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Discussion Starter #1
As often happens with late season trips I lost my crew for a planned September 15 Main Salmon trip. Wanting to still go with one passenger on a Maravia Zephyr. Flows currently at 3570 CFS. Any thoughts or concerns about soloing on a trip like this? Did it last year with a group and have 5-6 MFS trips under our belt beforehand. Just curious how other rafters view soloists.
 

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As often happens with late season trips I lost my crew for a planned September 15 Main Salmon trip. Wanting to still go with one passenger on a Maravia Zephyr. Flows currently at 3570 CFS. Any thoughts or concerns about soloing on a trip like this? Did it last year with a group and have 5-6 MFS trips under our belt beforehand. Just curious how other rafters view soloists.
Just got off the Salmon on Monday and at current flows I would have absolutely no hesitations running it solo....plenty of other boaters on the river still if help is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply AzPackRafter. How many days did you take and how were the wicked little yellow monsters in camp during this time?
 

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Thanks for the reply AzPackRafter. How many days did you take and how were the wicked little yellow monsters in camp during this time?
We ran Corn to Carey over 6 nights and 7 days, started to run out of river towards the end so our last 2 days were very short at 6 miles each, didn't like camping down lower much as it was very freaking hot! Yellow jackets were a non issue up closer to Corn, after S.F. confluence then we started to notice more at camps but we were never over ran by them nor did any of us get stung...except that one knucklehead who took a nice big chug from his beer can after scouting Black Creek, found there was a yellow jacket enjoying his beer and got stung on his lip.
 

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Just curious how other rafters view soloists.
I’m fine with them, as long as they are being responsible, prepared, and make good decisions.

Be ready to take care of yourself, and not need a thing from anyone, but be willing to ask for help, if something happens and you need it.
Everyone needs help on the river at some point, no matter of group size.

That’s the best that I can answer that specific question.
I’ve done my share of solo trips before, and will fault no one for running alone, as long as there smart about it, responsible.
Never run the main, so will let others answer that part.

Have a great trip!
 

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I think you'll be fine. I wish my schedule allowed me to beg my way onto the trip. As to yellowjackets, i've heard they're more of a problem in the more popular camps; with just 2 of you at low water there are a lot of little sand beaches that don't get much use, and should have fewer YJs.
 

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I will be launching on the eighth for my second solo Main trip. I did seven nights last year at about the same level as it is now. This year I am going to do nine nights and take out at short’s bar. This will be my third solo trip, I have also done deso/gray, and by solo I mean one person. My biggest concern has always been screwing up and getting separated from the boat, then being stuck bushwhacking down the river- if it’s even possible- hoping the boat eddies out somewhere not too far down stream!
So, I carry whistle, mirror, waterproof matches, small flashlight, and a protein bar or some gorp in my PFD. I also wear a waist belt with rope and basic pin kit.
Then I figure worst case I have to ride out the night somewhere and hope the next group coming by would like to help me recover that big ol jug of whiskey in my boat!
 

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The soloist stuck on the rock for an hour somewhere around 5 mile when the river was at 6 feet raised a few eyebrows from my group! Nah, wouldn't do that.

At low flows before we really knew the river we had a couple of one boat 2 person trips, the plan was to have me on shore with a rope if we didn't like the look of something, needless to say there was nothing that caused us angst. If you have several MFs under your belt I don't see any reason to not do it, there are some super sweet one boat camps. Of course, shit can always happen and being one boat is riskier but the Main at low flows is a forgiving creature if you respect her. If you want complete safety stay at home and knit, though mom always warned me those knitting needles can take your eye out.
 

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I've run it solo a handful of times, maybe 5. From down around zero feet, up to 6.6.

Definitely more comfortable at lower flows.

Ben
 

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As others have noted, the Main is quite forgiving at lower flows. I've only run it twice, once at 3.2' and this year at 2.3' on the ramp. I understand it's -1.3 below the ramp now. Such a gorgeous river.


Black Creek is always interesting and watch for the cracked rock below the big rock in Big Mallard. Everything else is read and run.




It doesn't matter if you're solo, one boat, or a group of 20. If you're not a shit-show, go have fun. Everyone has had a bad day and hopefully none of yours align with this trip!
 

