Middle Fork of the Salmon Outfitter Recommendation? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 10-24-2016   #1
 
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 3
Middle Fork of the Salmon Outfitter Recommendation?

Hi All,

I'm hoping you can help me out with some recommendations for outfitters on Middle Fork - there are so many out there it's a bit tough to figure out which ones I should be looking at.

Here's what I'm specifically looking for:
- Accommodating for an older guest - I'm bringing an older family member and would like an outfitter that can help. The option for a cot (and large tent) is probably the most critical.
- Accommodating for a special diet
- Nature-focused, meaning guides are halfways decent naturalists and can identify birds/animals, etc.
- Include paddle boats for sure (not 100% oar boats), and ideally duckies

From my initial research, I found 3 companies that offer cots: Adventure Sun Valley, NWRC, and Boundary Expeditions. I'm assuming most outfitters can deal with dietary requirements. I can't really get a good handle on the naturalist aspect of things - hard to tell from internet research. So....Any input on those I listed, or others I should consider?

If you could give me any guidance, I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks,
LM

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Old 10-25-2016   #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysideofthemtn View Post
Hi All,

I'm hoping you can help me out with some recommendations for outfitters on Middle Fork - there are so many out there it's a bit tough to figure out which ones I should be looking at.

Here's what I'm specifically looking for:
- Accommodating for an older guest - I'm bringing an older family member and would like an outfitter that can help. The option for a cot (and large tent) is probably the most critical.
- Accommodating for a special diet
- Nature-focused, meaning guides are halfways decent naturalists and can identify birds/animals, etc.
- Include paddle boats for sure (not 100% oar boats), and ideally duckies

From my initial research, I found 3 companies that offer cots: Adventure Sun Valley, NWRC, and Boundary Expeditions. I'm assuming most outfitters can deal with dietary requirements. I can't really get a good handle on the naturalist aspect of things - hard to tell from internet research. So....Any input on those I listed, or others I should consider?

If you could give me any guidance, I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks,
LM
I would honestly suggest seeking 4 or 5 star accommodations at Yellowstone or something similar. From a guides perspective your list of needs makes me cringe. When did river rafting become pampering customers!?
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Old 10-25-2016   #3
 
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 623
Up front disclaimer- I have worked for Adventure Sun Valley for several seasons.

With that out of the way, I would tell you that you won't be disappointed by ASV. The level of service is outstanding. Brad's "don't lift a finger" service is just that- you won't even be asked to carry your own dry bag.

-The cots make a big difference, especially for people who may have trouble getting up off the ground.

-ASV's tents are huge- 6 person tents for every 2 guests. (Unless you're by yourself- you'll get your own. You won't be asked to bunk with someone you don't know.) The tents are tall enough to stand up in without hunching, even for someone who's over 6' tall. Typically, they are set up before you even get to camp.

-Hot showers in camp- every night if you choose- just ask a guide, and we'll get the water fired up.

-Transportation is taken care of. Either fly into Boise and get picked up in Brad's bus (Not an old school bus, over the road and has A/C!), or if you're driving from California you could drive to Stanley if you want. The bus is a pretty great value for people who are flying to Idaho, it just really takes the stress levels of traveling down a notch.

-Very knowledgeable guides. Many of ASV's guides have grown up in the Frank Church region and know it intimately from years of hunting, fishing, floating and hiking and can tell you all about the plants and animals and local geography. Some are interested in the history and can tell you some wild stories about the early settlers. Others can talk to you about the geology and hydrology.

-Duckies and Brad's custom paddle-cat are always on the trip. Make sure to mention that these are important to you, so we can be sure to have enough duckies.

I have a close friend who works for NWRC, and I think they do a great job, as well, but I can't speak to some of their details. Boundary Expeditions is unfamiliar to me, but their website sure looks great!

