Middle Fork of the Salmon River – Day 4

I walked up from camp to a plateau to get some nice views of camp. I expected to see elk or sheep, but all I saw was lots of poop. Later I asked Ron what it was, and he said elk. It is surprising how much poop I have seen, but rarely see an animal. Ron said they go up higher in the summer. Back in camp there were a lot of tracks and dried out poop, so I asked Tristan what they were. I was embarrassed to hear the answer – geese! It is so dry here that goose poop doesn’t look like it does in Virginia.

Just then, Tanner (the marine) pointed to the other bank. I quickly scanned the steep bank and mountain for bears, sheep or elk, but there was an eagle on a rock at the edge of the river. With no time to change any settings on the camera, I was lucky to get a reasonable shot as it flew upstream.

I love watching these guys cook. As our group gathered around the fire with their coffee, I watched Tristan cooking french toast on a Camp Chef stove, powered by a small propane tank. When they were done, Ty put them in a dutch oven with charcoal on top to keep them warm. Tanner cooked a lot of bacon in a huge cast iron skillet over the fire, while Tristan sliced a whole pineapple. These people are going to feed you well! I asked Tristan how they made coffee, because it is very good. They get their coffee at a coffee roaster in Challis. In a huge kettle, he puts the grounds in and gently with the back of a large spoon, prods the coffee to sink to the bottom. I can’t remember how long he waits, but it shouldn’t be long before it’s ready. Meanwhile, Ty had river water heating on another burner. He put a stick through the handle of a bottle of maple syrup, suspending it in the water to heat. This is really roughing it!

Trey and Joe got in the fishing boat, while Ron and I got in raft #3 with Ty on the oars. Mary and Bobby came with us, Mary in the front and Bobby in the back. Again, a couple of big hatches came off, so the catching was slow early. I kept looking back, taking pictures of Special and Smooth fishing. Any time there was a rapid, I put my camera into the Pelican case. Then the fishing turned on and that brown hopper worked well. I kept asking Bobby to fish, but he curled up and took a nap.

My pictures don’t show the rapids, because I put the camera back in the case, strapped to the boat. Next time I will take a GoPro or something to show the rapids. Writing this, I have been referring to a guide book by Duwain Whitis and Barbara Vinson. Their pictures of rapids look much more serious than what we went through, probably because water levels were maybe a foot higher.

We stopped for lunch at Camas Creek (I think). Kari and I walked up the creek until it crosses a bridge and climbs over a hill. It felt good to stretch the legs, and it’s a beautiful area. The crew was fixing lunch while the group found a perfect fallen tree to sit on in the shade. Lunch was chicken salad wraps, chips and sliced apple.

By mid-afternoon, we came to the Flying B Ranch. It’s a very nice place with two landing fields. People can fly in and stay at the ranch. Guides also fly in to start expeditions. Next week Steve and Jess are flying in, then riding horses for a week on Big Creek, which I really wanted to do. We walked up to the store, buying an ice cream, except Special and Smooth, who bought 12-packs of beer.

We made camp earl, having a relaxing cocktail hour before dinner. Then we were entertained by Joel and Tanner singing. Joel is a high-functioning Down’s Syndrome. He is an amazing young man, having been an excellent wrestler. He pulls his weight on these trips, doing his share of the work. As he walked past me, I asked him to give me the look, and he posed perfectly for a picture. He really got into the singing, especially the songs he knew well.

  3 comments for “Middle Fork of the Salmon River – Day 4

  1. Mark Zablotsky
    July 30, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Looks like you’re having a blast. Nice!!!


  2. Tara
    July 30, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Please tell me you have plans to visit the Hiawatha Bike trail! I think you will love it. https://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

    • July 30, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      Too late! I do remember your telling us about it when Martha and i went to Idaho several years ago. It was not on my mind on this trip – totally forgot about it. So much to do in Idaho!

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