River Guide Glimpse | Salmon Raft

River Guide Glimpse: Brooke Lofthouse

It’s time for another glimpse into the river guide life! This week’s episode is brought to you by Brooke Lofthouse, a second-year Salmon Raft guide. Brooke was a fantastic addition to the Salmon Raft team in 2016, and we are excited to have her return for Summer 2017.

Brooke’s Beginnings

Brooke comes from a big family in a small town called Rexburg, in southeastern Idaho. She comes from a family who loves the outdoors. They spent their summers and holiday weekends at a family cabin near Yellowstone or camping near the Tetons. Brooke was brought up with lots of skills that make her a well-rounded addition to the Salmon Raft crew. This year, Salmon Raft is girl-powered, with half of the team being a fearless female! We love that our ladies pay close attention to detail and take special care of our river guests. Brooke is the question-asker-master, too, making sure that she focuses on doing things right the first time.

A Utah State University Aggie, Brooke worked hard and played hard in school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation, and her GPA tells me that she was very studious 🙂 She was the founder and president of the Aggie Ski and Snowboard Club, and spends her free time watercolor painting and sketching. Before college, she worked at Solitude Mountain Resort as a lift operator. This makes sense, considering Brooke has been skiing for 21 seasons…

Why I’m a River Guide

Brooke spent her childhood in the outdoors, and began her commercial river guide career in 2013. Her training took place in the eastern part of the country on rivers such as the Pigeon, Ocoee, Nolichucky, New, and Gauley Rivers.

After learning on some big eastern water, she took her skills back to the west, and guided on the Snake River through Jackson, Wyoming. It was on these trips that Brooke honed in her nature interpretive skills, being able to identify an absurd variety of flora, fauna, and geologic features. Brooke is curious by nature, so it’s easy for her to pick up new river lore and pass it along to fellow guides and guests. She also spent time rafting on the Colorado River through Canyonlands National Park and Cataract Canyon, not too far from where she grew up.

Most recently, Brooke has been exploring rivers in the Upper Colorado River Basin: Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, Green River through the Gates of Lodore, and the Yampa River through Dinosaur National  Monument.

I have been splashing in streams and rivers since I was little. The outdoors has been a huge part of my entire life, yet river guiding is the most fulfilling endeavor to date. Sharing nature and providing enriching outdoor experiences is something I live for. I quickly fell in love with the river, the people, and the lifestyle, and have been coming back to guiding each summer since.

Summer 2017

This year, we are excited that Brooke will be completing an internship with Salmon Raft on top of spending the majority of her days on the river. Some of the projects that she’ll be working on include creating an activity book for kids to pass the time on the bus ride to the river, organizing a “Junior River Guide” program for kids, and help to create a guest survey so that we can continue to grow as a company that is proud of our product.

We should all follow Brooke’s motto:

Life doesn’t have to be boring, so don’t be boring!

Thanks, Brooke, for coming back for another great season! We look forward to sharing lots of river days, belly laughs, and campfire games with you.

-Lauren

River Guide Glimpse | Salmon River Rafting

A Glimpse into the Guide Life

As a Salmon River Rafting company, a seasonally operational business, guide return rates are hugely important. As you may have heard, Salmon Raft is proud to announce that we have a 100% guide return rate for summer 2017! Years with this return put us ahead of the curve when we start our season. This consistency makes our company and crew stronger, which is reflected in the trip quality and attention to detail.

We’re highlighting each member of our crew over the coming weeks – first up, a veteran guide that many will recognize.

Cian Sullivan: “Seein’ is Believin'”

First and foremost, let’s go over the pronunciation of Cian’s name. The easiest way to get it is to remember that “seein’ is believin’.” This is a favorite phrase that we use when referring to the many feats that he accomplishes each year.

Cian returns to Salmon Raft for a third season this year, which is his 6th year commercially guiding. Furthermore, when you add in the years of his childhood and schooling prior to commercial boating, when Cian rafted privately with his family, and he’s been a river rat for well over half of his life.

Cian graduated from the University of Idaho over in Moscow, which is right on the Washington/Idaho border. Not surprising, he has a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation. He’s pretty good at recreating… Actually, very good at it. Cian takes recreating very seriously, especially when it involves spending time on the Salmon River and sharing his passion and knowledge for this place with others.

He also possesses advanced certifications, such as Swiftwater Rescue Technician and Leave No Trace Trainer. This extra level of experience and being a well-rounded individual is a huge asset to Salmon Raft. In Cian’s free time, he chooses to be outside exploring. You can find him climbing, rafting and kayaking other rivers, skiing in the winters, and surfing back in his California stomping grounds.

