Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Final Shout Out to our Great Guides

I really just wanted to say that the success of a river rafting trip like this one hinges on the very talented and hardworking guides.

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Mikey with his energy and personality…….Jonathon, a great ‘huggy bear’ with all his Bro’ talk…..

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Britt, with his leaps off any suitable rock into the water….and his uncanny imitation of an osprey….Shamus with his very Irish looks and deep voice…..  singing sea shanties.

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Connie, with her amazing knowledge of the local history…….

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And Eric, with his quiet professional manner….overseeing the whole operation…….

They rowed the rafts….navigated the rapids……

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Took care of all the equipment…..

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Set out lunches….with style…..

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Worked tirelessly in the ‘kitchen’ …….Fixing  amazing meals….and creating Dutch oven magic.

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They had to be good cooks as well as very organized!

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The guides took turns with Logan in the ‘video boat’…..


Seeing that Logan had just the right shot….where ever we were.

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Our guides had to be historians and geologists……

And they had to know when to encourage someone to take that leap off the rock…..

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Or when to let them know that it is OK to change your mind and not jump…..


During our off time, the guides pulled out games from their never ending ‘bag of tricks’, setting up horseshoes, or card games….or what ever was needed. I don’t think that they ever got ‘off time’, working sun-up to past sun- down.

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Always quick with a laugh or a smile… knew that they were having FUN! 

So….thanks guys…..We had a wonderful time!    : )

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hikes and Other Fun Along the Way

Aug 17th –22nd - There was always some interesting point to examine as we rafted down the river.  This area of the Snake was once an area that was ranched and farmed, though that doesn’t seem possible when you look at the landscape.  There were a number of homesteading cabins along the river though most have fallen down or burned.  this cabin belonged to the Barrow family and was lived in until the 1950’s when the land was acquired by the forest service.  Connie actually lived next to Mr. Barrow in Riggins until he passed away just a few years ago.


When an historic spot was not available to explore, there were a number of big boulders just perfect for leaping off into a deep pool of water. 


By the time we reached this spot almost everyone was ready for a dip to cool off.  You could jump off of the top (this is some of us climbing) or if nervous about that, just roll off of the raft.


That’s Fred taking his turn. Note- Sue is taking the picture from the raft! 


There were a number of trails that we were able to hike.  This trail went up to Suicide Point where legend has it that a distraught young man rode his horse off the ledge and fell 400 feet to his death after failing to win the hand of the rancher’s daughter.  I’m not sure the horse thought this was a good idea, but he went too.


The view of the river was spectacular from this spot.


Sue doesn’t like heights but made the climb without a problem.  : )


The Kirkwood ranch site was a beautifully maintained spot that is inhabited by a rotating caretaker.  There was a small museum and cabin as well as blacksmith shop and irrigation canals that were really interesting.


As in any old West story, there is a tragedy. 


We hiked up from the river to a memorial dedicated to 34 Chinese who were massacred at this spot.


The Chinese were mining a claim along the river and word got out that they had discovered gold.  Sadly, a group of 7 men from a local town down river decided they needed the gold more than the Chinese did and snuck up on them in the middle of the night and killed all of them.  None of this would have been known had not some of the bodies washed up down river.  The white men were never brought to justice and no gold was ever found.


The canyon was inhabited by native Americans long before the Chinese or whites arrived.  These pictographs and others like them are found throughout the canyon and some date back 7000 years.


Too much history?  How about another jump from a cliff?


Gold fever came and went in this area and if it wasn’t gold then silver was good too.


This mine was between the Snake and Imnaha rivers and is still in reasonably good condition.  No one got rich but a lot of money was spent to create this mine.


The Imnaha River looked especially beautiful in the morning light.


As we got further down river we reached the confluence of the Snake and Salmon Rivers.  The Salmon is on the right and adds a significant amount of water to the Snake.  The Salmon is also a great rafting river and several rafting groups entered the Snake as we were passing by.


This beautiful waterfall was the perfect place for lunch one day and we spent an hour on the beach and rocks just enjoying the cool of the water.  There were so many scenic spots that it was hard to capture all of them!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time Floating By - Our Days On the Snake River

August 17 – 22nd, 2013  -  Our days on the Snake River started about the same every day. Fred and I would usually rouse up about 6:30 am and go in search of a cup of coffee. The guides had gotten up about 6 am and the coffee was ready by 6:30. We would sip our coffee and then begin to pack up our personal gear and take down our tents.


We would carry all of our gear to the staging area for the rafts, and the guides would pack it all on the cargo raft. This cargo raft and one guide would leave ahead of the group and go downriver to select a campsite for the evening. The guide with the cargo boat was responsible for setting up camp and all of our tents. This after a long day of rowing a very heavy raft! The guides each took turns with the cargo raft and the other rafts.

About 7:30 or so, we would have breakfast. The guides always fixed a cooked breakfast, with eggs, or pancakes, or a breakfast burrito. This really IS  luxury camping!

About 9 am, we were usually loading up on the rafts and hitting the water.

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We had our choice between the paddle rafts or the oared raft…Fred and I did take a turn with the paddle raft……


Though we usually chose the oared rafts, as did Ellen and Carol and Norman. This gave us plenty of time to visit and enjoy the company. Plus, it was easier on my shoulder which has been having some trouble.


Here, Norman and Carol have Mikey giving them quite the luxury ride….shade umbrella and all…..  Pretty sweet!

The afternoon of the second day, after we were past the biggest rapids, the guides brought out the inflatable ‘duckies’.

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These little single or double kayaks became a favorite with the youngest crowd….though, Carol and Norman did give them a try. When you paddled these little boats… really FELT the river…..mostly washing over you as you navigated the class II rapids!   ;- )


In addition to the two oared boats and the two paddle boats, we had one more oared raft that was dedicated to Logan and his filming (the craft on the right). The ‘video boat’ might scout out a place on an overlooking bluff to film us going through the rapids, or Logan might just use his ‘Go Pro’ camera to film as he rode along.

The Snake River is a pool and drop river, with stretches of calm water broken up by a number of smaller (or sometimes bigger) rapids. By the second day, I had begun to relax on the water and looked forward to the excitement of the rapids.


During the calmer stretches of water…….


We got to just drift a bit and soak up the beauty of the canyon….


Or engage in a bit of a water war…or just watch from a safe distance.

We kept our eyes open for wildlife…..

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And spotted these Big Horn Sheep. They were not at all bothered by us drifting past in our raft. These were the largest Big Horn Sheep that we had ever seen….and the closest that we had ever gotten to them!

We saw a number of Golden Eagles and Ospreys along our way, but I did not even try to get a picture of them.

We would usually spend about 3 hours or so on the water in the morning. Sometimes we might stop for a hike, or a swim….but, I’ll tell you more about that on the next blog…..


About 12:30 or so, we would pull over to a chosen spot and stop for lunch.


Our guides would unload a table, and go to work setting up lunch. Each day, we would have a fruit and veggie plate, and some sort of dip or hummus. Then we might have a selection of deli meats and cheeses for sandwiches, or maybe chicken or steak tacos. Cold drinks and juices and water were always available.


After an  hour or so break, we would be back on the water for a couple more hours of fun, arriving at our campsite around 4 pm.

I was surprised at how comfortably we settled into this routine. The days passed……and it felt as if we could just keep on going……