Imnaha Writers’ Retreat



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When folks around town found out I’d be spending the first 3 weeks of April “down at Imnaha,” they invariably have some bit of reaction or advice to offer:

“Imnaha? You might as well throw out your cell phone.”
“Watch for cattle when you drive down into the canyon. Because if you hit one, it’s not just your car that gets totaled. You also have to pay the rancher for the market value of the cow.”
“Canyon people are different than mountain people. It’ll be an experience…”
If that doesn’t provoke enough thought, consider the directions from the Fishtrap literature on Imnaha Writers’ Retreat:
“From Paul’s Chevron in the town of Joseph, with a full tank of gas (last chance for fuel!), drive east on Highway 350 about 30 miles to the town of Imnaha. Cross the bridge over the Imnaha River. Stop at the Imnaha Tavern, say hello, and throw a dollar bill at the ceiling. Turn right (south and upriver) on the gravel Imnaha River Road. The river is on your right. Between 11 and 12 miles from town, pass two white farmhouses below the road and near the river. Just past the second house, the road curves to the right. At 12.2 miles, look for the obvious footbridge, and park in the grassy wide spot on the right, near an old wooden garage. If you find you’ve forgotten something, the Imnaha Tavern and Store is 12 miles away, with frozen french fries, chicken gizzards, and a never-ending diet of cowboy movie re-runs. J ”
The set up is simple: House quiet hours are from 9am-5pm with a group dinner each evening (each writer cooks 1 meal for the group), followed by critiques and sharing.
The scenery is unheard of:
[For perspective: Imnaha River Canyon, Google Images]
[Last of the day’s light…]
People say “down at Imnaha” because it’s essentially heading down into Hells Canyon, a 10-mile wide canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho. It is North America’s deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet and part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
Explorations and opportunities abound!

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