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Old 09-12-2015   #1
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
Trip Report and Shout out to the Buzz

I belatedly would like to thank everyone on the Buzz who shared their thoughts on logistics for our July Boundary to Heller trip. We were on the river for a total of 23 days and had a blast with friends old and new.
Here are a few things we learned, the hard way, because where’s the fun otherwise?

Go light on the Middle Fork below 2ft means GO LIGHT ON THE MIDDLE FORK BELOW 2FT, ha! We flew in some heavy coolers etc but our green cat was still too heavy. Really, Dave (my dearly beloved) do we need 60 lbs of rescue gear? That's life with an ICU nurse, honestly they start at death and work backwards..... We were never badly stuck but thrutching the boat off the rocks we did park upon would have been a lot less work with a lighter boat.

Take a chance! We blind dated on the Middle Fork with wonderful Tom and his group. OK, so we both admitted to some cyber stalking and had asked the all-important questions re drug and alcohol tolerance on the river. Still it was a twelve day blind date; these guys could have been axe murders or Republicans for all we knew. The eight of us had a wonderful time on the Middle Fork, lots of hiking and slow mornings in camp, we were in no hurry as we had the full 8 days before we could continue on from Corn Creek.

It all works out in the end! Logistics were a nightmare as my usual running group had a Selway permit and were watching water levels hoping there would be enough for them to float. We had to have contingencies for contingencies as we didn’t know who was coming in at Corn until we were driving toward Stanley. There was considerable relief when we were rowing into the wind/rain/thunderstorm somewhere between Cache and Corn and looked up to see a familiar red truck and loaded trailer bouncing down the road.

A case of beer is 24 cans not 12! OK, so in my defense I don’t like or drink beer, probably shouldn’t have been the one putting in the group order for the Corn resupply! Thankfully this faux pas was discovered before we drove back to Stanley with the gear to fly into Indian and I was able to leave messages with the guys coming in.

When your beer order gets doubled because you left the same message to two friends it will be consumed between Corn and Carey! That one should have been obvious even to the non-beer drinker.

One shower in 23 days is quite sufficient! Thanks to friends with a cabin in Riggins this was a reality.

The Salmon River is amazingly awesome! Dave and I thought “lets do this once, just because we can”. Would we do it again? Hell yeah!

So many thanks Buzz without this forum this would never have happened. We now have new river friends and great river memories.

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Old 09-12-2015   #2
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 459

Nice post! Far more typical of my river experiences than the sometimes pissing matches we get into on the buzz.

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Old 09-12-2015   #3
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
sounds like a great trip. Thanks for sharing. Great feeling to see that that resupply truck.

I've witnessed a party camping at the corn creek ramp, waiting for the resupply truck.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 09-12-2015   #4
Whetstone's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 362
Cudos to you all for doing what so many only talk about around the fire at night. Nice report.

Sent from my SM-G530T using Mountain Buzz mobile app
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Old 09-12-2015   #5
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Congrats! It sounds wonderful.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 09-13-2015   #6
Caw! Caw!
AlanS's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 62
Wow, that sounds like a wonderful and memorable trip. It's awesome that you just went for it and made it happen.
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Old 09-13-2015   #7
BlueTurf's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 105
That sounds like a great time. I hope to be able to do the same thing some day.
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Old 09-13-2015   #8
Spokane Valley, Washington
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
Sometime in the 1980's a a couple of us lead several groups on trips on the Salmon River 'system'. I say system while only two of completed the entire trip it was done in sections as time and permits allowed. Starting in March I brought a group of college students from Hammer Creek to Heller Bar on the Snake. What a contrast to the summer trips I had been doing before. Deer, lots of elk, solitude, a little bit of snow on the high peaks and sun on the river. In late June of early July we drove to Boundary Creek with an entirely different group, many of which were also 'blind dates'. We got along fine on my first trip down the Middle Fork. Low water was not a problem as we started at an estimated 6.6 foot level. Fortunately the folks from Boise had been on the river before and knew the river. The issue wasn't avoiding rocks but landing the swiftly moving, overloaded rafts (Lower Main Salmon style loads!). With bucket boats my passengers soon learned to anticipate how much bailing they were going to be doing as my vocal rapid rating became more profane in relation to the difficulty of the rapid! Low water is not the only time for lighter loads! We floated to Corn Creek for our takeout. There can be some nice rapids in that section of the Salmon.

A few weeks later our Main Salmon trip started from Corn Creek. This time our group from Spokane meet with a great bunch of folks from Boulder. We took 13 days on this trip and enjoyed a layover day at Upper Mallard campsite. At that time Newt, a former Brit from Liverpool and his wife Sharon were caretakers at Yellowpine Bar where Warren Brown had a very nice residence, airstrip and the caretakers cabin. We had stopped there many times before and always had more beer and wine flown in from McCall. We would cook a big dinner and share it with Newt and Sharon. It was a great trip. Just above Time Zone Rapids we built a rock shelter for our 'restroom' facilities. We floated to Hammer Creek where we got off the river.

Later in the summer yet another group of us floated again from Hammer Creek to Heller Bar. Not quite the adventure of the upper sections of the river but once again a wonderful time. I don't remember a bad trip in forty plus Lower Main Salmon trips. The plans are on for another trip next year, maybe we will even get lucky and draw another Main Salmon permit.

Drift Boat Rick

Drift Boat Rick
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