later remark that "... I expect that if this company wanted a couple of men to take a steamboat through hell, they would send for you and me."
The boys were forgotten in the celebration. They knew that their troubles had just began as they saw their father in his Fire Rat robe standing on the pier. No using telling him that his help almost killed them as much as falls, whirlpools and canyon walls. What had happened would seem amazing luck to the captain They knew that this was just living with father
Someday they would take pride in being on the only one of two steamboats ever to run Hells Canyon