Monday, July 16, 2018

100+ Degree Trip

Boats stacked, truck ready!
The preparation for this trip was a bit more intense than other adventures we have had recently. Floating the Lower Salmon River with our friends is one thing, but it adds a bit more thought to the process when your friends have little experience with preparing and then rowing their own raft on a multi-day trip.

The river crew is ready!
For a couple of years our travel friends Holly, Ryan, Zane, and Anika have expressed that they wanted to do an extended river trip. Ryan wanted to learn to row a raft and read a river. The entire family wanted the river experience. Our main holdback was the age of the kids. Their water skills are strong and they love the outdoors. They were also a year older. With this factor overcome, everyone felt that a trip was possible.

My navigator; she kept me alert.
Boating equipment was rented from the North Idaho College rental program, our river cat was cleaned and made ready, we dug through the river camping gear and found a place for it on the boat and trailer. This all took a lot of work and about fifteen different lists. Linda and I had to talk through the entire process, locate the needed gear, check it to see if it still worked, and put it into the "go" pile.

Food lists were developed and all the needed items were purchased and then packed.

Our plan was developed and agreed upon; everything was a go.

On Thursday, we drove out and picked up the Edwards family. We placed the final items on the load and we all squeezed into the truck.

Birthday boy and Holly.
The drive down to the put-in at Slate Creek on the Lower Salmon was full of stories and excitement. When we hit the ramp, no one was there and we were able to get everything ready and organized without being rushed. It was the best!

The game plan was to hit the river and float a couple hours and find a beach for the night. Then we would get up and move on down below Hammer Creek and grab a beach where we would have a layover day. On the final day, we would float the rest of the canyon to Pine Bar where our truck and trailer would be waiting.

Ryan and Anika, ready to roll!
Everything went exactly as planned! This was a great relief to Linda and me.

Our first night we spent on a beach upriver from the Skookumchuck Campground just off Hwy 95. It was a good spot. The only drawback was that it was directly across from a good sized ranch. Not as private as we like but a good start.

We all slept well. Linda and I were on our cots and we both were a little cold in the early morning hours. We made adjustments each night and slept great the rest of the trip.

Slate Creek put-in.
This was the Edwards' intro to unloading and loading the boats for an overnight stay and all went well.

The group worked as a team and were on the water in fine shape. The river time would be relatively short. The plan was to float down to Hammer Creek, use the restrooms, resupply water, and then move on down the river about two miles to just above Lyon's Bar.

The river runners are ready!
We found a great beach just above Lyon's Bar and settled in for the hot, hot afternoon. Swimming and relaxing in the shade was the recipe for dealing with the 100 degrees plus afternoon.

Zane fished and Anika swam in the sand. Yes, Anika spent more time covered in the sand than she did anything else. She just loved the feel and it was hard to keep her from getting sand everywhere!

That evening we had a great meal of chicken burritos provided by Holly. The shade came in the late afternoon and we got a bit of a reprieve from the sun. We were sure glad we brought our shade tent and the two umbrellas.
Anika and Teddy Bear Tim!

The beach activities for the layover day included fishing, swimming, playing games, eating and trying anything to keep cool. It was reported that the temperature at Whitebird, ID was 96 degrees on Friday and stayed around that temperature the entire time we were on the river.

Ryan on the oars, "WHITEWATER!"
Zane turned eleven on Friday which meant that the entire day was spent in birthday mode. He raked in presents, got a huge birthday brownie, and was able to fish almost all day. We sang "Happy Birthday" and played Bolo Toss. We're sure it was one of his more memorable days.

The first night on Layover Beach, we noticed a couple huge fish working the sands along our beach front. The challenge of catching one of these guys became a large focus of Ryan and Zane.  One of the techniques tried was to tie a hook with a bunch of pepperoni and beef jerky and then sink it with a rock, letting it sit in the deep eddy just off our beach.  This project was engineered by Ryan and gave us many laughs in the process.

