Bryan Gould, born and schooled in San Francisco, began as a copyboy, at the San Francisco News, where he wrote sports and feature stories, (he is the last surviving member of that editorial staff). Then worked as a youth counselor for San Francisco and Marin counties, In 1978, as a trombone player and vocalist, he formed Swing Fever, a swing era jazz band, which has played, recorded, and toured for forty-plus years. His first book, Barefoot in Hells Canyon found an enthusiastic publisher at Backeddy Books. He lives with his wife and fruit trees in San Rafael, California.

Bryan Gould in a black jacket with white hat and trombone

Barefoot In Hells Canyon

Reflections from two men in a frail raft on a voyage down the Snake River in 1958

Barefoot in Hells Canyon Cover Image
Bryan still can’t swim
Bryan and Glen on a raft in the Snake River, newspaper clipping

“Why mothers get gray,” bemoaned Bryan’s mother.

Two San Francisco 19-year-olds take off for a 1958 summer, riding with hobos in boxcars, working for meals on Idaho farms, collecting colorful characters; a trip that culminates in piloting their own small rubber raft down the Snake River through Hells Canyon, one of the nation’s roughest stretches of whitewater. Nearly the last voyage through the seventy-mile Hells Canyon before it was dammed, the adventurers suffer overturnings, hunger and loss of shoes in the rapids. They break into a shepherd’s cabin during a thunderstorm, leaving a note in case they don’t survive. The adventure is recollected by two octogenarians with conflicting memories.

Bryan Gould in the raft in 2022
Bryan in 2022, the raft seems smaller now.


Barefoot in Hells Canyon is available at:
Backeddy Books
Boise, Idaho

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Please email with any comments about Barefoot in Hells Canyon, or to get very occasional emails from us.

Bryan is working on a second book, which is set near Quincy in Northern California. He and three friends build a log cabin in the woods, using only hand tools, then he moves it. It’s another wild tale. We’ll let you know when it’s available.

Review and Summary

Rear Cover Snippet

“Although Hells Canyon remains a many storied gorge, I cannot recall, since the steamboats, a Snake River journey that quite rivals this one for interest, mettle and fortuity.”  Cort Conley, writer, and publisher

Book Review provided by Tim Woodward

Barefoot and Lucky in Hells Canyon – Tim Woodward (

Book Summary provided Dan Barnett

“Barefoot In Hells Canyon” – by Dan Barnett – Barnetto (

Readers’ Favorite Award

Book review of Barefoot in Hells Canyon – Readers’ Favorite: Book Reviews and Award Contest (

Filled with nostalgia and camaraderie, Barefoot in Hells Canyon is a true coming-of-age story of survival and friendship. Bryan Gould shares an adventure of a lifetime that changed the course of two young men’s life trajectories.

Readers' Favorite Award - Five Stars