Posts Tagged ‘Middle Fork of the Salmon River’

I left for a five-day white water raft trip down the storied Middle Fork of the Salmon River as a wannabe travel writer.


And now I have returned, as a wannabe travel writer with a bunch of damp, dirty river rafting clothing, sore muscles, and short a full bottle of gin.


I am sitting here in the dawn of the next day, in our motel in Salmon, Idaho, along the same river that we took out from yesterday at lunchtime.


Our room has a color television, a refrigerator and microwave, a really nice soft bed, and a toilet that does not necessitate carrying a rafting paddle to use.


No more hard ground to sleep on; no more putting on cold and still wet rafting clothes in the chilly morning air, no more getting sprayed in the face—and other sensitive body areas—with freezing river water as we careen through foaming Class IV rapids; and no more concerns about rattlesnakes, bears, and poison ivy around every corner of the camp.


I miss being on the river.


     canyon rapids


I have many pictures to process, stories to prepare, and lies to tell, but this morning I wanted to thank the IRJ crew and the 13 guests who traveled from San Francisco and New York, from Montana and Alabama, all who put up with my stupid jokes, mindless banter, and late-night snoring.


Thanks to Skip, our trip leader, who at a third of my age, showed tremendous maturity as he bore the responsibility of keeping my sorry ass alive.


To his younger brother, Matt…I mean older brother…sorry Matt, Skip made me ask you if you were the younger brother after I had asked him the same question; thanks for making me feel I didn’t suck as much as I know I do at fly fishing.


To Nate, whose therapeutic massage technique hurt so good. Nate darted around the river in his bright little colored toy-looking kayak with tremendous agility and was quick to your side if you ended up in the river instead of in your water craft.


To Rachael, our someday-to-be flight nurse, who can get through anything and I would trust her to navigate any rapid on any river that I would care to float down.


To Marshal, our tall, tanned, semi-redneck, fulltime merrymaker, who kept us entertained on the river, as well as in camp.


And finally, to Mary, the heart and soul of Idaho River Journeys, whose broad and beaming smile has the brightness of a lighthouse beacon and the warmth of a cozy down comforter.


The impetus for the title of this blog post will become more clear in the upcoming days as I regale you with my not-really-all-that-harrowing river lies stories.


Here’s to paddles up after that run through a perilous rapid,

but to never a missing paddle during a urgent post-coffee run to the grover.


     paddles up

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