Salmon River Trip: Part 1
Over the next couple weeks, we will be posting on the blog about an adventure that Crunchster's digital curator and photographer Ben Moscona had on the Salmon River in Idaho. We also will be posting some yummy fall Crunchsters recipes to get you excited and inspired for the holidays over the next two weeks.
My friend Curtis had invited me on a trip through some of the most wild and scenic whitewater in the U.S., the Salmon River. The plan was to put in at the top of the Main Salmon River, resupply in Riggins, Idaho, before the Lower Salmon, and take out about 20 miles past the confluence of the Snake and the Salmon Rivers, 215 miles from where we started.
We would be on the river for two weeks, and I only knew three of the twenty four people we would run the first half of the trip with. I flew into Missoula from Denver, and was picked up by my new river friend Marissa. On the four hour drive to the put-in we talked about Idaho and what we had been reading. It turned out that we were both reading the exact same book at the moment (about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone). We made it to the fifty mile dirt road to the put-in in the dark, and Marissa almost ran over what initially looked like a cat. Until it took off, that is, spreading its giant wings into the starry night. We encountered another four gigantic barn owls until we reached camp.
We woke up in the morning to the surprise of who would be joining us on the trip. All of us exchanged introductions and got to work rigging the boats. This trip had over eight river guides who were embarking on this trip as a fun end to their commercial seasons. River guides are known for their excess: large quantities of food, gear, all the most unnecessary things you might think to take on a backcountry trip. We also had a big bag I brought full of different flavors of Crunchsters for everyone to try out! What we didn’t have, however, was an Epi-Pen.
Although no one had reported any life threatening allergies, we were concerned about the wasps. Just at the boat ramp, five of us were stung, some more than once. A hot and dry winter in Idaho hadn’t killed any of the wasp larvae, so the rivers were full of them, even in September.
After several hours of rigging coolers, metal frames, umbrellas, and other accoutrements to the rafts, we finally set off on our two week adventure. I manned a duckie: a kind of inflatable rubber kayak. Some “princessed” on the rafts (not rowing), some rode SUPs (Stand Up Paddleboard), and others kayaked. We didn’t encounter any crazy whitewater on the first day, but a nice, steadily moving current took us to our campsite at dusk.
We camped under the bright stars of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and exchanged stories in a circle while we got to know each other better. Many on the trip were Idaho based guides, while others hailed from Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, and California. I was excited that we would be making our way through the largest wilderness in the Lower 48. Wildlife abounded in the area and we were in for a treat.