Idaho Guide School Report
Due to trip logistics and possible road closures, the decision was made to fly our students into Indian Creek. Once we heard the road was open to the Boundary Creek put in, the guides headed in to start from the top for a little pre-season training. We encountered some of the biggest snow flakes as we headed up over the pass, putting few inches on the road. When we finally reached put-in, we all took a look at the river that was flowing just over 6 feet. What a different river than the one we left in the fall. As we stood with the snow coming down, Maggie pointed out the warning sign for low water that still hung on the vacated forest service building, and we all had a good laugh.
The next morning we rose early to coffee and more rain, and hit the river. We needed to make the 25 miles down to Indian Creek that day, to meet the students, and most of us hadn't ever seen the river this high, or ever. Paying close attention to spacing and boat order we left the eddy and headed down the river. We all made the left at Murphy's hole, and headed down to Velvet Falls. We stopped to scout, and all picked out our lines. Our last boat, with Kelly on the oars, bounced off the rock she was trying to pull behind and headed straight into the hole. With her boat now upside down, she swiftly swam to shore and Zach and Marc were after her raft, which they successfully were able to get stopped not to far down the river. After getting Kelly's raft re-flipped, we all jumped back into our boats and made it to Indian Creek after a long cold day on the river.
Due to weather, our students were stuck in Salmon at our locked up guide house until the morning. They jumped on the Islander and landed at Indian Creek around ten o'clock the next morning hungry for French toast and bacon! After filling up, Zach led the safety meeting and divided the group up into four teams of two. Colleen and Marc did the first lesson in rigging gear onto rafts and we were soon rowing down the river practicing catching eddies along the edge of the river. Even with the river dropping, it was still a difficult task finding eddies big enough to catch, but soon everyone was getting the hang of it. We reached camp, Marble left, and divided into new teams to learn about setting up camp. Three people set up camp tarps, chairs, fire pan, and collected wood with Zach. Three more set up the kitchen with Colleen, and Marc worked on tying up the rafts and putting up the groover. These jobs would then rotate the rest of the trip, so everyone would learn all the camp jobs, and eventually be able to do it themselves.
The rest of the night included a delicious chicken dinner, chocolate fondue, a few beers, and some guitar music around the campfire.
The next day was a layover, and we had a lot to cover. The morning was knot tying, where we again rotated through different stations. Next was throw bag practice. What started as a funny idea of Brait, soon grew into the new game of throw bag football. Three attempts at the end zone, then switch teams. The bystanders re-stuffed the bags and tossed in a new one after every attempt. Once we were done practicing on land, we headed for the river. Teams stood on the banks, and the guides all headed up to be swimmers. We all rotated through swimming in the cold water, and practicing throwing. This also made sure everyone was comfortable in the water.
We camped at Loon Creek the next night, and hiked up to the Hot Springs for a great evening Soak. The next day, we headed down to Survey, where we all took the night off and had Fajitas, Margaritas, and great "dare wear" party for Hata's Birthday.
We soon arrived at the Main Salmon, where three of our friends from Sawtooth Adventures joined us for some training of their own. The Main Salmon was higher than any of us had seen it and we all marveled at the beauty and how fun the rapids were at the higher flow. Our second to last day we spent as a layover day and covered boat repair as well as safety topics. Our last night on the river was a touching one as we all discussed epiphanies that we had during the trip. The trip ended as we pulled into Carey Creek, our take-out, and loaded the truck for the nine hour drive back to Salmon.