One of the four species of fish Zane caught.
Oddly enough the fish were not excited about pepperoni. When Ryan hooked on some cheese as bait (as suggested by Linda and Holly), he and Zane were able to pull in a large Pike Minnow.

Anika and one of her catches.
We ate dinner and low and behold the huge fish came back to scrub the sands clean of all the food we had disturbed during the day.

Zane grabbed his spinning rod and loaded his hook with a chunk of Cheddar Jack cheese. Watching the big fish working, he tossed his hook in the direct path of the behemoth. The fish moved slowly to the cheese and suddenly the cheese sucked out of sight into the mouth of our prey.  Ryan screamed, "Set the hook!" and Zane gave a mighty pull.

The hook set and the water erupted! Zane fought the fish as we all cheered with excitement.  Landing the beast was quite a job, but Zane did it. On the sand at the birthday boy's feet lay a 27 " Asian Carp. It was huge and relatively ugly. Zane posed with his catch and pictures were captured. Finally, the carp was released to go back and warn his friends of the mighty fisherman that is stalking their beach.

Fun on the layover day!
Linda and I made dinner the final night. We had four cheese tortellini with pesto sauce, a salad, and cold cut up fruit. Dessert was an assortment of cookies. We sat in the shade and ate our meal. The final day of our adventure was drawing to a close.

The next day we packed up and boated the final eight miles out to Pine Bar. There were several good rapids on this final stretch so Ryan got a bit of a taste of whitewater. The kids loved the waves.

Birthday boy. 
We stopped at a site where there were pictographs. The hike was easy but the pictographs were very weather worn. I think the number of visitors has been hard on the graphs too. People just don't respect these treasures as they should. Someday they will no longer be visible. That will be very sad.

We floated out and ran the final rapid at Pine Bar. As we approached the ramp, a lone raft pulled away, leaving us the ramp to load up the boats at a leisurely pace.

We pulled out and headed up the hill to Hwy 95. Heading north we buzzed past Lewiston and stopped in Moscow for dinner. During the final stretch home, Anika kept me awake with a constant chatter of songs, questions, and laughter.

Bolo Toss championship of the world!
We arrived at the Edwards' place at about 6:30 PM and unloaded all their gear. We returned the rented equipment to the college on Monday.

You can't express how much fun an adventure like this was. We laughed hard during the weekend and really enjoyed being together with everyone. The river provided again!

Linda and I will clean up the gear and prepare for our next adventure. Zane and Anike will enter into a huge adventure of their own. Monday evening they will pick up their new puppy Remy. We can't wait to meet her!

Guns a blazing.
Family fun on the sand.
Professional form.
Bait rescue team.
The rescue in progress, Ryan's deep diving goggles.
Zane's Pike Minnow.
Posing with the Pike Minnow.
OOPS again!
The 27" Asian Carp! "Set the Hook!"

Hiking up to the pictographs.

Heading back to the boats.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Sam Owen Park

Sometimes when we get together with the Andersons, it's the little phrases that get us laughing the most. This week it was Linda who uttered the six words that made us laugh til our sides hurt,  "Big buck, big buck, big buck!"

We were on a drive to find a couple of places up in the Clark Fork area. Mike wanted to visit the fish hatchery and Rayelle and Linda wanted to hike Scotchman Peak. We left our campsite in Sam Owen Park, drove into Clark Fork and immediately found a bakery. Of course, we ate lunch and tasted a couple, three, or four of their baked goods. Once we were stuffed we waddled out to the truck and drove out across the Clark Fork River in search of the fish hatchery. At Heron, Montana, we turned around. The hatchery was definitely in Idaho and most likely back near Clark Fork. We got back on the highway and found our way back to the "big" city. We never did find that pesky fish hatchery 
"Big buck, big buck, big buck!"

At this point, our attention turned to Scotchman Peak. Linda went back into the bakery and asked directions. One of the staff gave Linda some vague directions. We headed back out on the road. We took the first left and followed the Lightning Creek road out of town. It came to a split and Linda had a feeling we should go right down the Mosquito Creek road, so we went left. We drove a bit and again Linda mentioned that she felt we should have gone the other way, so we turned around at a wide spot where a deer was standing and backtracked. (The deer was a coincidence.)

