M-Wave Vid (9.4mb)
Words to describe the Middle Fork of the Salmon would be: pristine, beautiful, unparalleled, unspoiled, fun, fast, remote, scenic, sometimes eerie, and many more. It is a 100 mile self/raft support run of non-stop III-IV with a little bit of everything thrown in the middle. From big holes to big waves, it has it all.
The run starts more ‘river-like’, with somewhat more technical class III-IV for the first 10 or so miles. After you enter days 3-5, the run doubles in volume and has more of a big water characteristic to it, much like the New River Gorge.
The level when our group put on was 6.21 feet—notably higher than many normal runs. Each group must attain a permit to run the river. I heard some 7,000 are requested and less than 1,000 are accepted. The permit is limited to a stack of rules and regulations that would make the paperwork you have at your office queasy. Some rules and regs are: 24 people max, Leave No Trace (which includes you know what), fire pans for fires, and many more.
Some history directly from the NPS’s website: “One of the original eight rivers in the nation designated as Wild and Scenic on October 2, 1968, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River originates 20 miles northwest of Stanley, Idaho, with the merging of Bear Valley and Marsh Creeks. The designated segment extends 100 miles from Dagger Falls to the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon. The river traverses northeast through the heart of Idaho and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, flowing through a canyon that is the third deepest in North America. The Middle Fork is one of the last free flowing tributaries of the Salmon River system. Because of its remote location, man's presence in the area was somewhat limited, leaving it in the condition we see today. Only a few trails, landing strips, private ranches, and Forest Service stations are evidence of man's intrusion.”
A truly wonderful experience…
Before heading to the Middle Fork, I had the opportunity to meet up with my old high school buddy, Kevin Dombey, for a M-Wave session in Montrose, Colorado. A slightly different experience, and a entirely different atmosphere. Check out the video of M-Wave:
M-Wave Vid (9.4mb)
M-Wave Vid (Low Res)
Until next time…
Ps- for some photos, go here soon.