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Hundred Days

Jackson Hole Wooden Boat Show



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05/28/12 – Jackson Hole Wooden Boat Show

Words and Photography By: Kevin Wittig

Nostalgia permeates the atmosphere of tangled cottonwoods as I approach the wooden boat show in Wilson Wyoming. There, nestled in the shade gathered craftsman from around the region who traveled to the Snake River to showcase hand built wooden boats reminiscent of an era gone by. Heavily varnished mahogany and cedar crafts wore the characteristics and hallmark features that lure antique and classic boat enthusiasts to the annual event.

Although not classified as a wooden boat enthusiast, I’d like to consider myself an admirer. What I learned is that history lies not only with the boats, but with the dedicated people that devote time, energy and passion into what they love – the river.

More than a century has passed since the first wooden boats ran the Snake, yet it is a sense of history that creates a spiritual connection to their journey. I can only imagine using natural and local materials to make a vessel – sounds incredible. If only the planks of each boat could speak, what amazing story they each would tell.

Some, built from scratch, others refurbished, mirrored classic designs honed by legendary guides who ran rivers in Colorado and Oregon. Many boats had been preserved from a time gone past and visually communicated stories through their natural beauty.

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kevin_coughlin_vertical jackson hole the mountain pulse snake river hoback yellowstone float


holstrum wooden boat jackson hole snake river the mountain pulse

Wooden boat guide Kevin Coughlin showcased his hand built Holstrum design


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Adam “Dutch” Gouttshling showcased his recently renovated 50 year old drift boat recovered from Oregon.


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The event offered enthusiast a chance to share design, technique and wooden boat know-how


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Each boat had unique and specialized characteristics


cathy_jean the mountain pulse drift boat jackson hole snake river

I left in envy of the craftsmanship presented at wooden boat show, and the little bit closer to my next endeavor


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