Middle Fork Salmon July 3 – 8, 2013

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A glance over the bank at Boundary Creek put in revealed some color in the water after a night’s heavy rain.

A gully washer upstream of the Middle Fork’s put in of Boundary Creek the night before our launch didn’t bring the river up, but it did wash a lot of ash from an old forest fire into the river.  The unusual silt in the river made it a challenge to read the water where shallow rocks lurked invisibly just under the surface.

With the challenges of those first 12 miles behind us, we settled into camp at Sheepeater Hot Springs. With a walk of about 300 yards from the kitchen, you can bet there was a hole lot of soaking going on! Nothing better than waking up in the hot springs with a cup of hot coffee in hand!

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Evening color at Sheepeater camp at the end of the day.

Day two was the fourth of July and we were bound for Marble Camp. The river was still turbid but more channelized so it was easier to navigate. This stretch provides a good warm up leading down to Pistol Creek, the key rapid of the day.  From there the rapids ease and it is a nice paddle to camp.

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Sweep boat driver and game master Zack B. ready for the fourth of July.

Marble is home to one of the finest surf waves on the river. It’s nice to camp there because if you don’t have the energy to surf at the end of the day, there is always the next morning.  We don’t always luck out and get Marble camp, but when we do, we make the most of it.

The wave at Marble is, for many, their first high speed surf.  Once established on the wave you feel as if the water is racing by at 60 mph.  The challenge is getting on the wave. While there is a great eddy on river left  to stage from, it is unforgiving if you are unable to scramble back into the eddy before you get washed downstream.  Once below the wave it’s either a tricky ferry from the opposite side of the river, a carry back up above the wave or, if the level is right, a human rope tow whereby someone stands in the water and pulls people past a surge of water that guards the eddy. The water level was right and with one of us positioned on a submerged rock in the eddy itself, we were able to push people onto the wave if they needed an assist. Between a session in the evening and another long one the next morning, everyone was giving it a go, including a 72 year old Henry. What a surf!!

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Normally guiding one of the rafts, Anika borrowed some gear and showed us how it was done.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of the trip, I’ll let these photos tell the rest of the story.  Lets just say this group was into having a good time, from playing and learning on the river to hoola-hooping in camp, we all had a lot of fun.  Special thanks to the crew at ECHO who provided great support; Anika, Zack, Tessa, Colleen and Dewi plus Chris Lewis, our third kayak guide. Great fun everyone!

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One big happy group on the Middle Fork.

Photos and content ©DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking all rights reserved.

Middle Fork Salmon, June 25, 2013

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Tristin ripping it up on the wave at Marble during an early morning surf.

There were lot’s of familiar faces for our first trip of the season down the Middle Fork Salmon. Tom, who probably has more trips on the MF than Mary and myself combined, made the long drive from Texas, Arn and Deb as well as Jim S. arrived from Colorado, Jane, one of Mary’s old friends from NOC days,  used the trip as an excuse to bring her busy kayaking family together from Maryland. California was well represented by Kurt, Tristin, Dave, Vicki, Pam and Bill K.  Also from Cali was our adopted raft passenger Bill W. who has done numerous trips with ECHO over the years. Once he stumbled onto a trip of ours, he had such a good time he’s now a member of the tribe. Rounding out the trip and all the way from the flooded city of Calgary, Canada was Paul.

For the first day and half we had a steady drizzle of rain and a stop at Trail Flat hot springs along the river’s edge gave temporary relief from the cold.

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Kayakers knocking down the chill of a rainy day with a soak in Trail Flat hot springs.

By the afternoon of day 2 the clouds were breaking and the sun warmed our camp at Marble and shown a spotlight on the surfwave just below. People took advantage of the sunshine to play frizbee golf & bacci ball, hike to a vista point behind camp or just sit and relax.

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One tight family, Luke, Steve, Jack and Jane discuss strategy during a lively game of bacci ball.

On day 3 the diehard surfers in the group enjoyed a morning surf session before paddling down to catch the rest of the group that were enjoying a soak at Sunflower hot springs. Luck had been with us on the assignment of camps and we scored Loon with one of the best hot springs on the entire trip just a mile up the creek.

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Loon Creek near it’s confluence with the Middle Fork.

Paddling into camp late afternoon of day 4 we had covered just over twenty four miles that were packed with great whitewater and dramatic changes in the canyon’s character. We were camped amongst the Ponderosa pines at Survey camp.  The margaritas had been out for an hour now and the guides had strung up a rope between trees and draped it with “dare wear”, a mix of thrift store costumes for all to wear should they decide to. I’m always surprised at who wears what, but hey, “what happens on the river, stays on the river”. Dressed up, seated in a circle, we listen intently as 16 year old Jack gave us his TED Talk (No kidding, to see the original talk, minus the costume, click here). Proof again that you never know what you’re going to learn on a river trip. Our many talented musicians played into the night with all of us enjoying one another’s company and conversation.

