Monday, June 24, 2013

Middle Fork of the Salmon part 1

Best airport ever
 So I was lucky enough to be invited on an all womens' trip on the Middle Salmon that had been put on by both Backcountry Babes and Canyons Rafting Company out of McCall Idaho. It was the first ever all womens trip, including women driving a boat called the "sweep boat", more about that later. My partner in crime, Shannon Christy, and I flew out of Denver sunday morning and landed happily in Boise, only to get on a four seater, gum package sized, airplane to get to McCall. We packed all of our stuff, kind of slept for a night, and then got back on the gum package sized airplane to fly to the put in of the Middle Salmon. 
Tessa Greer, rower extraordinare!
 We met the rest of our trip at the Boundary put-in. There would be 26 women on the trip with us, including all of the guides and safety kayakers. It was looking like it was going to be a great 6 day trip. The put in was bustling, between our trip putting on and all of the privates, there was little space to get on the water! It reminded me of the Gauley!
Craziness at the put-in
I immediately realized how beautiful this area was. The Middle Salmon area is the largest piece of land that is protected and untouched in the continental United States. Everyone got all packed up and we were briefed by the crew that would be taking us down the river for the next six days, five nights. We were finally off and I was happy as a clam in my bright pink Remix 59. Shannon and I were boofing every rock in sight and also marveling at what was surrounding us.
Sheepeater hot springs
 After paddling 14 miles we stopped at Fire Island, the first camp of our trip. We were all very happy to make the half mile treck up stream to the Sheep Eater Hot Springs even though it was already 85 degrees outside. After cooking in the hot springs for a while we came back to camp to find that there were crab cakes that had been made for us as appetizers! Yes, I said crab cakes, on the river. We also got a chance to play some bocce ball, until I lost my ball. We re-named the camp "Camp Blue Ball", there is still a blue bocce ball somewhere out there! Some clouds rolled in as the evening went on so Shannon and I decided to set up a tent. 
Morning yoga session to warm up
 The night was amazing, sleeping next to the river is so natural and we all slept like babies. In the morning we had eggs cooked to our liking and loads of fresh fruit. We had 20 miles of paddling in front of us and from what we heard there were going to be some big rapids. This trip was more about being with an amazing group of women than about running rapids, though that is fun too... I got to go "ducky" for the first time since I was 11 and I was stoked! 
Devon Barker-Hicks, so happy to have her with us!
 After lunch, Shannon and I heard the rapids slowed down pretty substantially so we opted to tie our kayaks to the raft and go "princess boating". We pretty much laid on the front of the raft, on a paco pad, and slept. It was the best way to go down a river ever. At one point, Shannon and I found ourselves clutching each other in the middle of the raft, literally kicking water away from us so we didn't get wet. This lead to hours of laughing and giggling between the three of us, Shannon, Tessa, and I. 
Just along for the ride
 Every corner that we turned was even more beautiful. 
The view from our post for most of the second day.
 We tried our hardest to stay away from the water and make sure we got a good tan on. I had to make sure my poor bald head didn't get burnt too!!
My best friend and I. Princess boating at it's best.
 We spent more time taking pictures of ourselves and laughing at each other than anything. It was a cool experience to turn over the reigns to someone else on the river and just be along for the ride, like a real tourist. We don't do that very often so it was an interesting perspective.
Tessa at one point told me to row. I'm no good. 
 Tessa gave me the chance to row the boat for a little bit, I was very terrible. It went against everything that I have ever known about kayaking, in fact, its the opposite. I was only behind the wheel for like 4 minutes  and I was happy to give Tessa back the power. 
Shannon and I stoked on surfing at Marble!
 After spending half of the day tanning and drinking beer we landed at the night two campsite, Marble left. I heard rumor there was a great surf wave here, the rumors were true! I was so excited to jump straight into my Biscuit and rally onto the water to get some surfing in!! It was the first real "wave" that I have surfed in years and it all came back to me very quickly. 
Camp is all the way at the bottom!
 After the evening surf session I decided to tackle the huge mountain that was behind us. I ran up it. It was hot, the sun was still very high in the sky, and I went for it. By the time I got to the top I was tired, broken, dirty, and very sweaty. The view from the top made up for all of the hard work that I had just put myself through. I felt like I could see for years up there! On the way down, I knew every step I took got me closer to a nice drink and some awesome food. 
Huge bull snake at camp
We also got the chance to share camp with this huge guy. Hes a big ole bull snake, harmless to humans, also known to eat rattle snakes, he was very welcome in our camp as Monica shows here! 

There are so many more pictures and more stories to come! Please keep checking back soon for more on this amazing trip!!!

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