Image of the day: River of No Return

“The Middle Fork of the Salmon is not so much a river as an exuberant expression of water at play,” writes Joel K. Bourne, Jr. “It tumbles and turns and trips over itself for a hundred miles through the largest unbroken wilderness in the lower 48, the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness, named for the pristine Salmon River gorge and the Idaho senator who made sure most of its vast watershed would stay that way. No dams temper its flow. No roads line its banks. It dances down its canyon much as it has since the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago—in spring as a raging, tree-felling torrent, in late summer as a spare, crystalline rivulet.

“Today it is one of the ultimate white-water experiences in the United States, drawing thousands of visitors each year. But 60 years ago its future—and that of hundreds of other rivers across