Tuesday, August 19, 2014


                                                   Day 4 on the River--Aug 11
Wow! we got up to a beautiful clear morning and were happy the smoke was behind us.  Now the Frank Church Wilderness and the Salmon River were in all their summer glory.  It was our last FULL day on the river and we would be having a few memorable rapids and other fun things.  The ever present squirt guns were handy for the kids to use.  Denise and I had a hard time shooting them very far, so we resorted to buckets of water dumped directly on the heads of anyone we could sneak up on! On a warm day like this,  we would dry off easily and warm up again.  But, we also got a special treat. There was a large "hot spring" on this stretch of the river.  Years ago someone piled and cemented rocks around it and made a quite excellent Hot Tub for soaking.  But alas, the forest service, trying to keep this wilderness natural and pristine sent a couple workman to take it down and let it pour back down the hillside into the River of No Return. As the story goes...after sitting in it, they just couldn't do it!  Finally the Forest service relented and let this one area just be the "HotTub".  We pulled over to the shore and hiked up a bit on slippery rocks, and when we got to the hot tub, it was heaven.  And it was really, really hot.  So much so, that a pipe was installed to bring cool water into and cool if off somewhat.

 We continued down the river and finally came to one of the Big Rapids.  This fun guy was named "Ludwig", and there was a large rock splitting it in two for double fun.   Lance had Alex (7yrs) in the Kayak with him and since Alex had already gone down a few big rapids and LOVED the thrill, they thought he would do ok in Ludwig.  Fate took over and Lance had a little trouble as they started down. He thought the kayak was going to tip with his weight so he bailed out so Alex wouldn't get overturned in the rapid.  Unfortunately, Alex was scared when he saw his dad vanish into the frothy water and he tried to "help" his dad.  In the process he fell out of the kayak, and then it got serious.  I saw his helmeted head pop up and he had a big life jacket on, but it was still upsetting to this grandma.  Jim and Joaquin were right behind and paddled as hard as they could to reach Alex, and pulled him out of the drink.  We transferred him to our oar boat, and after a minute of two to calm down and catch his breath, he jumped back in the kayak with his dad!  Brave little guy.  So Alex, Lance, and Jim were all "in the club" of guys who got dumped in a rapid, but I was most impressed with a 7 year old who didn't let it phase him.

We found a big sandy beach to camp on for our last night and as our great guides/cooks/crew started on a wonderful steak dinner, we had a fun game night..Uno, of course, a fun new version of tug of war, arm wrestling, push up contest, swimming, drinking great wine from a boutique winery in Idaho. Shout out to "Syringa" and their very fine Mahrena Red!   We crawled into our tents with a threat of rain, but it really didn't happen.  I was running out of clean clothes, needed a shower WITH SOAP, and maybe a thicker pad for sleeping, but the fun and serenity and companionship of this trip was so worth any small inconvenience.  One more morning coming up.......

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