DAY FOUR of my Salmon River rafting trip
DAY FOUR RAFTING THE SALMON RIVER
The day started out with a breakfast consisting of French toast, bacon, fresh melon, yogurt and granola. After our usual routine of breakfast, then packing up camp, we were off once again. Today was the first fairly “mellow” day of the trip…only a couple big rapids, which allowed us to just relax and enjoy the slowly passing scenery. It was also a fairly short day with regards to river miles, due in part by the fact that we’d covered so many miles the day before. The river guides try and reserve campsites, but there are a limited number that can be reserved, the rest are first-come-first serve. Since the river was still flowing a bit high, many campsites were not fully revealed and couldn’t accommodate our large group—therefore we had to just continue downstream until we cam across an adequate site. It took awhile, but we finally found a really nice spot to park for the evening.
During the day I got an opportunity to get on the oars of the Dorrie boat. Laurie (another passenger) had given the oars a shot just prior to me…she lasted all of a minute or two. I was giving her so much crap, she enthusiastically let me have my turn…knowing that I would end up taking back every word I had just said. She was right, it didn’t take long for me to apologized for teasing her. I was blown away at how difficult oaring was/is. I have rowed a lot in the past, but smaller boats. Rowing is also known as pulling…what I found incredibly difficult was the “pushing part.” In other words…rowing is when the bow of the boat is going downstream, “pushing is when you are facing forward and the stern of the boat is going downstream. The muscles that it takes to “Push” are muscles I never knew I had…I’d never felt such an odd burn before. In addition, I almost felt that “Pushing” was a counter intuitive motion…guess it’s something that one just has to get used to.
I was in the Dorrie boat the day before as well, with Deb, the oarsman—we went down a very challenging rapid… while going down we were heading for a big boulder and hole (a spot on the other side of a the boulder…that you do not want to be). Deb oared like our lives depended on it…it was an amazing thing to witness. Given that experience from the day before, and then having an opportunity to oar myself…I now had huge appreciation and respect for what the guides do. They often make it look so leisurely, but it’s nothing of the sort. There were a couple days where the guides had to oar many extra miles because we could not find campsites…then, they’d have to set up camp (i.e. kitchen, tarps, toilet, etc.) and prepare dinner. While being a river guide must be a very cool job, they earn every penny in salary and tips. After a week on the river, I was exhausted and I hadn’t done half the work of the crew. Huge props to those guys!
Day four of our trip took us to a really cool sojourn, a place called“Buckskin Bill Museum,” which is also a bit of a trading post where you can pick up ice, soda or an ice cream cone. The museum is comprised of relics, tools, pictures and other archives of a man named Sylvan Hart, aka, “Buckskin Bill” as he was known. Sylvan lived off of deer and used their hides for clothing…he smelled so badly that the Forest Service named him, “Buckskin Bill.”
Known as the last of the mountain men, Buckskin Bill built a defense structure to protect himself and property from the prying hands of the U.S. Forest Service, this was at a time when the Forest Service was trying to obtain all the land along the Salmon River and designate it as “Wilderness.” Today, the views from the tower make for some great pictures.
For lunch we stopped at a beach just past a bridge, which gave us all an opportunity to do some exploring. I really enjoyed the vantage point the bridge provided for photos and video. Our mid-day meal included some hummus, pita bread, meats, cheeses and some cookies for dessert. I was not feeling well by the time lunch was served, my stomach seemed upset and so I didn’t eat much. We didn’t have a lot longer until camp since we’d rafted so many miles the day before. Once we landed, I quickly set up my tent and decided to just relax. It was tough to get comfortable since it was quite hot and our camp site provided little protection from the sun.
While I was laid up in my tent, most everyone else was playing volleyball…I was very envious! Candice, a gal I had befriended on the trip was kind enough to check on my from time-to-time to see if I needed anything. I didn’t feel like doing much other than laying still and waiting for the sun to fall, providing some much needed relief from the heat. I tried to drink lots of water to keep myself hydrated. I didn’t eat dinner this evening and just tried to recuperate. I found out the next morning that I was not the only person who did not feel well. I thought that something at breakfast did not agree with me, but was told by one of the guides that heat exhaustion often mimics food poisoning. It had been a really warm day and we had all been warned to drink plenty of water, even if we did not feel thirsty. I have to admit that I could have consumed more H2O during the morning hours, but felt like I drank enough to prevent heat–related issues. I’m from Arizona, I know heat! Whatever my ailments, I felt nearly 100% better the next morning, which was a huge relief.