The Salmon river is one of the most beautiful wilderness stretches of river in the United States. It is over 80 miles long and has many class 3-4 rapids. It's elevation is between 2300 ft and 3000 ft. The yellow pine forest and the white sandy beaches make this trip wonderful for beach camping. This year we think is our 6th trip on this stretch. We know the campsites that are the best and try to sign up for them. There is a coin toss at the beginning of the put in and each group has to sign up for where they intend to camp. We got most of our intended sites this year. There are 6 or 7 groups that put in each day.
The main difference this trip was that our large group shrank from 16 or so people to 11. 5 people from Calgary were unable to go. Rhino and Michelle were two, due to Rhino's recovery from Heat Stroke. Alistair and his wife and daughter were unable to make it because poor Alistair had a detached retina and was on his face for a couple of weeks. Boy it is tough getting older. Staying healthy is a blessing and a full time job. At 62 I am really feeling it. I hope to keep doing these trips as long as Karla and I can.
Another big change was that instead of paying a big price to have our cars shuttled the 400 miles one way from the put in to the take out($400.00 per car); we hired a huge 30 ft. long jet boat to take all of our gear from the take out up river to the put in($125.00 per person). This saved wear and tear on our cars and reduced the cost per person. It is unfair to have single drivers pay their own way so the jet boat was definitely a less expensive option. The only down side to the jet boat was that we had to load it and unload it with our gear. (4 rafts, ice chest, frames, dry boxes, and sleeping gear, a kitchen box and all of the food for 7 days. = and 11 people=5-6000 lbs. ) Boy what fun it was to go up the rapids, the jet boat had 3 huge engines that just shot us up through the rapids with little effort.
The weather was the final thing that made such a difference this trip. It rained and was in the 60's most days. We have been on this trip the same time every year and it is usually very hot, like in the 90's and even 100's one year. So we had to be ready for cold and windy weather every day. One Day we got nailed with hail and 20+ mph winds. Not fun in a big heavy raft.
The forest was very green this year and the water was high. When the sun was out it was just gorgeous. Food is always plentiful and delicious. I really wish that I could take more of my friends on these trips. Space is limited and we try to keep the size of the group down, smaller groups get to stay on the river a day or two longer. Large groups have a huge impact on the campsites.
Thanks again to all who made the effort to keep this trip a go. Dave Dolberg made a special effort to keep Alistair permit. You see when a permit is obtained the group has to have the permit holder go with them... David and Alistair did some fine maneuvering to get the permit transferred to Dave. Whew.
We all had to make some adjustments due to changes the last minute. Gregg rowed Alistairs boat, Karla and I had our boat, David and Miles had another boat and John and Donna had the fourth boat. Richard, Darryl, Eileen and Aslaug comprised the rest of the folks. Darryl was the only Kayaker this year and Richard, Eileen and Aslugh paddled the inflatable kayak. Miles even gave the inflatable kayak a shot.
There is so much history to this river and coming to the various sites and mines and reading the stories of the old timers in the guide books is really fun. Karla and I can't wait till the next Salmon river trip next year.