The adventure started early on in the week when we visited Ben and Sherma Higgs for dinner at their house to plan an upcoming river trip down the Lower Salmon. We worked out our trip plans and the conversation turned to the fact that we both were just returning from camping weekends and that we all wanted to get back out as soon as possible. It was at that moment that ideas were planted and the details started to sprout. We would take our two campers and go up camping and fishing somewhere on the Coeur d’Alene River. As the strategy developed, Ben said he would take his boat and we could drift fish the waters of the river. Then we talked about the time when everyone could leave to find a camp. I was the only one who is not a teacher, so I was also the only one who had to work. It was decided that Linda would adventure out of her comfort zone and drive the truck, with camper, up to find a camp. She would be following Ben and Sherma in their truck and camper so it should be an easy solo adventure.
Wednesday came and the camper train left town at about 1:30 PM. From the stories I gathered around our first campfire after I joined the party, everything went just fine on the trip up and the Teddy Creek camp was a great find. After a rough day at the office on Thursday, I loaded some final items into the Jeep and drove up the river watching for paper plates with D-NO written on them. These plates would guide me to the location of camp.
At the area where the road splits at Shoshone Creek I slowed down and looked to see if there was a plate there. If they were camped up at our camp spot on Shoshone, there would be my first marker plate and I would turn right at this point. Seeing no plates I drove on and spotted my first marker at the bridge just before Teddy Creek campground and I knew I was home for the weekend.
I arrived to a flurry of barking dogs and a toasting of drinks; Happy Hour was well in progress. We talked about how hard my day had been and I praised Linda on getting the camper up and into our spot, then Ben and I went fishing. We fished until almost dark and came home to Linda and Sherma eating dinner. They couldn’t wait any longer. I admit that we sort of got carried away, but we were fishing!
We sat around the fire and I actually made it past 9:30 PM before I went to bed. Linda followed a bit later. We slept like two bugs in a rug.
Friday morning Linda got up and ran and Kobi and I met her as she ran back toward the camp. Kobi ran beside me on the bike and we helped Linda finish her morning run. We returned to camp and I fixed breakfast. After that everything turned to getting ready to float the river and catch some fish.
Once we gathered everything we owned fish gear wise and put it into the boat, we drove up to Big Hank and launched. Sherma drove the truck and trailer back to camp while Linda road shotgun. Our quest was to catch as many cutthroat trout as humanly possible. Ben’s boat was set up nicely and rowed very well through some very thin water.
We had been on the water about ten minutes when Ben spotted a cow moose looking at us from the right bank. She was knee deep in back water and very unconcerned about our presents. As I glanced at the moose, out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement down river. We turned, looked and focused in on something swimming across the current about 300 yards down river. As we floated closer and as the animal came to the left bank, we could tell that it was a black bear. In less than fifteen minutes of river time we had spotted two critters that everyone looks for when they are out in this drainage, but most rarely see.
We drifted down river catching fish and talking. The fish were not big fish, but there were plenty of smaller ones that kept the adventure interesting. At about 6:00 PM we arrived at camp and tied up the boat. Linda and Sherma were in their chairs when we arrived. The dogs greeted us with a chorus of barks, we were happy to be home.
The evening fire burned hot, dinner was warm and filling. Linda and I had hotdogs and potato salad. Ben and Sherma had Chicken Caesar Salad. We all topped the meal off with cookies from Costco. I was able to stay up a bit longer; I think I made it to about 9:30 PM. I am quite a night owl you know.
We slept well and in the morning Linda got up and ran while Kobi and I goofed around camp. Ben and I gathered our gear and made ready for “Fishing the Coeur d’Alene, Part 2”. We ate breakfast and by 10:00 AM the four of us were ready to do our part in the fishing adventure. Ben and I set out in the boat, while Linda and Sherma took the truck down to Shoshone Creek where they left it for our shuttle. They took their bikes and road back the 8.5 miles to Teddy Creek.
Ben and I once again caught a lot of fish, most small, but we did hit a few real nice ones. The river was busy and every camp was filled to over flowing. Something about the four wheelers, loud music, in the woods, with guns and beer mentality that is very different from when we were younger. We basically did all the same stuff, but without the four wheelers and guns. I think we were a little more courteous to others and the environment. I know we drank a lot of beer back then, but I hope we never offended any one.
At our take out we met three folks that were just putting on the river to fish the evening hatch. They moved their gear and let us take our boat out. We talked fishing, bugs of the day and dropped a few names. Most of it was your basic fly fishing man stuff, kind of like dogs peeing on a spot trying to claim ownership. We arrived back at our camp at about 5:30 PM, our float took us about seven hours. That was about as long as I need to be out on the river in a day.
Sherma and Ben provided a great dinner of elk burgers, Salad and Rice a roni. We sat around the fire and talked fishing. How many times can you reenact the catching of a big fish? We were able to keep the lies coming until about 10:00 PM.
Sunday morning we all were pretty slow in getting up. Both camper crews had decided to pack up and beat the big rush down river, which would take place on Monday the 4th of July. We cleaned camp and got everything loaded into our vehicles. The drive home was uneventful, Kobi slept, I drove the truck and Linda led the way in the Jeep.