Big Creek Memories

Submitted by Larry Taylor (Idaho):

I first heard about Big Creek from my mother’s “kissin’ cousin” at a July family gathering. Jimmy Greene said it was the greatest place he had ever been. “There’s no place like it!” I could tell from the look on his face he meant it.   And knowing I had just obtained my pilot’s license, he pointed out that there was a big grass airstrip right next to the lodge.   Before the gathering ungathered, we had made plans to rendezvous at Big Creek the following month.

The year was 1976, four years before the 2.4-million acres in and around Big Creek would become the River of No Return Wilderness Area. My visiting mother and her husband drove my Blazer while Jimmy and his wife took their Jeepster for the five hour drive to Yellow Pine and over Profile Summit to Big Creek. I gave them a four-hour head start before loading my wife, two sons and camping gear into my 1953 Tri Pacer for our first aerial venture into Idaho’s backcountry.L Taylor BC Tripacer

Despite my inexperience and lack of modern navigational devices, the trip was uneventful and totally exhilarating. We landed in time to help set up camp before eating dinner at the rustic lodge, which Bruce and Roxy Minter owned at the time. It was everything Jimmy had said it was. The lodge, the food and the majestic surroundings.

The next morning, we loaded into the four-wheel-drives and headed down Big Creek for an old mining establishment. Along the way, we had to repair a wooden bridge, ford the river at least once and clear trees from the road. Four years later, the road would be closed and reduced to a trail in the new wilderness area. It wasn’t much more than that even when it was a road. We fished, swam and marveled at the scenery during those four wonderful, indelible days at Big Creek. We would return many times during the ensuing years and even become part owner of the lodge and outfitting business for a time.

My mother and her “kissin’ cousin” are gone now, as is the rustic lodge. But I think they would be very happy to know that I am part of the organization that will rebuild the lodge and perhaps, one day, bring others to say, “There’s no place like it!”

Taylor 70s BC