Great News for the Middle Fork Snowpack
The early reports for the Idaho snowpack this season have indicated that it will not be another huge water year like we saw in 2008 and 2009, but the cool spring has us hopeful for a nice, long season on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. The past few weeks and today's weather forecast are great news for those of you rafting the Middle Fork this summer.
Despite beginning the winter with 170% of the average precipitation in October, November-March were atypically dry throughout the Northwest. El Nino created warmer than average temperatures and less precipitation in the region, as witnessed at the Vancouver Olympics. However, spring storms have been raging with over 100% of the average precipitation for April. Last weekend, Stanley was blanketed in fresh snow and Salmon had snow on Monday, with more in the forecast. Although the spring rain and snow can't completely make up for the low snowpack, the cooler temperatures will help to delay the melt and thus, the peak flow.
So what does this mean for you rafters and kayakers? Our fears of starting all of our trips at the lower put-in location have subsided, and we expect that the trips through June and the beginning of July will be able to raft the full 100 miles from Boundary Creek to Cache Bar. Our first trip launches next week and will most likely encounter high flows and cold temperatures. The two kayaking trips with Phil and Mary DeRiemer should still have good water for all of you paddlers, as long as the temperatures don't suddenly spike. We may have to start trips at the lower put-in by mid-July, but it is all dependent on the next couple of weeks' temperatures and precipitation.
Although the Middle Fork of the Salmon River can be hard to predict, it definitely puts the "wild" in wilderness river trips!