I am a fourth generation Oregonian growing up in Springfield, Oregon, and into a family with a great love of the outdoors. In the 1960s and early 1970s, I occasionally worked for my father during the summer months on his survey crew and sometimes as his compass-man on a timber cruise. During that time period, women working in the forest industry were primarily confined to desk jobs. So, to earn a living, I became an accountant, but remained active in the outdoors. In 1998 Mike and I moved to Boise. The close proximity to the Owyhee, and my semi-retirement status, allowed us many more opportunities to explore the region. I retired in 2008.
Mike H. Quigley - In His Element, Main Stem Owyhee River, 1993
Bonnie J. Olin at Coyote Hole Cabin, South Fork Owyhee, 1993
Mike Quigley has been exploring the Lower Owyhee since mid 1970. With a BS in geology from Oregon State University and an interest in photography, the canyons of the Owyhee, with their great geological diversity and remote location, were a natural fit for the man and his interests.
In 1989 Mike Quigley introduced me to running rivers in an inflatable kayak, using rivers as a highway into the wild. I found these experiences so inspiring I began keeping a journal about each adventure on every river. From 1989 forward we became a self-supporting river party of two.
Mike remained unfamiliar with the Owyhee’s upper reaches. So in 1993 we launched into the South Fork of the Owyhee in Nevada for a 124-mile river trip to the take-out, in Rome, Oregon. It was my first run on the Owyhee River, and it was an amazing experience paddling through majestic canyon country, testing our paddling skills, endurance and compatibility. After that first adventure in the Owyhee Canyons with Mike, there was never a question about going back, only a question of how soon and how often.
I was completely smitten by Mike and the Owyhee. I often say that introducing me to the Owyhee was reason enough to marry the man, and I did — in 1994.
Together, we have developed a love and appreciation for the land, the river, the history, and the environmental uncertainties posed by climate change, human impact, and a naturally changing landscape.