Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, we are planning to launch 9/17 on the Main Salmon, but have an asthmatic on our trip. All of us are pretty darn healthy, even our friend w/ mild asthma. Can anyone give an update on air quality while you were down in the canyon? I know about aqi forecasts, but hoping the bottom of the river canyon may be better than the overall outlook for Idaho. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,392 Posts
All that air comes from somewhere, and if it's 1000' over the valley, it's also 0' over the valley.
It won't necessarily drop down from the ridgetops, but will fill up canyon from Riggins.

Don't expect it to be better than the general region.
Your friend needs to be honest with you about what they can handle. If they're not rowing/exerting, it might be OK...but it's also a lot of exposure.

Then again, if it's smoky where you live..it's probably no worse on the river.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I Just had to cancel a trip on the Rogue because of East wind smoke, the weather is changing and is projected to be blowing all of the smoke into Idaho through this next week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
367 Posts
Its also worth checking the current fire map.

Yeah, smoke is one bad thing. But worse would be finding oneself a 5 day boat ride out of the wilderness in the event a fire occurs/spreads near you. I changed camping plans last weekend and it turned out a fire broke out a couple miles from where I was originally planning to camp in east washington.


Take note of the Porphyry Fire in the Frank Church Wilderness Of No Return.. I would not want to be on the river if that spread north, or a new fire broke out near by.
Do the smart responsible thing and don't go. Good chance they'll close access anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I know it's a big trip to give up on, but the heavy smoke can really take a toll on you, even the healthy folks. The smoke combined with the humidity near the water level make for some tough breathing in the morning. I'm in W OR and it is brutal. Had to bail on a Rogue launch this coming weekend. Spent Labor Day on the Klamath with light smoke and it was manageable, but 4 hours after we left under decent conditions a fire broke out in Happy Camp and destroyed part of the town and exploded to the north and buried the canyon in smoke. And don't count on ID officials to cancel anything. We launched on the Main last August and had to drive through an active fire in Shoup with fire hoses on the road. They didn't even restrict fire pans on the river. Best of luck, and please take care of yourselves.
 

·
My name isn't Will
Joined
·
223 Posts
It was about 20 years ago to the month. August 10, 2000. Remember that year?

We drove two days to run the Main. We arrived, rigged boats amid the smoke, and figured we'd get to go boat. The ranger came and checked out our gear. He told us he would NOT be there in the morning, that the river was still open, but that we would not be able to camp for the first 20 miles, and we might have to put our camp out before we unloaded.

Overnight, we watched trees explode on the ridge across the river. The smoke was thicker than some of us, myself included, realized. In the morning, we made the difficult call to derig the boats, pack everything back up, and drive another day BACK west to run the Lower. Not that much to burn down there, and while there was smoke, it wasn't as bad as up in the upper canyons.

It wasn't until we were a couple hours away and stopped for lunch I noticed it felt like someone lifted a heavy, wet blanket off my chest. We had asthmatics in our group. They were willing to head off for day trips if the rest of us wanted to go run the river and experience an event of unparalleled ecological significance. It was a tough call not to go. It was the right call.

I was on the Rogue three years ago when the Chetco fires blew up. It was unpleasant. I'm about to cancel a Rogue trip because of the fires currently burning and those that might get going really soon. I love fall in the Rogue, but not if I can't breathe.

Here in the Willamette Valley, the air is awful. Has been all week. It's been off the scale. I went out for ten minutes yesterday to pick Asian pears and got nauseous. Relief was predicted for today, or at least this evening. The models don't work so good with our current conditions; we've got several more days of this shit. If fire and smoke blow up your second or third day of six or eight, it's no fun.

But you know this. You've experienced it too. It's just one of the things we deal with. I'm going to try to avoid it when I can.

Two parting thoughts:

First: We had some odd experiences back in 2000. It wasn't unusual to see helicopters coming down to load up with water to go dump on the fires. But then a ranger came rowing through. They recommended if we needed water to get it soon because a plane had gone down in the river and could be leaking fuel. It was a crop duster modified to dump water. It lost its engine and, thanks to a good glide ratio, cruised the canyon ten miles to find a place to set it down. He found a straight stretch and attempted a controlled crash. The nose gear hit a hole or rock, and the plane flipped. The pilot was fine. They say any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. I'd say it's still ok if you can swim away. One of our group decided to go surf the barely submerged wing edge. It was creating a tiny one-inch or so wave. There's hardly a more uniform surface than the trailing edge of a wing. He looked at me with fear in his eyes as he was having a hard time getting off of that. Surreal trip.

Second: A year later (or was it two), we were headed back for another late summer Main trip. There were fires in the area. For our last pre-trip meeting, I had a watershed council meeting to attend. I was on the board. I had let my crew know if they were going back to the Lower, I probably wouldn't go. They decided not to fight the smoke. Well, that night I had a crazy dream that my friend went on a river trip, and I didn't, and it made me sad. I got up and called and said my drybag was on the way. It was another great trip.

I'm not sure there's going to be anyplace to get away from the smoke this year. Good luck. Find something to go enjoy. Stay safe. I'm not looking forward to finding out how much destruction there is along the Santiam, McKenzie, and North Umpqua this year. Still just not ready to cancel the Rogue trip, but it's probably the right decision.

Apologies for the long ramble.
 

·
Registered
AIRE Jag
Joined
·
10 Posts
For whatever it's worth, current forecast models are showing widespread rain showers over the Oregon fires Wed-Sun and a solid chance of showers over the Washington fires Thurs-Sat along with cooler temps, so things could be improved by the weekend. Showers are forecasted to a lesser extent Fri-Sun in the Salmon River Mountains in the vicinity of Porphyry fire, with highs in the 40s-50s.

The California fires... doesn't look like much chance of relief in the near future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,226 Posts
Main Salmon bald eagle sitting in the afternoon sun.
bald eagle.jpg
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top