Raft Driver Wanted For Middle Fork Salmon July 10-16 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-29-2013   #1
Spokane, Washington
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 9
Raft Driver Wanted For Middle Fork Salmon July 10-16

Raft guide with oar boat wanted for private party of 12 kayakers on the Middle Fork July 10-16. We planned the trip with three rafts for kayak support, and one of our three raft guides had to cancel. Must have experience on Middle Fork or similar river and share group expenses. This is a fun and safe group and it will be a great trip. If interested, please call Jim at 509-879-7454 for details.

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Old 06-29-2013   #2
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,832
I have trouble understanding what you want.....

you ask for a "raft driver" but you actually need a boatman with his own rig. You say private party of 12 kayakers....does that mean the other two 'raft drivers' are not part of the party or are they counted as part of the private party of 12.

Do you require formal dining service or will paper plates work? Smoking or non-smoking?

I know someone trying to go around then but they just have cats and have been God knows how many times. So I guess they would be out.

Not really trying to bust on you just messing. You need help getting your kayakers down the river. You had this logistically planned out for three rafts to support 15 ( at least unless you allowed one of the other 'drivers' to bring a friend on the boat for help. Which is helpful but I digress. That is a lot of gear for three boats if you didn't have that part figured out. You could go really light and make it work I am sure. Just thinking out loud.

Maybe if you opened it up a bit and tried to add a couple of rafts and gave the boatmen the chance to bring a friend you may have more success finding someone.

But that is just me.

Old hack kayaker, guide, river scum OUT.
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Old 06-29-2013   #3
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
I have to agree with C-Dog. Three rafts to support 15 people seems like pretty heavily loaded rafts, especially on the top part. Unless you are planning to fly heavy gear into Indian Creek. Right now the MF is at 2.65 ft. which is fine, but in two weeks you're probably looking at around 2 ft. which makes the top part tricky for heavy rafts. Good thing you've got all those kayakers to get the rafts unstuck.....probably more than once.
To have happier "raft drivers" I'd be looking for two more rafts & oarsmen if possible. The MF is a most awesome trip, so I wouldn't expect you'd have trouble finding some folks. Timing may be a factor though, and if it were me, I'd be much more willing to help out if it was 4 rafts/15 peeps.
Hope it all works out for you & have a great trip.
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Old 06-29-2013   #4
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,818
Due to an accident in the Grand Canyon, I am out of the big raft business.

However, I have done trips where I provided support for kayakers. Also where I was a kayaker with a rafter rowing my gear down the river while I played the waves. Below is what I have learned over many years of doing river trips.

River trips with rafts giving kayak load support can be a nightmare for the raft drivers or a pleasant experience.

I have been on trips where the kayakers took their time getting their gear down to the beach each morning, then dropping it for raft drivers to get it on the raft and loaded. I have been on the trips where the kayakers were playing and not at the take out to help unload gear from the raft or left early while gear bags were still on the beach. Bottom line, some kayakers think the rafts are there to only give support to kayakers. These are the kayakers that give the entire kayak community a bad name.

On the other hand, there are many kayakers that make being a raft driver a real pleasure. Some years ago, I got invited to provide raft support for a kayak GC permit holder. It was stated up front they needed load carriers. Man was it a pleasant trip for the raft drivers. The right amount of big rafts so none of us raft drivers was overloaded. The kayakers hung around in the mornings to get gear down to the beach and at least one was assigned to and there for each raft to help raft drivers load. Kayakers played a lot but listened to planned scouts and were always there to help us hit the beach for scouts or lunch stops. At major rapids the kayakers would go first and clear the lines but would be at the bottom of the major rapids to provide support if needed. Since us raft drivers always ran in sequence, it was a hoot to have the kayakers there just in case and to see them whoop and holler when the big rafts ran the drops. This type of support is very appreciated as raft drivers had no passengers and some scouts are hard to hit on the GC. At lunch breaks and camp stops the kayakers stayed with the rafts. They were there on shore to help us rafts hit the beach and get gear unloaded then helped set up the kitchen. I happened to have the shower tripod on my raft and the kayakers got together and assigned one kayaker to get the tripod and shower bags off my raft and do the setup, take down and refill sun showers. We had nice hot showers set up per regulations every day. Very nice. These kayakers made giving raft support a real pleasure and I wish I could do more trips with this group. There was zero nasty remarks and after camp kitchen setup the rafters and kayakers joined around the rafts to enjoy a beverage of choice and recount the day's runs as a group before starting dinner. Good times for all.

