Close/Cheap Spring Break Paddling Trip - Boise? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-02-2005   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 178
Close/Cheap Spring Break Paddling Trip - Boise?

So we are trying to get away from this dreary snowless winter we have been having in wyoming and really want to go boating. Problem is, we are poor college students and can't afford a trip to WA or OR. So we are trying to find something closer, like maybe Boise.

I have read about how great the year-round boating is in Boise/Idaho Falls areas but I need some confirmation and some beta on what to do. Ideally we would like to do it all, play, creek, maybe run NF if it is possible. Any beta would much appreciated. Bliss wave, malad river, payettes, etc.

Is Amaral's 'Idaho whitewater state' book the best giude book or is there something better for that area? Thanks for any help and or any people that might be intersted in going or hooking up to paddle while we are their.

Are their any other places that we might be missing that would be close and cheap?

Oh yea, We will be there the middle of march, 14th - the next weekend.


Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
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Old 02-03-2005   #2
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 121
Well, we are having a pretty dry year so far as well. We really need to get hit in Feb and March. Usually the river running on the Payettes won't get going until late March at the earliest. This usually happens with a little rain to bring off the low snow. Right now there is no low snow. The NF won't run until later in the year (June- Oct) unless we get a bunch more snow and they need to release early. The SF Clearwater usually runs in March. It happens to be about 5 hrs from Boise. I you were going to go that far I would go to Hood River (5 hrs from Boise) if things are runing there (rain dependent). I wonldn't really call this area "year round" boating. The stuff that is happening in the off season is the Bliss wave and a couple waterfalls in that area. Again, the payettes don't usually go that early. Thats not to say they won't. Keep an eye on it. But really I would plan on just pushing a bit further to Hood River or CA. That's where I'm going. Also I can't really offer info on eastern ID.
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Old 02-03-2005   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
The only place within driving distance that will certainly have water in March will be Oregon/Washington. Even that is a little bit of a gamble, but it seems pretty consistent. Idaho Falls has okay boating, but I wouldn't drive more than a couple of hours to hit it, and I doubt it would be going in March anyway. Cali might be good, but it is very weather dependent. My advice if you can't afford the Northwest is to keep your fingers crossed that something in CO might happen or find a temp job for the break and save some cash to hit Cali when you get out of class in May.
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Old 02-03-2005   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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keep your eye on new mexico. they have a lot of snow, and some good stuff might be running in march, depending on the weather. it is hard to say now, but keep it in mind.
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Old 02-03-2005   #5
Wydaho, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Idaho Boating

Bliss wave would be good near Hagermann, Idaho. Last mid-March went to winter wave on the Snake south of Jackson and the Greys River outside of Alpine, WY was running (had to walk in, almost got my truck stuck). Grant Amaral's book is the only river running guide book to Idaho. There are also two year-round runs in Montana about two hours north of here, listed in the Montana guidebook. Beatrap Canyon (one IV, lots of flat water) and Quake Lake (IV+, short), both on the Madison. Both are dam release.

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Old 02-03-2005   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 178

Do you have anymore info on Bliss wave ie where it is from the bliss exit off the interestate, and winter wave and grays. We will probably be staying near Alpine on either ends of the week. Also anything about Beartrap/quake in montana? Aret these play runs, creek runs, hows shuttle - can a one vehicle crew do it, is it worth the drive from bliss up to them and then back down in a quasi-circle, starting from Alpine? Thanks for beta.

Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
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Old 02-03-2005   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Alpine, WY? If you go there for a boating trip in mid march you could easily be snowbound. Who knows with today's weather though. I spent two summers in Soda Springs, Idaho and there is a serious lack of boating there compared to other parts of the state. Look into the Blackfoot River and Henry's Fork, but really this is not a boating destination especially during the time you are coming. The Greys is a good class IV run in spring, but I don't think it usually happens that early. If it's running it's likely CO will be thawing out too. There is also the Bear River near Grace, Idaho that has a run on it, which may go earlier due to its desert location.

I would guess that by the time you drive to Montana for Beartrap or to the Hagerman section of the Snake, and then back to Alpine you will have driven more than is prudent for said runs. Not trying to ruin your spring break plans, but if I were you I would hope something in CO goes or head down to NM.

Otherwise N. California boating is only 18 hours one way from Laramie and it will be going for sure, but this would involve a great deal of driving and you're unlikely to find a tank of gas out here for under $2 a gallon. That said you might look into paddling the Ozarks, they might be closer than California and are most certainly cheaper, but are rain dependent.

Good Luck.

P.S. if you are in Alpine head south to Afton, WY and go drinking at Colter's Lodge. A group of us USFS interns had a beer with Harrison Ford here. He was driving his beemer down to SLC from Jackson for service. Celebrities aside, Colter's is a good, cheap place to get pickled
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Old 02-03-2005   #8
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 30
CA-Little cost

I have a small crew going to Northern California in late March/early April. If you can find your way down to Denver, you are welcome to jump in with us. I wrote a post a few weeks ago that you can find if you scroll down, this will give you all the details.

[email protected]
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Old 02-04-2005   #9
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 508
New Mexico

New Mexico is gonna go off. Biggest snow yr since mid 90's. March could be epic if the sun shines. Upper box is already running, did it 2 weeks ago and had a blast. We just had 5 ft snow in The peaks in the last week.
March could be the go, if not then april, may, and june are gonna rock!
adios, atom...
action is the enemy of thought
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Old 02-05-2005   #10
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dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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re: creeking in Idaho - I have no personal experience, but came across a website you might want to check out: Looks like these runs would be more during the traditional season though...
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