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I just did a 1 boat trip a couple of weeks ago. We had 1 boat and my GF and puppy. The best part is being able to just camp anywhere on the small beaches. The Main is a good one to float solo as it is pretty chill and doesn't really have stressful rapids. I do run pretty conservative when I'm solo and often find myself avoiding holes and stuff I would probably normally hit otherwise. This got me into trouble in Stinker rapid where I avoided some stuff in center and went left only to find myself headed right at a gnarly looking horn that was sticking out of the water. Big Mallard was no big deal, that ripper rock is well off to the side at these flows. In the smaller unused camps the yellow jackets were non existent. FYI the sun doesn't set until 7:30pm at Black Canyon Beach, which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on weather and temps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. We definitely will be watchful as we are not unnecessary risk takers. Guess I was just looking for reinforcement for the decision to take this chance to spend time on the river with my brother. Nothing more energizing than floating on a quality river in the early fall season. Wish all of you well.
 

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heck yeah.

Do you have access to a floorless tent and a wood stove? Might be awesome on crisp fall evenings. It could be cold in 10 days!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Actually a great idea. I'll grab my Kifaru 6 man tipi and Ti-Goat stove. Its been so hot here that I forgot how nice a little heat in the tent could be while sipping evening cocktails if it rains. Which is possible according to the long range forecast. That's what's great about this site. Good peeps with helpful advice (mostly). Thanks.
 

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Same boat, lol.

Myself and the Mrs are launching the same day. 2 boats.
We will probably be leapfrogging each other a few times.

Let's grab a beer at the put in (red jpw cat and green rmr cat).

Like I said above, same boat... All my "probablys" turned into "can't make it". I was comitted to going solo if that's how it played out and wouldn't think twice about it this time of year. If you've done the MFS and have your shit together it should be very straightforward.

See you on the ramp
 

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My nephew and myself have done probably 10-12 solo boat trips in the last 8 years.
Hells canyon, Desolation, Gates of Lodore, Flaming gorge and more. We are leaving in 10 days for a two boat Rogue. The peace and tranquility is worth the extra effort of doing it all yourself. This year we switched from one boat, two people, to Two boats two people. It feels a little safer and lightens the load per boat for easy rowing. We raft often with a great group of friends but, sometimes less is more funner.
 

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Ah, Yellow Jackets (Wasps)...nasty little rascals! Depending on what level of gear-head you are, here are a few ideas gleaned from fellow buzzards;
• Don't wear bright colors.
• Don't swat at yellow jackets. Killing one yellow jacket causes a pheromone to be released which attracts other wasps. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
• Yellow jackets are attracted to sweets (fall) & meats (spring-summer).
• Keep clean: wash hands, avoid saturation from cooking odors, and bathe.
• Don’t leave food out (protein or fruit) – cover trash.
• Buy traps: Home Depot or Lowes – bait with fresh meat.
• Sliced Cucumbers – Bounce sheets - Crumpled brown paper bags (hang around edges of camp) the critters are territorial and are scared away by ‘neighbors’.
• Build trap: Bucket with 2” water & dish soap – suspend chicken bones from stick spanning bucket 1” above water. Empty after dark so you won’t attract bears.
• Don't wear bright colors.
• Don't swat at yellow jackets. Killing one yellow jacket causes a pheromone to be released which attracts other wasps. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
• Yellow jackets are attracted to sweets (fall) & meats (spring-summer).
• Keep clean: wash hands, avoid saturation from cooking odors, and bathe.
• Don’t leave food out (protein or fruit) – cover trash.
• Buy traps: Home Depot or Lowes – bait with fresh meat.
• Sliced Cucumbers – Bounce sheets - Crumpled brown paper bags (hang around edges of camp) the critters are territorial and are scared away by ‘neighbors’.
• Build trap: Bucket with 2” water & dish soap – suspend chicken bones from stick spanning bucket 1” above water. Empty after dark so you won’t attract bears.
 

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Like folks have said. The Main is pretty mellow in September. Y'all will be fine. If it were me in your situation I would personally think about getting some rapid beta (for anything you might not remember from the other trip) -- just like the one sentence version such as "go left in Big Mallard all the way through the gap but watch out for a new little sharp rock that showed up this summer at the very bottom" or "the entrance to Elkhorn will have a bit of a tight squeeze but then it's easy and fun". Those kinds of things would just make it easier for me to read a river running solo and give me a heads up on when and where to pay attention. Just a thought if it were me. Have a great trip!
 
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