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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a bit of a TR and a video I made for my family. It's goofy, but it's for the memories of the kids :)

We launched on 7/14 in the chaos of Main put in. The check in was easy, we were prepared and pushed off early in the morning as the first group that day. We flipped for one of the camps and got the following camps: Motor, Lower Yellowpine, a sand bar below Jackson rapid and Slide. We only did 5 day float. The sites were great for the summer heat and shade. The flow was 1.5ft (7950 cfs) at Corn Creek.

Seems like a perfect level for family/kids trips. Kids had a blast in the warm water, spending more time in the water than out. The yellow jackets are getting really bad down there. Cooking/eating/drinking beers (alcohol seems to attract them) is a real pain. We ended up with 3 stings in our group (me, my son and another girl). FYI ice works great on stings.

We are early risers, so we ended up beating quite a few groups down river and were at the take out by 9:30 am to have the whole ramp to ourselves.

Black Creek is a normal run down the left side. Big Mallard is an easy run on the left. Vinegar is down the middle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6ZrLTmg3iM&hd=1
 

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Glad you guys had a great time. The Main is an awesome family trip. We must have been just ahead of the yellow jackets (6/28-7/5), as we had little trouble with them. We saw the most at our last camp, but they didn't bother us much and no stings. I did however have one crawl through the sipper hole in my coffee mug lid and go for a caffeine swim. I always enjoy your videos. Thanks for posting.
 

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Really nice video. How old were the kids on the trip? My daughter will be 4 next summer and would love to take her down.
 

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Nice, that's the river Im applying for next year. Wife and boy have been getting left out but I think the boy will be of age by next year.
 

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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The youngest was 5 I believe, but all our kids are river trained and experienced. All swam class 2 and 3 rapids in a controlled environment, all wearing crouch straps during bigger rapids and all know the river camp workings (groover, clean up, pack up, etc). We usually have very serious safety talks and practice throw roping, self rescues and assist rescues during flat water. Kids love it.

Main is a great river to take kids and wives on. Make it comfortable for them and it will be the best trips you go on!
 

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That's a beautiful video and I am so envious. (We didn't draw any permits this year and now schedules have filled up so cancellations won't work.) We did it last year with a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old. Hoping for better permit luck next year.
 

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Thanks Alex , I'm going to apply for next year as well and plan in taking a 5 year old as well .. When is a good range of dates to shoot for. ?


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The Old Troll
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Great vid thanks! I did it this year for the first time. What a great get-a-way.
 

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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Alex , I'm going to apply for next year as well and plan in taking a 5 year old as well .. When is a good range of dates to shoot for. ?
I am not an expert on Idaho rivers, but seems like anything below 2ft @ Corn Creek (<13,000 cfs) would be a good forgiving level for little kids to survive a swim. Looking at the charts, that level usually happens second half of July. I would definitely stay away from Main at high flow (June time).
 

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I am not an expert on Idaho rivers, but seems like anything below 2ft @ Corn Creek (<13,000 cfs) would be a good forgiving level for little kids to survive a swim. Looking at the charts, that level usually happens second half of July. I would definitely stay away from Main at high flow (June time).
This would be my advice as well.
 

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Thanks ... I've been kayaking for years but kinda new to rafting ..and by the video the rapids looked pretty straight forward .. Thanks for info


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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks ... I've been kayaking for years but kinda new to rafting ..and by the video the rapids looked pretty straight forward .. Thanks for info
Following an advice from a guide book would put you in the right spot on bigger rapids. Just one rapid should be scouted just in case is the Black Canyon creek rapid. It's a straight run left of middle down the tongue.
 

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Thanks ... I've been kayaking for years but kinda new to rafting ..and by the video the rapids looked pretty straight forward .. Thanks for info


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I will add, having followed kazak down the Main 5 days later, at roughly the same water level that:

1. Alex is a good oarsman and makes the lines look easy.
2. The video, as usual for most video, underestimates the volume and drop of many rapids.
3. It's not a hard river at that level, but there are still several spots where scouting might be a good idea and plenty of places to get in trouble. We did fine but a couple of missed pulls at say, Chittam or Five Mile (watch out for that one) could have meant a different story. Also, Black Ck is a straight shot down the left but big enough to flip a raft if off line.
 

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Yeah I don't take any river or rapid lightly. .. Especially with kids in the boat .. Looks like worse case kids could wk something if I had any doubts .. And having done most of ark and Shoshone with a gopro. .. Videos are more of a help not a guide


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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks duct tape for the correction. Yes, the video does make it look small, I shouldn't make an assumption Main is a class 2 river. The problem I found with most rapids on Main, the scouts are too long and hard to do (except the Black Creek). We camped at Lower Pine (right before Big Ballard rapid), so we hiked a bit and scouted that just in case. But I found most of the rapids were easily scouted from standing on the cooler. At that level (<13,000 cfs) there is plenty of time to read and run and correct your position before hitting holes.

If interested, I have another video on my channel with all the rapids recorded and named but it's a lot lower water level (~2,000 cfs).

Mike, I used an old River Maps book, but it's way outdated. I just purchased this just to have the hikes and such:

Idaho's Salmon River by Eric Newell and Allison Newell once it gets here, I can post a review of it if you like.
 

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What is the best guide ? Doing ladore of Labor Day so that should be a good test


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We had both the River Maps and Newell books. Both were good and often complimentary, especially when, as was often the case, we weren't exactly sure where we were and were trying to find the campsite. Good mile by mile descriptions.

I would say that the Newell offered better, more complete descriptions of the rapids, including warning of the occ. hole etc. in the smaller ones, but frequently we felt the verbal description made the rapid sound much worse than it turned out to be. Could be simply due to different water levels though. The River Maps rapid descriptions were much briefer.

Both were plenty waterproof as we constantly found out.
 

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The problem I found with most rapids on Main, the scouts are too long and hard to do (except the Black Creek).
Agree completely. The Chittam and Big Mallard scouts were both a rocky, poison ivy mess.

The Elkhorn scout, IMO at that level, was completely unnecessary (we went left and then around (some over) the domer rock. The bottom half of the rapid, which we didn't scout, was easy.

Vinegar scout was also not needed. Just down the right middle for us.

Enjoy you videos Alex. I watched the Westwater ones yesterday as I might be going there later this month.
 

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Looks like worse case kids could wk something if I had any doubts ..


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Walk would be a real b*itch at most bigger rapids. Plenty of talus/scree rocks where I kept saying to myself - I'm better off running blind than breaking a leg here. Plus poison ivy everywhere. I'd think the kids would probably be safer in the boat.
 
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