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Old 12-19-2008   #11
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
Phlyingfish is right on with his list. I'd rank them the same.

The Selway is absolutely one of the best runs in the lower 48. Selway is never easy in a raft and at high flows its pretty dangerous so be aware of you ability level when you're picking dates.

If you wanna have a beautiful but very mellow experience the Main is classic. The whitewater is just okay, but the camping and scenery are TOP NOTCH.

I've done the Selway a few times and once it jumped up to 8' (on the putin gauge) just as we were approaching the crux canyon. It was really fun and didn't seem too tough in a kayak but you couldn't have paid me enough to take a raft through there. Our rafters did alright but it was pretty intense. I've seen a couple of mile+ swims take place in the section around Ladle.

Take that with a grain of salt though cuz any river craft besides a kayak seems really unsafe to me. If you're a badass rafter you shouldn't miss high water Selway and high water MF Salmon. I've always done the Selway on the high side and twice we were at the putin when people had decided not to put on because of high water. I bet it would be pretty easy to snag a last minute cancellation with high water.

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Old 12-19-2008   #12
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Speaking of the Main......

If you don't pull any permits, a preseason launch on the Main is a great alternative. Just need to launch prior to June 20 - assuming the date hasn't changed the past few years.

We did it a few years back, ran 90+ miles in under 3 days - the water was moving but had peaked a week or two earlier. Hardly another group on the water, campsites of our choice.

Ran into a group that had put on around the around the daily sections by Shoup or even up higher and took out at Riggins, making for around 140 or so miles???

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