Friday, October 31, 2014

Back Country River Rafting in IDAHOOOOO Part II

Friday 15 August 2014

It was another rainy day. Cash got to ride in the boat with Joel and I. He is so cute and fun :) 

It started to rain REALLY hard with thunder and lightning. Hail came down and it was FREEZING!! Cash sat in my lap and I was soooo happy for the added warmth and protection from the pelting rain!! Hehe. He didn't seem to mind :)

We continued for a few hours in the pouring rain. It did let up here and there. We passed through some burning trees, which are part of the forest fire we were warned about at the start of our trip. Mostly, we just saw smouldering stumps. 

The guys in the duckies were soaked the WHOLE time. I'd have had hypothermia

Joel explained that these fires are usually started naturally by lightning strikes. For years, these fires would be put out...and that, combined with environmental efforts to stop logging has created a BIG problem. Even when the logging was being done in a sustainable was protested. The lack of logging and the lack of natural fires to clean up all the extra and dead wood has caused a massive over population of trees. People have since gotten smart to these fire issues...but the problems remain. When the fires burn...they burn hotter and for longer with all this extra ammunition. It's a real problem and just another example of humans hurting when they are trying to help :-/

It was kind of a tough day, so it was decided by the captains to stay at the camp where we stopped for lunch. The sky was clearing and we all just needed a break from the damp river. 

The air started to warm up and the boys went swimming. We had a lovely and relaxing afternoon lounging around and reading. The guys played Homerun Derby. It was really nice.

Around 6pm, another group came around the bend in the river- sort of looking funny at us. They pulled into the camp site just above ours. Willow started worrying that we were in their campsite. Jay had assured us that this was not a reserved site earlier in the day, but he seemed less confident now. 

Sure enough...this other group came down to talk to us because we WERE in their reserved campsite. We were completely unpacked and it was nearing dark. We just couldn't go on down the river...and it's not possible to go UP river, so it could have been REALLY bad.

They kindly agreed to stay at the upper (and less nice :-/) site. We all felt pretty bad about it.

We ended the evening around the campfire again.

Saturday 16 August 2014

The sun is out today!! Horray!! And as Willow promised, it's HOT!! 

It's lovely lying on the boat in the sun.

For lunch today, we stopped at a narrow beach and climbed up a steep hill to a vast meadow. This meadow is the old site of Jim Moore's place. 

This little town created by Jim Moore was a sort of mini-Vegas stop over for people looking for gold. Gambling, women, saloons, and rooms to rent used to exist here. Quite a few of the buildings are still standing and there's a lot of old stuff around. 

Jim Moore really made a home for himself here. The apple trees still produce apples and we tried some. Still yummy!!

We explored the meadow a bit and then finished our lunch down by the boats before continuing down the river. 

It really is SO hot today. The change is incredible!! We made another stop at a little store in the middle of NOWHERE. Haha. We filled up our water jugs and most everyone got ice cream. (Not me!! I'm just not an ice cream girl). 

This store is the old homesite of Buckskin Bill. Buckskin Bill was a college-educated man that decided to check out of society and live off the land. He spent more than 50 years on the Salmon River and became a popular resident...always friendly and welcoming to the passing river groups. Buckskin Bill (real name: Sylvan Hart) was a true Mountain Man. His story is really worth a read. If you are interested...this is a cool article with which to start :)

A couple now lives on the site and looks after the store and land. The boys enjoyed looking at their chickens.

Further down the river, we came upon the next campsite. It was somewhat disappointing...small and eh. I didn't get a look at it, but the captains made the executive decision to try to get across the river to the better campsite. This was no easy feat. The guys in the duckies helped push and pull the big boats a bit upshore and then each captain had to HARD row across the swift current in the river. It really was a Herculean effort, but each of them did remarkably well.

The new campsite is much nicer. There is a steep, but short hill of rocks that leads up to a large and flat area beneath the pines. 

We made our camp and set about relaxing a bit :) We had another yummy dinner and sat around the fire. Cash and Jesse both fell asleep in their chairs. 

Willow and Joel were busy (always taking care of themselves last) setting up their tent, etc. Cash started to cry a bit in his sleep, so I scooped him up and Preston scooped up Jesse and we carried them through the dark towards their tent. 

When we got over there, it was REALLY dark...Joel and Willow weren't there!! They were down by the boats.

We weren't really sure where to put Cash and Jesse, so I put Cash down and he stood in front of me with his eyes still closed. I turned from him to unzip the tent and I felt a warm liquid in my lap. I quickly turned my head and realized he had pulled his pants down and was PEEING ON ME!! I exclaimed to Preston, "HE'S PEEING ON ME!!" hehe!! and Preston said, "Turn him around!!", so I swung him around-he continued peeing in a wide arc-to face the other way. Haha!! Oh my gosh!! He peed all over my legs!! 

