Big Water and Sunshine: The Perfect Combo
We just got off a fantastic five day Middle Fork of the Salmon Rivertrip on Tuesday. We lucked out with gorgeous, warm, sunny weather and awesome medium-high water flows! The first day was full of adventure with Velvet Falls and The Chutes, plus enormous wave trains. Some of the haystacks (big waves) made the Salmon River feel like the middle of the ocean. Folks kept asking what the rapids were called and were shocked to discover that many of them don't even have names. By the time we got to camp the first night we were all exhausted from so much paddling, so we devoured dinner and headed to bed pretty early.
The whitewater over the next few days was a little less technical, but the rapids provided some of the biggest waves and wettest splashes. We stopped for a long soak in the Sunflower Hot Springs along the way, enjoying the spectacular views of the river and the canyon from the warm baths above. In the evenings we enjoyed time around the campfire, telling stories, playing games, and listening to Catfish perform a Hamlet soliloquy. One of the afternoons, Scott took us on a short hike to some hiding coves built by the Sheepeater Indians as part of their hunting strategies. The group huddled around Scott as he re-enacted the Native Americans' hunt and how they trapped their prey. On the last night, we feasted on lasana and played Mafia, a wonderful camp game, under a gorgeous starry sky.
We woke up early on the last morning in preparation for a 25 mile stretch of huge whitewater. The Impassable Canyon turned out to be "passable" and we squealed with glee as we crashed through the house-size waves at Rubber. Cramer Creek was the final hurrah and it definitely ended the river trip with an enormous bang (see photo). It was the wave of all waves, but we paddled hard and managed to punch through it. Sun-kissed faces grinned from ear-to-ear as we did paddle high fives down to take-out.