Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Salmon River, Day Two

Mornings on the river are only as early as you want them to be really, but some of us start at 7:00 and some start at 8:30. I am always awake with no hope of sleeping more by about 7:30. Even though mornings are early, they are not rushed. Everyone seems to be addicted to coffee and needs at least two or three cups before their brain unfogs. Some of us even need a cup delivered in bed. Mike and I are tea drinkers. I'm glad I don't have a coffee habit because coffee is bulky and creates a lot of waste. It also takes filters, bodem or plastic coffee filter holder thing. Tea bags are easy to store and instant to use, no dripping! Breakfast for most is bagels and cream cheese or oatmeal. Mike has granola with coconut water and I kinda nibble. Breakfast doesn't sound that great.

We're always packed up and ready to go by 11:00am. Laurie, Chris, Lucy and I sneak in about 10 or 15 minutes of yoga while the guys adjust straps or use the groover. It's hard to do yoga in the sand. The surface is unstable and the sand sticks to your body in the heat. It's dangerous to put your hands in the sand for downward dog and then sweep them over your head towards namaste at the end of a sun salutation. It's hot enough by then to take a swim and rinse the sand off.

Day two started with a quick jaunt downstream to a prehistoric spot on Lantz Bar. Cammie, the Salmon-Challis archaeologist led us in a search for churt and rock shards in the ground stirred up by horse hooves and campers. We found many shards that Cammie said were prehistoric. Personally, I couldn't tell the difference between a small piece of rock and shard but I believe here. Then we floated down river to some pictographs. The Salmon River is full of history and its fun to read the River of No Return book as we go along to help us interpret that history. The meaning of the prehistoric pictographs are all conjecture but they are fun to look at.

We were all looking forward to Black Canyon, a new rapid class four rapid, as of 2011. We eddied out and scouted the rapid from a rock bluff right above it. The rapid had a nice clean tongue and a big drop, no holes and fairly straightforward. We watched a jet boat go down it with no problem. The river was 1.7ft at the ramp. With a lot of nervousness and trepidation and a little bit of excitement, our flotilla began running the rapid. John and Laurie went first and had no problem. Their boat sunk out of view though with the dropping level of the river. I think that Mike and I cued up second. There is no rethinking or backing out once that current pulls you in. My heart was pounding and I had to trust Mike completely to get us through. We ran down the tongue and for a brief second I started at the empty space below us, the drop into frothy white water and then a jerk and a jolt and we were riding the wave train out! We eddied out and watched the other boats and duckies successfully run the rapid.

We camped a mile or so down river at Black Canyon beach. It was a bit small for our party of 13 but we made it work. We liked this camp because it was a mile or so upriver of the Hot Tub, a back country luxury where someone bricked in a tub and piped in hot water from a nearby hot springs. We wanted to be the first there to beat the heat and the crowds.
Happy hour was more of the same and played a lively game of ladder ball in the meantime. I won the first game solely on John's skill. I couldn't hit a ladder to save my life and it became a hand eye coordination theme for me for the rest of the trip. The game is very entertaining though and it occupied us until cobb salad and brats were ready. The evening played out much as the previous evening with a continuous happy hour and a wonderful bounty of twinkling stars.

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