More than just a Guide | Salmon River Rafting

River guiding is a LOT of work – more than some may think. Not only is the physical nature of the job quite demanding, but what goes on behind the scenes often goes unnoticed. The blisters from rowing, lifting heavy coolers and boxes, the constant wear on their feet and hands from going from wet to dry… This is all on the surface. There’s also the personal side of guiding, connecting with guests, sharing knowledge, helping a child learn to fish or ride the bull. That’s where Cian stands out because that’s what he loves most about being a Salmon River rafting guide.

I come back to the river each year because it gives me the opportunity to pursue the people, places, and activities that set my soul on fire. I can’t imagine a better intersection of my personal passions and professional skills than boating.

Looking Ahead

Salmon River rafting in summer 2017 will be one for the books. We had an incredible snow year with lots of deep powder days. This calls for big water in the spring, and healthy flows all season long. Salmon Raft is lucky to have a super-capable crew, led by veteran guides like Cian.

If you are lucky enough to have Cian as part of your river trip this summer, you’ll be impressed by his knowledge of the region and the rivers; not to mention his efficiency in setting up the perfect camp for you to enjoy, preparing delicious menu items, and helping your kids reel in a few fish!

Thanks, Cian, for your dedication to Salmon Raft. We can’t wait to spend another summer with you!

Our Team | Salmon Raft

Our Team at Salmon Raft

Salmon River rafting this Summer 2017 is going to be one for the books! Our team at Salmon Raft is comprised of 100% return guides (plus a few new, key additions). This return rate is unique to most seasonal companies, and makes Salmon Raft stronger than ever. Something else that we are proud to announce is that our crew is 50-50 guys and gals. In an industry that is predominantly male, we consider this ratio to be a huge asset to our operation. I mean, who doesn’t benefit from some girl power?!

100% Return = Consistency

Having a staff that comes back year after year means that everyone is on the same page. We all know the high expectation of the company, understand the brand, and know how to execute great river trips. Although we have a few exciting changes coming this summer, our team knows the drill. If you’ve been on a river trip, especially a multi-day rafting trip, you know how much goes into a smooth execution: pre-trip planning, hours of packing, communication with our guests, food shopping, food preparation, and not to mention what happens on the river! Setting up tents, rolling out sleeping pads, setting up chairs, laying out the kitchen, bathroom, preparing meals… Wow – the list goes on forever, it seems!

But, our team at Salmon Raft is coming in way ahead of the game.

our team at salmon raft, rafting guides, salmon river, river guide jobs, mccall idaho

Part of the 2016 team at the Salmon Raft shop

We are a Family

We love being a small business that’s locally owned and operated. Not only is our size conducive to paying attention to details and honing in on what makes a successful river trip, but our crew becomes our family. Operating seven days per week means that we spend a LOT of time together, both on and off the water. But when our team becomes this tightly-knit, and when your employees and fellow guides become your friends, that is when we run like a well-oiled machine. The respect we have for one another is reflected in how we perform to serve our guests. This matters in both serious, and everyday situations on the job.

Weekly Guide Spotlights

Each week, Salmon Raft is going to highlight one guide from our crew. If you’ve been with us before, you’ll recognize most of them! We’re excited to share our new additions with you, too. If there is anything you’d like to know about any of our awesome team members, please leave a comment on our blog, Facebook, or Instagram. We love hearing from you!

We’ll see you all shortly – summer will be here before we know it!

-Lauren

Salmon River, ID Maps | Salmon Raft

Salmon River, Idaho Maps

Maps of the Salmon River, Idaho are now featured on our website! Salmon Raft is permitted on two sections of the River of No Return, and the new maps highlight both sections to easily show where each of our trips operate. Click HERE to see all of the new maps, and continue reading to learn more about the different sections of the Salmon River on which we operate.

Salmon River, Idaho Maps | State of Idaho

Single Day Rafting Trips | Salmon River, Idaho Maps

Salmon Raft guests who join us for our shortest trips will float through the town of Riggins, Idaho. Riggins was an old logging, mining, and ranching hub, and was named after the area’s first mailman, John Riggins. It’s a small town with a population of less than 500 people. With just a few restaurant establishments and even fewer lodging options, Riggins is a town that is fueled by hunters, rafters, and fishermen that visit for short periods or pass through. Salmon Raft enjoys being based in McCall, where tourism and activity have driven the town to offer a wider variety of things to do.