It was just SO unexpected. I'm not used to little kids. Lol!! I got him into his pajamas just as Joel and Willow came up. They were sorry to hear that he had peed on me, but delighted that he remembered to pee before bed!! HAHA!!

I wandered off into the dark to wash my legs off in the river and slipped on a rock and REALLY hurt my toe!! 

It's SUPER much so that I can't put a FLIP FLOP on my foot and black and blue. I have no idea if it's broken or what but it HURTS!! 

Ouch-but pretty funny story :)

Sunday 17 August 2014
Gerhard, who happens to be a Registered Flight Nurse, kindly wrapped my aching toe this morning and we set off down the river.


It's another sunny, beautiful day. We took it easy for most of today (not that I've been helping row or anything ANY day ;)) and just sort of floated down river. Preston got to row my boat for a while, which was cool since I've not gotten to spend much time with him on the water. :)


We got to our campsite early and it's AWESOME. There's a stream that runs right alongside it with crystal clear and FREEZING water. We got unpacked, had a quick lunch, and spent most of the afternoon lounging in the stream. It felt AMAZING on my toe. 

Funnily enough, the group that we had stolen the campground from was on the other side of the stream. We were relieved to know they weren't holding a grudge. :D

Ann, Ginny, and I prepared the dinner tonight. It's really the only place I can help since I can hardly walk :P I really enjoy Ann and Ginny's company SO much. They are such fun, insightful women. 

Camp Kitchen

We were supposed to have smores for dessert, but to my GREAT one could locate the graham crackers. NOOOOO!! Such a sad day. We enjoyed the campfire, nonetheless, and Preston roasted me some awesome marshmallows. 

This is our last night on the river. It's sad!! I've been having such a wonderful time and really enjoying getting to know all these new people :) 

Monday 18 August 2014
After one big rapid this morning, we took another easy day today floating to the take-out spot. Preston was in the same boat as me again :D

It's crazy how much work this whole trip has been!! I wouldn't describe it as a 'vacation' per say, but it's been an amazing adventure and experience. I'm so grateful that Joel and Willow invited us along. 

One of the things I was most worried about on the trip was the bathroom situation. Lol. I have issues with this even in swanky hotel rooms :P You HAVE to carry out EVERYTHING with you.  The situation was this: we had to go #2  IN A BUCKET!! Ok, so it didn't turn out that bad. It was more like a portable toilet and really wasn't THAT bad. It was usually put somewhere scenic and private. Nevertheless, I'm preetttty proud of myself for successfully twoing in the woods ;)

It took a few hours at the take-out spot to unload everything and get it packed up. 

Ann entertaining the boys 

Preston and I drove the EIGHT hours back to Salmon with Ginny and Ann. It was SUCH a pleasant and enjoyable ride. Preston drove the whole time. The scenery was incredible and we listened to a great book on tape about America's History. We passed alongside a pretty epic fire. Luckily, it was on the other side of the river.

We were the first to return to Joel and Willows. Somehow...we decided NOT to take showers and just ride it out another day being completely dirty :D 

We waited up for everyone to return and then retired to our tent for the night.

Tuesday and Wednesday 19/20 August 2014
We spent the last two days hanging around Joel and Willows...luxuriously showering and doing laundry ;) 

Preston and I spent an engaging afternoon at Ginny's. Ann and Ginny gave us the personality test. We had a delicious lunch and listened to an awesome thunderstorm.

We got to explore the town of Salmon.

We said goodbye to Kevin and Seth-who drove back to Flagstaff.

My toe is getting better :P

I had a great time cooking dinner for everyone (Willow had to work) with the boys. I'm SO impressed with these boys. They are SUCH well-mannered (hehe-despite the peeing. awww) and well-behaved boys. I'm incredibly impressed with Joel and Willow's parenting. They are doing a phenomenal job. 

Cash and Jesse helped pick fresh veggies from their garden and helped me make a salad. I couldn't get over the way they gobbled up the veggies like candy!! I could hardly tell them they were 'ruining their dinner'. haha. My extreme praises to Willow and Joel-you guys are AMAZING parents and are raising some really spectacular human beings. I only hope I can do such a great job some day :)

Jesse teaching me about chickens

Thursday 21 August 2014
We leave Idaho today. We were up super early and said goodbye to Joel and the boys (Willow was still at work!!). 

Gerhard, Colleen, Liam, Colin, Preston, and I rode together back to Missoula. We walked (limped) around the town a bit before catching our separate flights.

What a great trip this has been!!