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Old 04-15-2012   #1
Love2fish's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 15
Main Salmon _ How many Days?

I am wondering what the consensus is for the recommended # of "days on river" for the Main. Our trip is currently slated for 5 days (mid-june) and I'm a bit worried that'll be rushed. Please chime in!

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Old 04-15-2012   #2
Pugetopolis, Washington
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That seems fast. Especially when you're driving all the way from CO. Why rush. We're doing it in 7days...

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Old 04-15-2012   #3
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Sandy, Utah
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We generally do our trips in July or August, so lower water levels than June. I think with higher water levels you won't have a problem with 5 days (that's the usual trip length for commercial June trips), but why rush? We always fit in at least one layover day on all of our trips. We just love being on the river, so we get the most time allowed to enjoy it. The allowed trip length also depends on your group size. I believe groups of 10 or less can stay on the river one extra day over groups with more than 10??? If I'm remembering right??? It all depends on the make-up of your group & what their schedules allow. Are they on a time limit? Are they folks who like to get up early and do more miles? Would a layover day to relax, hang out, go for a hike, etc. drive them nuts? For my group, it's all about spending time on the river relaxing.....not a race to get back to our hectic lives.

I looked it up.....
1-10 people - 8 days/ 7 nights
11-20 people - 7 days/ 6 nights
21- 30 people - 6 days/ 5 nights

We try to keep out group at or below 10 if possible to get those 8 days. If not, we go 7 days minimum.
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Old 04-15-2012   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Can be done.

But you really only get 3 full days on the river with that schedule, as you lose so much time on takeout day and several hours on put-in. There are so many great side streams to play in.

Even if you don't want to layover you can consider extending the run below Vinegar Creek (which is a blast of a rapid). for 10-12 miles.

Edit: Then again.....likely to be huge in there this June since they are sitting above 100% snowpack. The hydrograph shows a flow 3x that of our July trip. We took 6 days in July so 5 at 20k cfs should be plenty, possibly even for a layover. I hear the rapids farther downstream as you approach Riggins are a blast at those flows. Massive rollers and such.
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Old 04-16-2012   #5
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spokane, Washington
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: May 2011
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We ran it in 3 days at 20K and were not in a hurry. With 5 days it would be a 11am on the water and off it by 2-3pm. Not really anywhere on the river that is not moving along at the higher flows.
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Old 04-16-2012   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
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For the OP, you should clarify what type of trip you are doing, and base your number of days on the type of group and watercraft that you are taking. A 5 day trip for an adult rafting crew is probably completely adequate in mid-June. If you have a trip with a bunch of kids on it, then you would probably appreciate having more time (7 days in August is nice). If you are self-support kayaking, 3 long days is better than not going at all. It's a great trip.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 04-16-2012   #7
Love2fish's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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Thank you all for the great feedback! I always like more days (don't we all?) and I guess I'm really just weighing the effort vs. reward factor given that it's a 17 hr drive from Boulder, there's a heinous shuttle and an even longer ride back (gas ain't gettin' cheaper) and well, it makes me wonder what the minimum days should be given all that... 7 would be nice, but doesn't look likely. There are teenagers along on this trip, though I'm not sure they'd slow us down. Mom seems to crack a pretty serious whip
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Old 04-16-2012   #8
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 535
yeah, no worries,that's only ~16 miles a day at high water. seems like a good, easy pace to me. lots of long daylight hours up in idaho in june too. i wouldn't sweat it if that's all the time you can get for the trip.

fwiw, we did 6 days in september a few years ago and it was plenty of time to relax in camp and for side hikes,ect. much shorter daylight hours too.
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Old 04-16-2012   #9
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
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Originally Posted by Love2fish View Post
there's a heinous shuttle
pay for the shuttle. it's a no brainer on this river and enjoy your trip.
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Old 04-17-2012   #10
Vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Regardless of the river in question, I have found that paying for a vehicle shuttle is worth every penny. At the end of a great trip the LAST thing anyone wants to do is shuttle a vehicle.

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