The All Day Adventure floats through a 20-mile stretch of the Salmon River. The first 10 miles feature steeper canyon walls, thicker forests, and beautiful displays of granite. After lunch, our guests enjoy the second 10 miles of river, which opens up into valleys that showcase the region’s dry and hot climate.

maps of the Salmon River, Idaho

Salmon River Map | Riggins, Idaho Single Day Rafting Trips

Two and Three-Day Rafting Trips | Salmon River, Idaho Maps

The next step up from Salmon Raft’s All Day Adventure, is to try a two or three-day trip. Spending one or two nights on the river is a fitting introduction to multi-day whitewater rafting. The put-in for these trips is about 20 miles up river (east) of where the single day trips start, and they share the same take-out location as the single day trips. This makes the two and three-day trips twice as long as the single day excursions.

The difference between the two and three-day journey is the pacing of the river. Because the Salmon River is undammed, the flows are at the whim of Mother Nature. Early season, when the water level is a little higher, we can float the 40 miles in just two days, which is why we offer the two-day trips primarily in June and July.

Later in the season, August and September, our guests enjoy the three-day trip option. When the river flows more slowly, we take three days to cover the same 40-mile distance.

Maps of the Salmon River, Idaho

Salmon River Map | Riggins, Idaho 2 & 3 Day Rafting Trips

Four and Five-Day Rafting Trips | Salmon River, Idaho Maps

Salmon Raft’s four and five-day river trips are our most premier trips. Four-day trips cover 63 miles, and five-day trips cover 75 miles of pristine, roadless wilderness. In contrast with the one, two, and three-day trips, Salmon Raft’s four and five-day trips are much more remote. This section of the Salmon River is called the Lower Salmon River Canyons, appropriately named because you’ll enjoy four distinct canyons during the trip, each with different features, terrain, and impressiveness.

Due to the remoteness, the chances of seeing wildlife are greater, and the feeling of truly disconnecting from reality is idyllic. Perhaps the most memorable experience for many of our guests is floating through the confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers; the point at which America’s two deepest river gorges converge. The last dozen miles of the trip is on the Snake River, through the lower part of Hell’s Canyon.

Maps of the Salmon River, Idaho

Maps of the Salmon River | Lower Salmon River Canyons, 4 & 5 Day Rafting Trips

Learn More… And Join Us!

We would love to share this amazing place with you. Our two permits on the Salmon River allow our company to diversify our trip offerings so that there is something for everyone. Many guests choose to start with a short introduction on a one or two-day trip, and then move into the longer four and five-day excursions. A little piece of advice from us, though, if we may… The feeling you get after being on the river for four or five days is unforgettable and addictive. We invite you to truly disconnect to reconnect; empty your mind and fill your soul to calibrate yourself with river time!

-Lauren

 

River Rafting Guide Jobs | Salmon Raft

Summer Jobs at Salmon Raft

It’s hard to believe, but we are quickly approaching summer! Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on the second day of February this year, sources say that he was wrong… Summer employment at Salmon Raft is on our radar. We are building our team of river rafting guides and job openings are available.

The Salmon River is COLD right now, with many eddies frozen, especially in the shallows. However, despite the freezing temps this winter, it happens to be March, which is practically spring… So summer is close, my friends! This season’s first trips are in May, with the bulk of the calendar filling up in June through September.

Why River Guide?

We are currently hiring for summer river rafting guide positions. These include full-time river guides, full-time shuttle drivers, and a part-time shop guy or gal. More information about summer employment can be found on our website HERE. We believe that there is no better place than the river to spend your summer. Not only will you meet a ton of awesome guests, but your fellow employees become your lifelong friends and river family.

river rafting guide jobs

Salmon Raft guides scouting Snowhole Rapid on the Lower Salmon River

We are proud to tell our guests that our guides are men and women who their kids will look up to, and they will call friends by the end of the trip. Our guides have extensive experience and knowledge, and are well-rounded with diverse backgrounds. They are certified in first aid and CPR, and many of our guides carry certification in higher-level training such as EMT, Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness EMT, and Swift Water Rescue Technician. Our guests’ safety and satisfaction is at the forefront of each trip. Salmon Raft guides are professional and courteous, and hold a deep knowledge and love for the environment in which they work.

We love what we do, and we look forward to keeping our crew fun, hard-working, and functioning like a well-oiled machine. Join us!

