Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Sadly, it was the last day of the trip. Ron suggested wearing rain gear and putting up the fishing gear. He said the rapids come quickly, so we took a seat in the front of Tanner’s boat. I tied the Pelican camera case to the seat where I could get to it easily and asked Tanner to tell me when to put it away. Tanner said it was his favorite day on the river. My favorite rapid was House of Rocks. Tanner made it look easy.
We entered the main Salmon River and two more rapids later were at the landing. We sorted our gear, took the sleeping bags and put them in huge laundry bags, then put our stuff on the bus. Of course they had a great lunch ready for us, including fresh-baked cookies and pastries. We waited for our guides to finish loading everything, then took some pictures of the group.
It’s a four-hour drive from here to Stanley, but it follows the main Salmon all the way, and the scenery is fantastic. We stopped at a store where Steve said, “Flush toilets and ice cream”. Everyone took advantage of the opportunities. I said my goodbyes at Challis, where Carla had my truck and trailer. Jess me and her family to her house first to unload their gear, then to Carla’s. I just threw everything in the truck, not wanting to hold Jess up. We said goodbye at about 3:00.
Carla geve me the truck key, then asked about my big toolbox in the back, pointing to the name on the side, Highway Products. She said she bought a boat from them, dealing with Steve Chrisler. “Oh my”, I said. “He took me fishing two days on the Rogue River in one of those boats. Let me see it.” First we stopped by the woodshed where she had proudly split all her wood for the winter. A nice, new tractor was parked in the shed, and she was mighty proud of that, telling me how much time it saved plowing snow. While Steve was teaching the kids of Challis wrestling, Carla taught them to swim.
We walked a little further to a metal building where a boat took up most of the space. A small one-person raft hung on the wall. We rolled the cover off a beautiful Pavati drift boat. I remember fishing with Steve, and coming away wanting one of these. Carla showed me all the features – the movable seats and storage, all the slots for different oar positions and its wide-base of stability. Then she went around front, lifting the front end. She said it only weighed 180 pounds! Even the trailer is well-made, and has excellent tires.
Then I got the house tour, showing me all the food storage in the basement. This lady is prepared! She sent me off with a big bag of popcorn. I told her if I get back, I’d love to go fishing with her.
I asked her how to get to Jackson, Wyoming. “Go out here, turn left on 93”. There were a bunch more instructions that turned out to be spot-on, but not wanting to forget at the end of a long day, I set the Garmin GPS for Jackson. It was 4;30 when I pulled out. She locked the gate behind me, waving goodbye.
I ended up staying at a KOA at the entrance to Craters of The Moon National Park. I hate being at the door of a national park and not going in, but I have used up all my play time. This is a nice KOA in a convenient location. A mom and pop operation, they take food orders and deliver to your site. Now how’s that? Fortunately, Carla’s huge bag of popcorn was enough.