GearHub staff member and outdoor enthusiast Ashley Taylor went and spent some time with some friends running the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a self-supported kayak trip. Here is her story.
With over a hundred miles of whitewater, 5 gorgeous sunny days in the forecast and 9 kayakers from across Canada and the USA brought together to complete a common goal, we knew we were in for a wicked trip. The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a classic section of river that hosts 10,000 rafters and kayakers every year. Access is restricted, permits are notoriously hard to acquire, but the pristine waters of the the Frank Church “River of No Return” is a bucket-list trip for any rafter or kayaker.
Our trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon was a self-supported; meaning each creek boat was loaded to the brim with tents, homemade dehydrated meals, clothing, and safety equipment. Each boat had up to 50 pounds of added weight and leaving little room for any extra amenities; however a few beers worked well to fill up the cracks in between.
The Middle Fork begins as a creek-like, low-volume river which slowly swells into a classic big water run. This river has everything from technical drops to roller coaster wave trains. The landscape also morphs from lonely forrest burn-outs, to rolling hillsides covered in wild flowers, to gorgeous deep rock canyons.
If we didn’t feel spoiled enough looking up at brilliantly bright stars every night there were six major hot springs along the river. The hot springs can be nestled in the forest or right beside the river. My personal favourite was the Sunflower hot spring; this hot spring towered above the river, was covered in flowers, and even had a natural shower that spilled out into the river.
We were still feeling energized most days after paddling so in the evenings we would check out the plethora of hiking trails that followed the canyon and surrounding ridges. Some of the hikes brought us to secluded hot springs, native pictograph drawings, and private ranches.
All in all, good food, great friends, and one excellent river!