-Lauren

Fly Fishing on the Salmon River | Smallmouth Bass

Fly Fishing on the Salmon River

Idaho’s Salmon River system presents many exciting angling opportunities. Not to be overlooked is fly fishing on the Salmon River for smallmouth bass. These hearty and extremely hard fighting fish can often surprise you. Once hooked, they’ll run and the action will get your heart pumping quickly. They are well known for being one of the hardest fighting fish for their size. The Salmon River is a highly underrated smallmouth fishery. Fish average in the 10-15 inch range and fish reaching 5+ lbs. are not uncommon.

Fly fishing on the Salmon River

River guest and his catch of the day

The Lower Salmon River presents ample opportunity to target these fish. Although smallmouth bass are usually targeted with conventional spin gear, it is becoming more and more popular to use a fly rod.  At Salmon Raft we offer both types of fishing styles to our guests, and our guides are eager to help you hook into these fish. Most common fly rods used to target smallmouth are 5, 6, and 7-weight rods. Personally, I prefer a 5-weight when fishing topwater flies, and a 7-weight when fishing heavily weighted flies or when casting a sink tip for distance. A 6-weight can be a great choice for someone looking for a rod that can handle most situations.

Where to Fish

When fly fishing on the Salmon River, you typically want to focus your attention within eddies or the back current along the banks of the river. Smallmouth like rocky river floor habitats and seem to prefer this type of river floor to the sandy bottoms that are prevalent on the Lower Salmon River. It is still common to see smallmouth cruising the sandy shallows. When fishing from a raft or drift boat, the best results are produced by casting to the shallow rocky banks and stripping your fly back towards the current. When casting streamers, be sure to pause to let your streamer sink deeper and follow the drop off of the river bank. Dry flies should be presented in the eddies as well, somewhere relatively close (within 10 feet) to the seam or eddy line.

Fly fishing on the Salmon River

Smallmouth bass on the Salmon River bank

How to Fish

Specific fly fishing techniques for smallmouth bass on the Salmon River are often dictated by the time of day. Early mornings and dusk are the best times to focus on top water or dry fly opportunities. Fish are often in shallower water and eager to eat a stimulator or a popper on the surface. Focus your attention within rocky shoreline eddies that have little or no noticeable back current. Dry flies, like stimulators, hoppers, ants, and beetles, should be given a twitching action rather than dead drift. This helps alert the bass to action on the surface. It’s not uncommon to hook into an occasional westslope cutthroat trout when fishing these patterns. Poppers and gurglers can produce very exciting takes and are my favorite way to catch smallies. Most productive popper colors are yellow, green, orange, and black/red. Cast poppers and gurglers to the bank and strip them back towards the boat or cast parallel to bank when fishing from shore.

Fly fishing on the Salmon River

Chris’ smallmouth bass fly box

When to Fish

During midday hours, the fish tend to be in deeper water. Streamer fishing with weighted flies and/or sink tips is the most productive. I find that specific fly pattern is not as important as color. When fly fishing on the Salmon River with streamers, it is often a good idea to try several different colors before changing your fly pattern. I like to start with olive. Olive is my favorite color of streamer and overall has proven to be the most effective for me. If olive is not producing, I systematically work through other colors to find the color the fish are keying in on. I usually go olive, orange/crawfish, white, black, purple/blue, yellow/chartreuse, and pink. Once you hone in on the right color, it’s amazing how productive the fishing can be.

Fly fishing on the Salmon River

Bass on our Salmon Raft table

Join Us!

At Salmon Raft we would love the opportunity to share this fishery with you. Our highly qualified staff can make this an experience that you’ll want to repeat each year. For bass fishing trips, visit our website HERE. And, keep in mind that bass fishing can be a part of any and all of the trips offered by Salmon Raft.

See you on the water!

-Chris

Snowpack and Multi-Day River Rafting

Winter has arrived in November! What a treat for our McCall based rafting company. Although the snow flew early last winter, it was short-lived. The snowpack was less than our average (not that it affected the level of excitement!). This year is looking mighty promising in terms of a healthy snowpack. As you know, the amount of snow we get through the fall and winter months directly correlates with the river level. As the snow melts, the runoff dictates when the river peaks – the factors that go into this are plenty: temperature trends, the amount of snowpack, spring rain, etc.

