MiddleFork Beta 5/22
Thought someone might want to know this. Launched on the 22nd (two and a half inches of snow the night before) and the level was around 4.5 and (we found out) dropping. Air temp 40, water temp 40. Three kayakers and 4 rafts. I ran it in a borrowed 'TomCat' hardshell 11'6" cat boat. Cold weather but great 1st day. Lake Creek 'rapid' was the most difficult thing we came across. At least 4 trees at various positions in the river from a side river blowout. When we pulled in, everyone was scouting, but no one was running. Our safety kayaker ran and set safety- as much safety as we could put together. Our 'lead boatman' Dave, finally got tired of looking at it, decided he was not up for a portage and easily negotiated the downed trees through the run. All the rest of our group did the same with me running sweep in the TomCat. The rest of the boaters (many from Idaho) that had previously been watching, I think then decided they also saw how 'easy' it was and made the run. I ran into Les Bechdel the river rescue guru (while scouting) and he showed up with chainsaws and 8,000# winches. I was one of the few people who actually recognized him, but I have all his books. By the time you read this, it should be a safer run- but I would still pull over to scout. Pistol was wide open and we all congregated at Indian Creek to explain what great boaters we all were.....the BS flowed heavily. As I said, the water was on it's way down and the rest of the trip was fairly easy- even rubber- no real lateral at the level we ran it. We then ran the Main and took out just below Chitam. Nine days 205 miles and one great trip. Next year our group plans the usual Selway, Lochsa, Middlefork early May run, as we missed that this year. I've run a TomCat for around 5 years now and the story is that it isn't a 'big water' cat boat. I had no trouble though- simply skirted what I didn't want to run- often in the middle of the rapid.