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Discussion Starter #1
Pulled a Main permit for Aug 24th. Starting to play with the idea of floating all the way to Heller Bar. I know a good chunk of the way follows the highway and there isn't much in the way of rapids but if I can get the time off then why not, right?

Just starting to do the research but my main, no pun, concerns are water level, camping between Vinegar and Hammer, and restocking in Riggins.

Will I be dragging my boat the entire way? I'd assume not if there is enough water to get down the Main section. I know it will be slow going but I should still be able to get 12-15 miles a day with out killing myself? Weather permiting...

I can't seem to find much on camping options after the main ends and before Hammer creek. I know there is private land in that section but is it most of stretch? I don't want to wake up staring at up the barrel of a farmers shotgun because I couldn't find any where else to set up camp.

I've been through Riggins coming back from a Hell's trip but it was late and I was a bit drunk. Would it be possible to tie up the rafts there and go into town for ice, beer and groceries? Will the grocery store be big enough for our needs? Is there any where to camp right there or just down from it? Would be nice to have someone cook us a meal or two and get drunk while we are there.

Just the tip of the ice berg in terms of planning so any thoughts or advice would be more than welcome!

Zack
 

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The Main Salmon is never too low. You might be dodging a few more rocks than you normally see, but you definitely won't be dragging your boat. There are lots of nice sand beaches between Vinegar and Riggins. River right should keep you away from the car campers next to the road, but both sides have enormous beaches. We've taken out at Spring Bar before and added an extra night to our trip. The river right beach camp after Carey Creek was one of my favorites of the trip.
 

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Yes I it would be very feasible to resupply in Riggins. There is also a scat machine there. It would be nice to pay a local to haul you and your groovers and coolers, trash, etc. from the ramp to the store. That should be easy. Just go talk to one of the many rafting companies.

The river gets bigger as you go so don't worry about not enough water. There's good camping everywhere. It should be a great trip. We were going to do the same thing two years ago but it's difficult for our group to get that time off. I hope it works out for you.


Jim
 

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I agree with all the responses. Another option for doing your resupply in Riggins is to have your shuttle split in two sections. First section would involve talking to The Big Iron motel in Riggins. They are directly across the street from the town ramp. You could arrange to stay the night or possibly just park. Then you have a rig to haul your goods to and from the store. The standard shuttle route using the southern route goes through Riggins so it shouldn't cost any more than doing it in one shot.

There is a hot springs below Vinagar across from French creek that is worth a stop and typically has a workable camp. It's not the best but is worth a stop.

It would be worth consider taking a motor if you have access to one or would use it on other trips. Yes I know you don't NEED a motor but I'm not a huge fan of rowing down stream and still heading back to the put in. The row out on the snake can suck if your timing is not on the money. If your rowing stay as close to the confluence as possible and hit it early. Get up and be on the water at day break kind of early.

It's a great trip and you'll have a blast no matter how you plan it.
 

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Nice idea - we keep saying we will do that trip. How long do you plan on being on the river? I figured that if we did it we would maybe work with a shuttle company to see if they could store our motor and bring it to Hammer Creek so we had it for the Lower and dreaded Snake Lake. All Rivers are based in Whitebird a couple of miles from Hammer.

If this really looks like a possibility pm me I drive Lewiston Hwy 95S through Riggins many weekends once the school year starts, might be able to help you with resupply logistics etc. Or contact one of the rafting companies in Riggins I'm sure one of the guides would help out a fellow boater for some extra beer money.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know all about the wind on the Snake. Not going to mess with a motor though.

Talking to a rafting company is a fantastic idea! I would feel better leaving my boat tied up there for a few hours more so than at a public put in/take out. Any help with the restock logistics would be a huge bonus!

Does anyone know if block ice and or dry ice is available in Riggins?
 

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I would say you can almost certainly get block ice (and maybe dry ice) with all the rafting companies and fishing in town. I'm going through in a day or too so unless someone here lives in Riggins and can chime in I could do a quick recce of the ice stores as I rush by at 25! There is also a riverside RV park with little store just before Hammer that most likely has ice for a final top up before the Lower. Cheek and some cash goes a long way too I wouldn't be beyond asking someone at the campsite to drive me the few miles up to the gas station at the highway or into Whitebird.

Now you have me really wanting to make this trip happen for my group....... but currently our Main permit overlaps a Selway permit - oh boy, so many rivers so little time!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would say you can almost certainly get block ice (and maybe dry ice) with all the rafting companies and fishing in town. I'm going through in a day or too so unless someone here lives in Riggins and can chime in I could do a quick recce of the ice stores as I rush by at 25! There is also a riverside RV park with little store just before Hammer that most likely has ice for a final top up before the Lower. Cheek and some cash goes a long way too I wouldn't be beyond asking someone at the campsite to drive me the few miles up to the gas station at the highway or into Whitebird.