Here is a photo of our beautiful town, taken by the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce:

McCall's snowscape in November

McCall’s snowscape in November

We regularly get asked by our guests and friends what we do all fall and winter… “Do you raft when it’s cold out? Do you go on vacation? What about the rafts – do they sit outside?” To put it simply: our jobs do not end when the summer says goodbye and fall arrives! The cold water (and, typically, rain) is not exactly the most conducive to rafting (at least for me, a sun-worshiper). Some of the things we do during this “shoulder season” time are update our website – stay tuned! – redo some of our marketing materials, repair and maintain our equipment, and clean our boats. We store our boats and equipment in our shop, which keeps them in good shape for many years. Did you know that our oldest boat that’s still in use is from 1996? Rafts have a surprisingly long lifetime with proper care!

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of our guests are starting to talk about the holidays. Salmon Raft continues to take bookings through the fall and winter. Through the month of November, our 2015 prices are still valid. For those who like to plan, not only do we love you for that (!), you can lock in last year’s price to save some holiday cash. Launch dates will be updated on our website soon (remember the redesign), but we can surely open the dialogue now to start planning for Summer 2016 trips. Visit us HERE to send us a note.

Snowpack and river rafting are strongly correlated, so we are stoked with how this early winter is shaping up! The forecast looks great for this year, and the Salmon Raft team can’t wait to have you join us in beautiful McCall, Idaho for an unforgettable journey down the Salmon River.

Happy November!

-Lauren

Idaho Whitewater Rafting | McCall Rafting Trips

Idaho whitewater rafting, especially McCall rafting trips, are something that everyone should do on vacation. As other states succumb to the grim realities of drought, Idahoans feel lucky to have a steady stream of snowmelt to keep our rivers alive and running. Salmon Raft feels especially lucky to operate exclusively on the beautiful Salmon River, where the water flows freely for more than 400 pristine miles. No holding water for irrigation requirements means a healthy ecosystem and healthy flows, despite the low water year.

The snowpack this past winter was surely below average and spring this year heated up quickly (loving it!), which accelerated the snowmelt. Many of our guests ask us,

“How does the water level affect the size of the rapids?”

Believe it or not, that’s not a silly question! It’s a common misconception that with lower flows, the rapids must be smaller, less splashy, boring (my least favorite word in the world, especially when describing a river trip!), or “just a bunch of flat water.” In fact, some of the splashiest, most technical, and fun rapids emerge at lower water. Earlier in the season, at higher water, these favorites are washed out and hidden beneath more voluminous flows.

Salmon River rafting trips are thrilling and wet all year long.

Salmon River rafting trips are thrilling and wet all year long.

 

For many of our guests, rapid “size” is surely a big factor in getting stoked on an Idaho whitewater rafting trip, which is why we ought to clear up the confusion! The river’s volume is measured in cubic feet per second (CFS). As of today, June 20, the Salmon River is flowing below average at a volume of about 10,500 CFS. The splashiest rapids right now are Tight Squeeze, Time Zone, and Chair Creek. For our guides, the constant evolution of the river throughout the summer drives them to be on their toes and to safely navigate ever-changing miles of Idaho whitewater. Earlier this season, the biggest rapids were Ruby, House Rock, and Lake Creek. Chair Creek was big, too, but in more in terms of volume, whereas Chair today is more of a technical rapid, with holes, strong eddies, and fewer routes to choose from when picking the perfect line to give a safe and fun ride to our guests.

The Salmon Raft team keeps a close eye each day on the changes in CFS. Having dozens of years of experience amongst the crew means that we are familiar with how each rapid forms and changes with variations in water flow. We take our jobs seriously, and safely navigating more technical sections of the Salmon River, while providing a fun and wet day on the water, is the cornerstone to our positions as outfitters and guides at Salmon Raft. Join us for a McCall rafting trip – trips leave daily!

Prep Time! Summer 2015

It’s that time again. That time of year when everyone starts to think about the warm weather and summer to come. It’s the time to figure out what to do on your summer vacation. What activities and places to take your family on an unforgettable experience. For us here at Salmon Raft we start to form our plan for our summer operations. Each rafting season we are presented with new logistical challenges. One of our top pre-season priorities is our annual guide training.

Every year we hope to retain our past river guides and get them coming back to work for us year after year. This always helps us maintain continuity season to season. This season we have several returning guides and it will now fall to them, as well as the owners of Salmon Raft, to get our new incoming guides up to speed. Check out our long-term staff on our Salmon Raft Team page on our website.

Whitewater river guiding in Idaho (especially on the Salmon River) is a truly spectacular work experience. At Salmon Raft, the safety of our guests and our guides is our #1 priority. We take extraordinary measures to ensure that all of our whitewater rafting trips in Idaho are conducted in the safest way possible.