What I am saying is, it mostly depends on the kayaker group to set the tone for raft support drivers who will want to come back for future trips. I say this from experience being a kayaker and a raft support driver. Number one, allow plenty of raft support for the group of kayakers - that is one more raft than as a kayak permit holder you think is necessary. On that GC pleasant trip the kayak permit holder asked a long time experienced raft driver to set the number of rafts needed and then recruit all the raft drivers for the trip - no interference from the permit holder on selection. What a neat concept. Then as a kayaker on a raft supported trip, take a bit of your personal gear on your kayak - if at all possibe.

Number two - kayakers on their own without having to be asked each day should be there at launch and landing to help get the rafts tied down then always be there to help load unload gear. The raft captain will want to do the actual loading from inside the raft but needs help getting the gear from the beach into the raft. Finally, get your gear bags down to the beach early as you can. Don't make the raft captain wait or search for you in order to get your gear on board the raft and properly tied down. I asked one long time boater how she always seemed to get her gear down to the rafts and never rushed. She told me she always put some gear away ASAP in the morning and when ever she went to the beach area she took some gear down to the raft and placed it where it should be. A concept I learned from her and still use to make loading easier for me and the raft driver.

Sorry to be so long. I am both a rafter and a long time kayaker and appreciate the time on the river as either a rafter or kayaker.

I do not think many kayakers understand the work involved to get rafts loaded and unloaded each day on the river. That is the reason for all this detail.

I do not like to see discord on river trips. River trips are times to mellow out and enjoy "river time" as a group. If both kayakers and raft drivers are helpful to each other, the trip can be a big time success. If kayakers follow the tips outlined above, I can assure you that rafters will be lining up to provide cheerful raft support for your permits.
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Old 06-29-2013   #5
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Drive, drive, drive your boat, gently down the stream
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Old 06-29-2013   #6
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
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Originally Posted by slamkal View Post
Drive, drive, drive your boat, gently down the stream
No. It's "Oar,oar,oar your boat..."
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Old 06-29-2013   #7
eideho's Avatar
North Fork, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1980
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Great and comprehensive presentation of what it takes for good planning and follow through for good karma Okieboater. Another thought is the role of "raft drivers" in this case for cook crew, menus, compatibility, poop duties, etc. details as C-Dog mentioned. I love a trip where duties, cooking, etc. is mutually agreed as well as expected behaviour given ages, backgrounds, etc. I would not necessarily like beiing a driver where all I did was campwork and not greeted as a new friend in the circle.

This discussion is also a good reminder for all of us the blessings of the river trips and they are what we make of them.
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Old 06-29-2013   #8
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Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Was looking for "safety kayakers" for my Grand Trip and got lots of negativity from kayakers. Now it would seem that the shoe is on the other foot.

BTW the trip wet off well and everyone got along including the two kayakers.
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Old 06-29-2013   #9
Creswell, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 118
I've been down that river before at about two feet. Three of us taking turns at the oars when not kayaking. The first couple of days, I don't think there was a rapid we encountered that the raft didn't get stuck in. I did see a sweep boat that had no problems at all. He just went right over those rocks. Plus, he was big enough to carry all your gear and his girlfriend too.
If I had it to do over again at that level, I'd do self support kayak. Might not work too well in a play boat. Shin guards would have been a great thing to have along to aid in getting the raft off all those rocks. I'd fly whatever you don't need the first couple days into Indian Creek, unless you can come up with a sweep boat.
Good luck and I'm sure you all will have a great trip, even if you have to pack those kayaks down.
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Old 06-29-2013   #10
Spokane, Washington
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 9
Response For Okieboater

I appreciate the positive responses, and Okieboater, especially the time and thought you put into your post. I guess I am not aware of any friction between rafters and kayakers, as my family respects and gets along with everybody, whether they are a rafter, kayaker, plumber, or lawyer. Nevertheless, a simple phone call to me would answer all of these questions, as opposed to me detailing everything in a long post.

Six of the eight kayakers are my family members. The other two kayakers are family friends and expert boaters in their late thirties. No one in the country works as hard as this group, or would be more considerate to a trip member outside of our group who, as far as I'm concerned, would become part of our family. We leave every campsite in better condition than we found it. There is a proper way to conduct yourself on the river, and we do it.

I'm a little surprised to run across this negativity as a result of my simple and genuine invitation. Our priorities for this trip are safety, fun, and making sure everyone has the best experience possible.

I understand this is short notice. If we don't find someone, we will still have a great trip with three rafts and ten people. If we can find a guide with more experience than our existing boatmen, fantastic. If someone has the time and desire to share this unique Middle Fork experience with some super nice and hardworking folks, please call me.

Thanks again to you, Okieboater, and everyone else with constructive input.

Jim - 509-879-7454
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