Back on track, Linda told us that the lady said to follow Upper Mosquito Creek road, which we did. It led us to road 2294 which, at this point, we questioned the validity of the directions. We kept true to Linda's gut and after a few miles, we rambled across a dried streambed to the parking lot at Trail #65, the Scotchman Peak Trail.

By this time we were a bit too late to venture up the trail to the peak, so we looked around and headed back down the road. We swung around a corner of the road and Linda shouted, "Big buck, big buck, big buck!" Mike hit the breaks and we all started laughing. 

The buck was just off the road and was not a bit concerned about all the attention he was getting.

We drove on down to Clark Fork and back to Sam Owen. Our goals of visiting the fish hatchery and climbing Scotchman Peak Trail never came to fruition, but we had a great time exploring this wonderful area.

Pizza was on our minds when we arrived back at the campsite, so we loaded up and drove into East Hope to Icehouse Pizza. We ordered and while the girls enjoyed the wonderful view of the lake, Mike and I played pool. The pizza was great! 
Spending a total of six days up at the park, each day the weather threatened to get better, but it didn't.  Part of the fun of this trip was spotting the sun, running to the beach, and retreating when the sun hid and the rain fell.

Mike and Rayelle's friends, John, Jerianne, and Dylan came up to visit. Dylan brought his boat and took Mike, Julia and I fishing. We caught some good smallmouth bass but had to watch the weather on the lake.

Prehistoric bug from the sky!

Linda's collection of heart rocks.

s'more s'mores!

Skipping stones.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Grand Ronde River - Boyz Trip

Rainbows over the Palouse.
As soon as I got back from Mexico this year, Ryan Edwards invited me to join him and the River Boyz on a river trip on the Grand Ronde River in Oregon. The trip was put together by a couple of folks that Ryan knew and all I had to do was pay and show up with my boat and gear. You can't beat that, so I was all in.

We had everything together by Wednesday night and so to make things easier, I stayed out at Ryan's place that night. In the morning we were able to get up, eat, and get an early start. We met up with the group at 7:00 AM, at the group leader's house, Andy Groves. When we arrived we found out that some of the fellas were going to be a bit late, so we jumped in and helped load the final items onto the truck.

The second truck arrived about 45 minutes later. We loaded it with gear and supplies and we were off. The convoy rolled along the roads of the Palouse; green fields of spring grass glistening with moisture from the morning's rains. We spotted several rainbows as we cruised along. Our next stop was Colfax where we picked up two more of our boyz.

Cutting across southwestern Washington we headed for Minam State Recreation Area in Oregon, just a mile and a half from the put-in on the Wallowa River. We spent the night at the campground and in the morning we stowed our gear and launched.

Our launch went relatively smoothly though the launch ramp was a zoo. I think everyone in Oregon decided to hit the river this weekend. Four of our boats launched from the west bank of the river and the other launched from the Minam Store located on the east bank. With all the other river runners and our double shore launch, it took us a few miles to gather up and get organized.

The Wallowa River flows ten miles down to join the Grand Ronde River. We floated on down and looked for a campsite. With all the folks on the river, we had to keep moving into the late afternoon and finally found a large spot at about river mile 22. The long day was unexpected but it also gave us a lot of time to fish as we went. Fishing was a bit off. The water level had risen a bit and was a little off-color. This trend continued throughout the float. I did OK, but I wish we would have had better fishing.

We set up camp and had a wonderful meal. All meals on this trip were amazing and no one went hungry.

We floated the next two days and took off the river at a bridge just above Troy, Oregon. Fishing wasn't great, but being on a river is always the best.

Takeout was easy and everything went well. We loaded up and said our goodbyes. We caravaned for the first part of the drive home but after a couple stops, Ryan and I passed the others and beat feet on home.

Sunlight on Ryan's butt.

My tent on the second night.