MAIN SALMON RIVER, IDAHO: 26 Jul – 15 Aug 2017
8/2/17 On Tuesday morning we were up around 6am to set up rafts and gear. We took a break around 9am to listened to the rangers talk and to see what campsites we were able to reserve on the river. We snagged the first night and last night sites but lost the second night and picked something else. As you will see later it didn’t really matter. The other nights we were just winging it depending on where we ended up and what was open. We got on the river around 12:30pm after spending the morning setting up the rafts and loading all the gear. The first night we camped at Upper Lantz Bar at 10.6 miles. It was a tough day trying to get used to rowing facing forward (hopefully forward but sometimes sideways or backwards) and doing some class 1-2 rapids and a couple class 3 rapids – interesting!
As you can see below, we are not the only ones getting on the river today. Some of these are large guided groups with 20-30 people. There were probably a few other small groups like ours.
These next pictures show our rafts in various states of preparation. The last picture is just before we got on the river.
For some nights we reserved a camping spot and other nights we took what we could find. If you reserve a site, you are the only group that can stay there so you don’t have to worry about other groups moving in. Only some of the sites can be reserved, the rest of first-come, first-served. So if you take a site that can’t be reserved, nobody else is supposed to stop there. This is nice because we had a lot of nice beaches to ourselves!
Below we are chillin by the river the first night.
Below is the sunset for the first night. You can see a nice haze around the sun due to the forest fires in the area.
8/3/17 On Wednesday we were up and rafted to mile 30.8. We missed the Hancock campsite. Jay and I could not get the raft over in time and shot by. Soooooo, we all had to raft another 1-1.5 hours to find a campsite. We ended up at Hida campsite which was pretty nice but another 5-6 miles further than expected. It was a long day but a great campsite. We had an excellent cheeseburger & Mac and Cheese dinner. We also did a difficult class 3 rapid that we scouted before. Exciting! Check out the 2 videos. A tough day tomorrow with 3-4 class III-IV rapids. Should be interesting!
Displaying excellent form and getting ready for the rapids!
This picture below is one of the rapids we actually scouted before going through it. I think this might have been a class IV rapid. If you go to my video page, you can see 3 nice videos of this rapid. The first video is from the bank where we scouted the rapid. The second video is Dave and Beth going through from the same vantage point. The last video was taken by Dave looking back up into the rapids as Jay and myself come through.
A couple photos below of our campsite this night. The green pad is my area. I used a tent for the first and last night of the trip but didn’t bother the other nights since it was so nice out. I also was lucky to see some shooting stars and a couple orbiting satellites for a couple nights but the last 2-3 nights were obscured by smoke from the forest fires.
8/4/17 Thursday we ended at mile 46.3. It was a tough day due to multiple class III – IV rapids. Jay and I broadsided a hole and dumped and I fell overboard in the first one. I have a distinct memory of hitting the hole, and then looking up and seeing the raft above me as I fell back… I popped up out of the washing machine action and was lucky the raft we close by. I grabbed the side and held on until we hit calm water. It was disorienting and tough to get back on the raft. Not a big confidence builder for the rest of the day. In fact, I wouldn’t say I had fear, but, I like to consider it “nervous anticipation” for the harder rapids the next 2-3 days! We ended up at Gaines Camp for the night. It was a pretty cool old homestead for the Wolfe family for many years. The pictures below show the area and our campsite for the night. Got in around 3:30pm today so we had some time to relax.
This next picture is the “Groover” which is a mandatory item for each group to carry on the river. You shouldn’t pee in the Groover…you are supposed to pee in the river at all times. This is to make sure the campsites stay clean and fresh and don’t attract excess bugs and vermin. At each camp we tried to set it up with a nice view of the river. Pictures below show a couple sites.
8/5/17 Had a nice day and rafted to mile XXXXX and camped at XXXXX Creek campsite. A very nice spot. Had a great kitchen area in the trees as you can see in the pictures below. Only 2-3 class II-III rapids and a number of mellow areas. Stopped at Buckskin Bills museum for a root beer float. This guy was a character who lived along the river for many years. The picture below shows a building he built. It’s incredibly tiny…in fact, I would not be able to lay flat on the bed. This building had a bed and fireplace. He also built another building and built his own guns. A pretty amazing character.
For dinner we had Pork Tenderloin, onions and green beans sautéed in butter and fresh brownies cooked in the Dutch oven. We ate like kings on this trip. I have never been anywhere with this much food. But, it was fun and tasted great.
8/6/17 Woke up with lots of ashes on my sleeping bag due to the forest fires. Rafted to mile 73.9 and stayed at Upper Sheep Creek campsite. Nice day. The forest fires are throwing lots of smoke in the air and helping to obscure the sun which is keeping the temperature reasonable. We are ahead if schedule and plan to do the last 4-5 miles tomorrow. Below are pictures of our campsite and prepping for dinner.
8/7/17 Sunday we got up early and focused on breaking camp and getting to the boat ramp before the crowds got there. There is limited ramp space and it’s hard to break down all the gear when it is busy. We were there first and pretty much had our gear off the rafts before another small group showed up. We had plenty of time to break everything down, load the pickup and trailer and move on just as other groups were showing up.
Below is a picture of our rafts still in the water with the gear on the ramp.
8/8/17 After getting off the river we took our time driving to Boise, Idaho for the night.
8/9/17 Up early with breakfast at the Super 8 in Boise. We then drove all day to Cheyenne, WY where I was let off at the storage facility for my vehicle around 9pm. I then drove about 45 minutes south to Fort Collins, CO where I saw my sister Brenda and niece Jessica for a couple nights.
8/10/17 Drove east to somewhere around St. Louis, MO where I spent the night.
8/11/17 Drove east to Yellow Springs, OH where I stayed with Dave and his wife Kim for a couple nights. Helped to break down and clean up the rafting gear.
8/12/17 Drove east and stayed somewhere just west of Gettysburg, PA.
8/13/17 Drove about 45 minutes to Gettysburg and visited the museum until around 3pm. Then drove straight to Hampton, NH and got home around 10:30pm.