Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Main Salmon River rafting trip

I've been so excited for this trip. The opportunity just came up a week ago. I've always wanted to do the rafting trip on the Main Salmon River through the Frank Church Wilderness.
6pm We arrived at Greg Hulets home in Idaho Falls. (The Alpine Club's rafting director).
8:00pm We had the trailer packed with the rafts and all our gear, we had stopped for taco fast food, and finally drove onto the freeway to drive to Corn Creek-which is at the end of the road up from North Fork. (43 miles up from North Fork)
We camped at the campground next to the Corn Creek Boat ramp.
Our party of 7 consisted of Greg Hulet, Mark, and I from Idaho Falls, Lanie Benson from Driggs, Mark and Cheryl Hoza from Bozeman, MT, and Stormy Hulet and Marcie from Utah State in Logan. We took 3 rafts; 2 blue Maravia, and the big yellow club raft.
Mark,and I were in the yellow raft with Lanie Benson as our oarsman.
The ranger at Corn Creek inspects your gear and gives a lecture on sticking with the Leave No Trace requirements.
12:30pm We finally left Corn Creek Boat ramp and on to our wilderness adventure!
Today we saw a black bear walking beside the river as we floated by, a bald eagle sitting in a tree next to the river,
7pm We finally arrived at our reserved camp site along the river. Which by campsite they mean a flat area on the beautiful white sand beaches to pitch your tents on. I'm not sure you'd be able to figure out which sandy beach was yours without GPS.
It seemed like a long, calm day on the river. We had to cover more miles than usual because this is supposed to be a 6 day trip and we opted to do it in 5 days.
Mark and I cooked dinner this evening.
We had the most rapids today. It was a fun day on the water.
This evening a herd of 7 Mountain sheep walked on the mountain just above our camp. We just sat in our camp chairs on the beautiful white sand beach and watched them slowly work their way across the mountain.
This afternoon a bee got tangled in my hair that was loose under a bandana and my wet suit and it stung me on my neck.
10:30pm The night was so beautiful we sat on the beach talking for longer than we had planned. Each night we would sit in our camp chairs in a circle to talk. We never had a campfire since you have to carry out the ashes with you from this wilderness area.
7am Mark and I got up. We provided breakfast this morning. It was cold and breezy this morning.
9:10am the rafts were packed and ready to go. 11 minutes later we pushed off and out on to the river in the sunshine. It was a beautiful morning and the scenery was beautiful. We stopped on a sandy beach for lunch. We passed another group of chuckers. We did several fun rapids and the most exciting was Vinegar Rapids. Then I was practicing rowing. (I kept calling it oaring) and Lanie (our oarsman-he is 62) decided I had improved enough to do the last class 2 rapid. Well we went sideways into the second hole (we only had 3 people on our raft). Well; Lanie got washed out, my backpack, and I lost an oar. It made such an exciting end to our trip.
2:25pm We pulled out of the "River of No Return" on to the boat ramp.
4:00pm We had everything loaded and ready to leave. We started the long drive back to Idaho Falls. The nearest city when you get off the river is Riggins, Idaho. As we drove on the dirt road we came upon a small black bear. We stopped and he was really scared. He very quickly climbed a tree. We took pictures of him, he came down and walked off. Then we stopped to picked black raspberries along the road above the river. We stopped in Weiser and ate at Idaho Pizza Company (we called ahead and ordered).
2:20am We arrived back at our home in Idaho Falls.
It was truely an awesome trip and I'm hoping I'll be able to go again someday.
As for pictures, it's the same old story. I need to find the cord to get the pictures off of my phone. My camera is another story altogether. On day 3 I stepped on a large rock that turned out to be slick and fell into the river. I'm not sure my knee will ever be the same again. We had just gone on a short hike and my camera was in my pocket. It has been drying out for days now. I'm afraid to put the battery back in and see if I destroyed my camera.