Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A rafting trip down the Main Salmon River is the vacation of a lifetime so it’s important to make sure you book the right trip, with the right company, at the right time, with the right options. Here is a guide to help make sure you find exactly what you are looking for.
Getting the put-in and take-out of the River of No Return can be complicated due to the remote nature of the trip. When booking your trip you should have a few different options for transportation and those should be reflected in the price A: The full treatment. Fly into Boise and then take Salmon Air from Boise to Salmon. From Salmon the company should bus you into the put-in at Corn Creek. From the Take-out at Carry Creek the company should provide transportation back to Boise via van or air from McCall. B: Salmon to Salmon: Some trips a company provides transportation from Salmon Idaho (requiring you to drive there) to Corn Creek and then from Carey Creek to McCall where you catch a Salmon Air flight back to Salmon and your vehicle. This works well if you live close to Salmon. With this option you can usually also choose to have your vehicle shuttled from Salmon to Carrey Creek or McCall instead of catching the flight back to Salmon. This option may be cheaper depending on if your group is larger than 2. Our trips cover all these options, but with most people coming from out of state, the Boise to Boise option with the included Salmon Air flight is the most popular.
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2. Time of the year and river flow.
The Salmon River is the longest river in the country without a dam. This freedom means that unlike the Rogue River in Oregon where flow remain somewhat constant all summer long because of dam control, the flow on the Salmon progressively decreases as peak of snow melt passes. Early season usually means high, colder water. More water in many place means bigger waves and can be extremely exciting for those looking for a big ride. By the first or second week of July the Salmon has usually warmed up and settled into great mid-summer flows. For these couple weeks the river has big waves with plenty of excitement while also being a little easier and warmer than trips in the latter part of June.
Later into the summer the flows drop and the rocks come out. The river is always fun, but now it changes to more technical maneuvering. The lower water usually brings out some of the best beaches which were hidden below the surface earlier in the summer. Talk to your company about when the weather and water flows are most likely to match the type of trip you’re looking for. You can always call us at 800-635-2925 for an idea.
3.Camping, lodges, or a combo.
The Main Salmon is one of the few rivers in the U.S. where you can float lodge to lodge on a rafting trip. The Salmon River also has some of the best camping of any river in the country, so how do you choose what to do? At Orange Torpedo Trips we think you opt to do both. On our trips we camp for 3 or 4 nights and stay at a lodge for one. After camping on beautiful beaches for 3 nights the lodge comes as a nice transitional step back into the modern world.
4.Type of boat. How are you going to travel down the river? This choice will play an enormous role in your experience. Sitting on the front of an oared raft provides plenty of time to take in scenery, relax in the sun, and talk with your guide. Paddle rafting means time with your friends, but plenty of organizing your group efforts to paddle through the flats. Third, is our personal favorite, paddling an inflatable kayak (IK). When you can learn from a guide and then follow a guide through the rapids it allows complete beginners to experience the joy of riding over waves and the satisfaction that comes from saying, “I paddled the Main Salmon” to all of your friends. Many companies offer an inflatable kayak option, but only with Orange Torpedo Trips do you have a guide in an IK teaching you as you go, guiding you through the rapids, and being right there to pick you out of the water within seconds if you happen to tip. 39 years of satisfied customers say this is the way to travel.
5.Trip take-out. The Main Salmon has a few different spots to exit the river. Some trip options include flying out of Shepp Ranch or Mackay Bar. Some take-out at Vinegar Creek, and some like us go all the way to Carrey Creek. We believe going the extra few miles to Carrey Creek provides a better end to the trip. Vinegar rapid (one of my favorites of the whole trip) is guaranteed to get you wet and makes the best end to the trip. Don’t miss one of the best rapids of the river, make sure you trip goes all the way to Carrey.