Oh we had such a plan….such a glorious, well organized, perfectly planned plan…. but to know it we must travel back in time…..
It was a balmy Valentine’s Night in 2017. Temperatures were peaking at twenty below (no, seriously, it gets really cold in Idaho during the winter). After Ahab and I both probably forgot that it was Valentine’s Day, and realized neither remembered cards, chocolates, or even to shave, we received an apparent miracle by email:
You were successful in the lottery drawing for the SALMON RIVER (4 Rivers).”
(I literally just cut and pasted that outta my email)
We apparently “won” the lottery for a private permit to raft the Salmon River in Northern Idaho. While many locals here sometimes wait five or ten years to get their permit, Lady Luck would favor us Moseleys, and show her divine intervention.
If you have never heard of the Salmon River, don’t sweat it. I hadn’t either until seven months ago. (And let’s be honest, I really didn’t even know where Idaho was until we were packed up, in the car driving half way through Nebraska last fall.)
The Salmon River is one the last pristine places of wilderness left in this country. Known from Lewis & Clark’s Crazy Adventure to find a waterway through the northwest, those fellas could not conquer the “River of No Return”. When I heard it referred to the “RNR”, I kinda freaked out – thinking Class IV rapids, Grizzly bears, 2.5 million acres of Wilderness. You’re not coming home from this trip. However, apparently, it is the rapid decent (12 feet per mile in some parts) that creates a honkin’ fast ride. You can go down this river but can’t go up, with or without a paddle.
So here we were in the middle of ski season – which BTW was awesome – planning for our summer rafting adventure of lifetime. Think: Deliverance. Except in Idaho, with kids, no banjos. Now many “normal” families could easily book this rafting experience with a commercial outfit, with lots of experience, and gear, who know which way to turn, paddle, etc. Of course, as you are quite aware, that would not apply to us. We were going to “self-guide”. Ahem….
Since I was the “winner” of permit, all the responsibility (outward) fell to me to make sure this would become a reality. Translation: Guyon immediately realized I lacked the required organizational & communication skills to gather and coordinate all interested parties. Thank God for my sister-in-law, LP. She is magic multiplied by energy to power of willing to call anyone divided by never gets her feathers ruffled.
Within a couple weeks, we had procured reservations for rafts, gear, food, hotels, portable poop containers, and rules/regulations for the adventure. (And by “we”, I am clearly referring to LP). All I had to do was enter a list of participants online and show up with my confirmation letter at the Ranger’s Station.
Fast forward to July….Even though LP had everything lined up with Blackadar for all the rafts, food, etc..we still needed to arrive with our personal camping gear. We had to prep for 100 miles on the river over 7days/6night. The UPS man was making daily deliveries. I had a vague sense of deja vu from our WIDAGO pre-launch.
Again, my only true responsibilities were to type some names and show up. That’s it. Apparently, that would prove to be just one job too many.
I managed to get all the names entered in the nick of time even with last minute additions and drops outs. Unfortunately, I was the last minute drop out. Which potentially was going to be major problem, since there were 18 people who flew, drove, walked, took time off, put dogs in kennels to go on this trip which specifically states in the permit:
“This launch reservation (permit) is NOT transferable.”
Crap. I’m sitting here with a nasty post-surgical infection that is causing so much pain I can’t even spit, and there is something akin to Cheeze Whiz oozing out of my incision site. The responsible adult thing to do was NOT head out on a multi-day white water rapid rafting camping trip in the wilderness. See Mom, I’m learning (insert “hrumph” noises).
Lucky for us, we had a couple extra adults join in the fun, and BabyD got a “note from the doctor” for me (see I didn’t even do that) to transfer the permit. The trip was still “green-light”.
I have no idea if we will actually get to see any pictures or video from the trip. My fingers are crossed. I did manage to get a couple pre-game photos from Pawpaw at the put-in campground. Additionally, I have let imagination roam freely as to images of Pawpaw’s description of Guyon getting rafts launched and heading west….”the first morning only took four hours to pack up camp and get moving.”
Guyon at the Corn Creek Launch
By the time they finish, I’m sure they will be experts. A bit smelly. Maybe hungry. Most definitely bonded by a once in a lifetime experience, that I hope I get do next summer if Lady Luck shines upon us again.