Landscape shot of the Salmon River

Landscape shot of the Salmon River

Salmon Raft’s guides meet and exceed all state requirements for guide certification. Through our intensive guide-training program our guides become expert boatman. They learn to control their rafts, rig their rafts, how to communicate while on the river, how to read the water, identify water features, rescue techniques, river history, medical and evacuation protocols, and how to prepare their guests for the experience.

Many of Salmon Raft’s guides are highly trained medical personnel in their “real” jobs as well. Check out our team and read about some of them. From EMTs to nurses, to ski patrollers, rest assured you will be in very capable hands.  Our guide trainers have a wealth of experience and utilize past experiences to teach newer guides how to deal with new situations. Through the use of realistic medical/rescue scenarios, our guides are capable of reacting in the blink of an eye. River trips, and the river itself, are very dynamic and ever changing. Our guide trainers and guides are always learning and bringing what they’ve learned to the table everyday. Owner, Chris, has nearly 10,000 recorded river miles throughout the northwest. This distance is the equivalent of rafting from Miami, FL to Anchorage, AK and back.

Caitlin on the river

Caitlin on the river

These reasons, and more, are what sets Salmon Raft apart. Guide training isn’t just to get the guides ready, it is designed to make our team the best it can possibly be. Run like a well-oiled machine, Salmon Raft works as a cohesive unit, with each member having equal weight in the overall equation. Sure, the state has requirements in order to be licensed. And of course we follow the rules. But licensing our guides takes a whole lot more than doing the bare minimum: medical knowledge and experience, efficiency on the oars, number of years in the field, and other both quantifiable and qualitative attributes are weighted heavily in our interview process.

We can’t wait for summer 2015! It’s going to be a great one. Perhaps, the best yet…?!

-Chris & Lauren

Salmon River Rafting Trips in May | First 2014 Trip

Salmon River rafting trips in May sometimes means high water, but safety is always Salmon Raft’s number one priority, with the second one being FUN! Rafting early season can be exhilarating because of the nature of the Salmon being undammed. We are at the whim of Mother Nature in regards to water flow. As the weather gets warmer, the snowpack melts off and the rain comes, too. Many factors, such as these, cause the water level to rise. The snowpack this year was average or better, which is a good sign for the rivers this summer. We can expect a good year for boating!

Caitlin guiding the paddle raft above Spring Bar

Caitlin guiding the paddle raft above Spring Bar

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Eastern Washington University. EWU provides its students affordable ways to go on outdoor adventures that they otherwise might not have the chance to enjoy. We feel lucky that they chose to come see the Salmon River with Salmon Raft! The trip leaders and guests were gracious, professional, and fun to be around.

The first day, we took the students on a hike up to a remote hot spring way up on the hillside. We all enjoyed the warm water (and a little workout!) – it was really the epitome of being in the wilderness. Some of the guests had never been rafting before, so it was especially cool for us to give them a wilderness experience – maybe their first – that they will never forget. In the photo below, you will see the boats on shore, and the hikers in the upper right hand corner.

Hiking to the hot spring on day one

Hiking to the hot spring on day one

The second day we opted to run the same section of river as the first day, instead of floating down through the town of Riggins. We were monitoring the water flow before and during the trip, and it started to really spike in the afternoon of the first day. Day one flows were at about 24,000 cfs (cubic feet per second), and the river swelled up to 35,000 within less than 24 hours. The speed in which it grew, and the fact that some of the rapids on the lower section get HUGE at higher water, caused us to err on the side of caution and to avoid going too big on the second day. This actually ended up working out perfectly, as the upper section grew enough that it was a noticeably different trip from the first day. This rock cairn in the photo below was built on day one, and this photo was taken on day two. It really gives the increase in flow some perspective – it’s almost under water!

Salmon River Rock Cairn

Salmon River Rock Cairn

Weather can sometimes make people hesitant to book a river trip early season. Temperatures and rain can be unpredictable. We totally lucked out on this May 3-4 trip, though! Although our guests were outfitted in wetsuits, booties, and splash gear, many of them stripped down to t-shirts and shorts both days. That being said, we obviously cannot guarantee weather. But what we can guarantee is that we float rain or shine, and we always come prepared to keep our guests safe and comfortable on their float. We even have a 20′ x 20′ rain fly that we set up that shields us from the elements!

All in all, our first whitewater trip of Salmon Raft’s 2014 season went smoothly and everyone had a phenomenal time! Come out and see us and experience first hand why we do what we do. Cheers!

-Lauren