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.

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