Give Brad, the owner of ASV, a call and I'm sure his infectious energy will have you hooked. He'll also be able to answer ANY question you might have. Whoever you choose to go with, you won't be disappointed by the Middle Fork. It's a spectacular river that is unmatched in the US in many ways.

Cheers,
David
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Old 10-25-2016   #4
 
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 3
Hi mkashzg - I understand that what I'm asking for is a bit out of the ordinary. We've done plenty of low-maintenance outdoors trips in the past, including the MF (MANY years ago). We're actually not looking to be pampered really, just need some accommodations to make it physically possible for us to go this time.

David - many thanks for the recommendation and details! I'll follow up.

Thanks in advance to anyone else that can help.
LM
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Old 10-25-2016   #5
 
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On The River, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 98
Options

You might look at Canyons or Far and Away adventures as well. Far and Away is known for pampering guests and I believe you pay for it as well. They do run a number of sweep boats but also have paddle boats and duckies. The old folks can sit on the sweep boat in a chair and have a drink if they want. Both these companies also have excellent top notch food which is something I believe ASV is truly lacking. DISCLAIMER: I've worked for ASV as well and a number of companies on the MFS for a decade. The food at ASV isn't the best and is mostly comprised of pre packaged fake salmon and crab that just isn't that great, lunches are ok. But out of every company I've worked for they had the worst (unimpressive) menu by far. I would agree that the service is excellent with ASV but you'll get that with most any outfitter on the middle fork. I would make some calls and talk with various outfitters and you will find the right fit for your group.
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Old 10-25-2016   #6
 
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Medford, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 123
Check out Idaho River Journeys. They do provide cots on request and have a phenomenal crew. Middle Fork Salmon River Rafting & Fly-Fishing Vacations
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Old 10-25-2016   #7
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkashzg View Post
I would honestly suggest seeking 4 or 5 star accommodations at Yellowstone or something similar. From a guides perspective your list of needs makes me cringe. When did river rafting become pampering customers!?
I would honestly suggest you get out of the business if you are still guiding.

From a guides perspective ( 15 years) this is very normal and I don't cringe at all. When did river rafting ever not be about taking care of folks out of their element and making them as comfortable as reasonable?

One fellow guide was bitching one morning that a guest had asked for some hot water and a bowl to wash her face in. I told him that if I could ever get my Mom out here I would do whatever I could to make her morning a little easier and that is someone's Mom. I never did. My Dad wouldn't go, he got enough of camping in the Army and never did it unless he had to. And my Mom got Parkinson's and lost the ability to navigate uneven terrain. Don't be such a whiny gasbag, go get a real job and something worthwhile to bitch about.

To the OP: your request is so reasonable and common don't think twice about asking any of the outfitters. I could recommend 10 off the top of my head. This is a slow time of year give a couple of them a call. Some are already booked up for certain dates next year. That is usually who you want to go with.
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Old 10-25-2016   #8
 
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 794
Jerry, You are completely correct and every guide I've ever met had a similar work ethic and attitude. Having agreed, and having been on many outfitter raft trips before getting into private rafting, if any of the customers didn't help at least with some of the daily work, such as helping offload and load the rafts, set up their own tents, generally showing some willingness to be part of the solution rather than the problem, I would not go on another trip with them.

Jon
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Old 10-25-2016   #9
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 128
It sounds like there are plenty of great options out there. I would strongly encourage you to check out NWRC. A few years back when I was trying to convince my wife and kids to start rafting with me, we went on the Rogue with NWRC. We have been on 3 trips with them since. On 2 of the trips, folks had brought an elderly parent. They were granted the utmost respect and not treated like "they should have instead gone to a 4 star resort in Yellowstone ". Wow, I'm still reeling from that comment.

You will not find a better group of knowledgeable guides invested in the ecology and history of the river. Call the owner Zach - he is a great guy!


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Old 10-25-2016   #10
 
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 66
Canyons, over the past 24 yrs have gone with them 3 times. And they let us bring our own boat
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