Monday, June 8, 2009

Middle Fork of the Salmon | June 3-6, 2009

Our first Middle Fork trip of the season launched on June 3rd with the water running at 6'. Tom Tremain, who is in his 28th season of river guiding led the trip. Andy Wilkin, who just graduated from University of Idaho last month was our other guide. Guests, Russ and Michelle were stoked to be on the river at this big water level and were tons of fun to be around. Company owners, Bob Volpert and Mary Papale wanted to get in on the high water excitement and went along on the trip.

Bob, Andy, and Mary getting ready for a day on the water:

The Middle Fork was flowing at about 8 miles an hour so we had lots of time to relax in camp, eat great meals and go hiking. Our first night we spent at Dolly Lake and enjoyed a grilled chicken dinner with a spinach salad with pears and blue cheese in a balsamic dressing and Bob's famous rice cooked by Tom. The finishing touch was a dutch oven chocolate cake.

The following morning started off with a large pot of White Cloud's French Roast coffee then Tom's melt-in-your-mouth Artichoke Egg Strata dish affectionately called the "Colonel's D.O." Today was an exciting rapid day as we ran the butterfly-stirring Pistol Creek Rapid. The waves in Pistol were big and came at us from different directions and it was a "ride 'em cowboy run". We all made it through in fine form and then made a stop at Indian Creek to get our permit.

Tom at Indian Creek:

It was a fine surprise at Indian to be greeted by long time Middle Fork Ranger, Sheri Hughes. After a fun visit with Sheri and our camps picked for the next two nights of the trip we continued on our way to Shelf Camp. Shelf Camp is an awesome place to relax and to eat well. Andrew grilled inch and a half boneless pork chops with a lime chipotle marinade. On the side we had garlic mashed Idaho taters and another of Tom's D.O. creations, Zucchini Bake. We topped off dinner with a thin slice of the very rich Caramel Pecan cake. After this feast we decided to hike up to Loon Creek hot springs and take an hour soak. The walk to Loon was just what we needed after dinner and was complimented with Andy's riddles as we strolled along. After a warm hot spring bath we all slept well and late with the guides waking us up with steaming cups of coffee.

Camped at Last Chance just below Big Creek:

We zoomed along on our third day running the Tappan's including the new and exciting Cove Creek Rapid. Haystack was huge and tons of fun. We made a stop at Rattlesnake Cave to check out the pictographs and gather firewood for camp. Tom was so excited to be camping at Last Chance. It was his first time staying there and what a terrific camp. From there you can hike to Waterfall Creek which looked like Niagara Falls. We also walked the bridge near Big Creek and then hiked a ways up Big Creek.

Waterfall Creek was pumping!:

All of this exercise was rewarded by another amazing dinner. We started with smoked trout, then moved on to perfectly grilled steaks with sides of pancetta and spinach pasta and Caesar Salad. Throughout the meal we sipped fine wines, including a Fraser Cab that is made in very small batches by Bill Fraser out of Boise. Dinner was finished with slices of moist carrot cake.

Getting ready to load up on the boats:

Rafting on the Middle ends with a bang especially at this 6' water level. The following day all the way to the Cache Bar take-out we ran giant wave train after giant wave train. The troughs were deep and we hit them all straight and missed the giant boat-flipping holes that dot the Impassable Canyon. With hugs all around on the ramp we toasted the river and a fun four days of boating.

For more photos of this trip, visit our Facebook Page.

1 comment:

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