Now you have me really wanting to make this trip happen for my group....... but currently our Main permit overlaps a Selway permit - oh boy, so many rivers so little time!
That sounds like a good problem to have though! I'd rather do the Main and Selway that the Main and Lower! Congrats on the permit jackpot!

Man, that would be a big help if you did some recon for us. I'm sure there is block ice but knowing for sure would really help with our strategy!
 

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You can get block ice at the town store and a couple different gas stations. I think that the Chevron gas station sells dry ice?? I'm going down there Thursday so I'll ask. The water is slow below Lucile to Hammer. You'll have no issues parking your boat at the town put in. Its small and congested so just tie up above the ramp and no one will mess with your stuff. You could camp out at shorts bar and walk into town. Right were the little salmon comes in is a nice beach for camping. Tons of places to stop or camp right next to town.
 

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We floated from Vinegar Creek to Hellar bar last July. Plenty of camp sites all the way to Hammer Creek. We had a good flow of water so 17-20 miles a day was easy, short days. We picked up 2 more rafts at Hammer Creek, more ice & supplies. The State park just before Whitebird has an Rv dump. Fresh water at all the parks too. There are a lot of nice rapids all the way down to Hammer Creek. The truck drivers will give you a honk when your camped because they would rather be rafting.
 

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There are some good river maps on the Idaho state site.
There are excellent river maps on the BLM site. Very detailed. One set of maps covers Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek, and the other covers Hammer Creek to Heller Bar. We made that run in July last year, so we had higher water than you'll have in early September. We used 9 float days for a leisurely pace.

The hotspring opposite French Creek is well worth the hike up the hillside. It is about a 3/4 mile hike, and the elevation gain is significant. We found two large, good camping beaches with access to the trail. At the end of the trail is a very rustic stone and wood shelter with a wooden tub for two. Water temperature is perfect. Camp early and go up in the evening, after dinner.

Two of our campsites (between Riggins and Hammer Creek) were on nice sand beaches opposite US-95. One was in full view of the highway, the other was separated by a hundred yards and a row of buildings, so the highway was not very intrusive.

As JP says, we stopped at the new Slate Creek recreation site and emptied our toilet in the RV dump. Also offloaded our trash. And I don't think we broke any rules in doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That time a year what a practicle miles per day to shoot for after Vinegar? 15 shouldn't be a problem as long as the weather cooperates, right?
 

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That time a year what a practicle miles per day to shoot for after Vinegar? 15 shouldn't be a problem as long as the weather cooperates, right?
Vinegar to just below Ruby Rapid is farely quick and I'm gota say 1/2 day.

About a mile below Ruby the water slows to Riggins. You really don't want to be in that section in the later afternoon. (Wind!) But it could take 3 hours to get to riggins from ruby.

Riggins to Lucile is about ½ day. Time Zone and Fiddle Creek are the big hitters (Class 3).

Lucile to Hammer will be 3/4 day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Vinegar to just below Ruby Rapid is farely quick and I'm gota say 1/2 day.

About a mile below Ruby the water slows to Riggins. You really don't want to be in that section in the later afternoon. (Wind!) But it could take 3 hours to get to riggins from ruby.

Riggins to Lucile is about ½ day. Time Zone and Fiddle Creek are the big hitters (Class 3).

Lucile to Hammer will be 3/4 day.
That's great info. I'm assuming it picks back up a bit as I get into the lower canyon sections? I know all about after it hits the Snake though.
 

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Another option is to extend it from North Fork before Corn Creek. I have driven that road a few times and it looks stunning, isn't nearly as busy a road or stretch of river, and has some rapids. Not sure what its like late August though as its above the confluence with the Middle Fork.

One of these days I am going to do a full run from around Stanley to Hellar Bar.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Another option is to extend it from North Fork before Corn Creek. I have driven that road a few times and it looks stunning, isn't nearly as busy a road or stretch of river, and has some rapids. Not sure what its like late August though as its above the confluence with the Middle Fork.

One of these days I am going to do a full run from around Stanley to Hellar Bar.

Phillip
I have been thinking about that as well. If the entire lower stretch doesn't work out I think adding a couple of days above Corn Creek and then on down to say Riggens. If I could get a month off I'd really take my time and do it right. I'd likely get kicked out of our new house though..
 
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