2013 Lower Salmon River Trip

August 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM

River trips mean many different things to most of us, and even people on the same trip can take vastly different things away from the trip.  If I had to sum up the trip in one word, it would be growth.

On August 18, 2013 a massive flotilla of us that consisted of 7 round boats, 7 cat boats, 3 inflatable kayaks, 1 hard-shell kayak and 30 people pushed away from the Hammer Creek boat ramp amongst the chaos of one other large private trip and two outfitters all fighting for space on the boat ramp.  The first opportunity for growth for all of us was to keep calm as one of the outfitters inflated 6 rafts on the boat ramp and spread their gear everywhere as they tied the whole thing up for over an hour and a half causing everyone else to be delayed.  Growth is the key word for the trip here.

As the fourth annual trip progressed, I was watching the kids – most of which have been on three or four of these Lower Salmon trips.  When we did the first trip, most of the kids were young enough they couldn’t swim and needed to have us adults to all of the work.  This trip, swimming as much as possible was the order of the day every day and most of the kids helped set up and break down camp.  Two of the teenage kids even volunteered for groover duty and took care of the groovers for the entire trip – something I couldn’t have been happier about myself.

This trip is filled with days on end of mostly easy rapids, beautiful canyons and large soft sand beaches with warm water that is always refreshing to swim in.  For our entire trip, the most difficult rapid is called Snow Hole that gets more technical as the water level gets lower at more rocks show themselves.  The only rapid that is rated higher than Snow Hole is called Slide, and that rapid closes the river at flows above about 25,000 cfs.  At low flows, Slide is quite literally nothing at all.  This year, several of the kayaks went through backwards so they can now say they paddled a class VI rapid backwards.  This was another opportunity for growth and more bragging rights for the kids.

Over the years the kids have grown from timidly floating in the calm waters in front of camp to swimming across the river several times on our layover days.  Several have grown from being passengers in their parent’s boats to paddling their own IK’s down the river.  One teenager, Cian Saucy, rowed his own raft carrying gear while his dad paddled a hard-shell kayak.  Watching Cian have the confidence to handle the raft for a week-long trip was great to see.

Probably the biggest area of growth I saw was in the self-confidence of many of the kids.  This extremely family friendly trip allows for kids to reach just outside of their comfort zone and be successful.  This river trip might be the coolest thing these kids did all summer.

Submitted by Scott Ogren

Category: Trip Report

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