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No shortage of good conversation around camp.

Our last two days we paddled through the Impassable Canyon, a name that speaks of the steep terrain.  The river is by far the only way to navigate this rugged landscape. After an awesome morning of great rapids our final day, we confluenced with the Main then crashed through the mighty, Grand Canyon-style Kraemer rapid to reach the take-out. As Henry B says, “The Middle Fork trip references my whole year. There’s what happens after the Middle Fork, and then, there’s what happens before the Middle Fork.” We hope many wonderful things happen in your lives before your next Middle Fork trip!!

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The sweep boat leaves camp early morning our last day in the Impassable Canyon.
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Thanks everyone for kicking off the Middle Fork season with us.

Click photos for larger view.

Photos and content ©DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking all rights reserved.

Bhutan Class IV+ Kayaking Trip Report.

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In the last post, Mary talked about the serendipitous nature of events in Bhutan. We were completely unaware the first day of our Class IV+ trip coincided with Buddha’s descension, his birthday. For Buddhists worldwide, the celebration of Buddha Shakyamuni’s returned to earth, in the lifetime he at last reached enlightenment, is the most sacred of days.

From the Paro airport (in the western part of Bhutan) we made our way into the heart of town. We could see people everywhere were dressed in their finest, women in kiras and men in ghos. The traditional dress is required for Bhutanese when visiting religious sites and government offices. So began our day! We were treated to a visual feast of decoration and colorful Bhutanese in pilgrimage to holy temples and dzongs. This celebration and worship was being played out throughout Bhutan, and by Buddhists the globe over.

Continue reading “Bhutan Class IV+ Kayaking Trip Report.”

Good Times On The Middle Fork Of The Salmon – Round Two

I’m not going to sugar coat it, last year’s Middle Fork trip, with unusually high water, replaced the smile that many folks normally have with a look of focused determination.  Everyone got off the run feeling like they had really accomplished something significant, the way you feel when you push your skills and experience and feel tested and pass.

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Lunch stop along the way.

Continue reading “Good Times On The Middle Fork Of The Salmon – Round Two”

Rogue River, Oregon- Due to Popular Demand We’ve Added Another Date.

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We just added the dates of August 22 – 25th to our Rogue offerings this year.  Join us for a four day, raft supported trip on Oregon’s wild and scenic Rogue River. Fun class II – III rapids, warm water, great instruction, comfy camping, hearty meals and great wildlife viewing all come together to give you a great river experience.  It’s not just for kayakers either.  If you or someone you know doesn’t paddle but wants to experience a mulit-day river trip the Rogue is the perfect introduction.  Click here to learn more details about the trip and how to sign up.

Time Off But Staying Wet.

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Mary crossing a stream on the way to the Cuevas del Tayo.

We finished up our last kayaking trip in mid-February but we’re far from being done here in Ecuador. We’ve extended our intended departure date by a couple of weeks allowing us extra time to travel, visit friends and boat. After bidding farewell to our last group in Quito we returned east to Borja in the Quijos river valley.  That evening we ran into our friends Ken and Juliet and Dan Dixon and his family where they told us they had just come from the Cuevas de los Tayos (cave of the oil bird) and told us what an amazing place it is. We’ve passed by the sign for it a number of times on our way back from running the lower Quijos and had added it to our long list of “things to do in the Quijos valley when we have the time”. After hearing their description we made a point to go out the next day. Continue reading “Time Off But Staying Wet.”

Technique Tip-Hybrid High Brace/ Forward Sweep

With all the rain we’ve been experiencing in Ecuador this season we’ve had plenty of big water opportunities  . Big water can mean big features in the form of waves and holes that form and change shape and size, and that come from all directions. Those features can knock you flat if you shy away or have an improperly placed stroke.  They can also provide incredible support and help you along your way if you know what to do. That’s where a hybrid-high brace/sweep stroke comes into play.

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All the right components of a good hybrid high brace/ forward sweep stroke.

Most people think of bracing as a recovery stroke, something done to right yourself after tipping. That’s only part of the story.  It can also be a great preventative stroke, done in anticipation of tipping, then transitioned into a propulsion stroke that keeps you moving. Continue reading “Technique Tip-Hybrid High Brace/ Forward Sweep”

Ecuador- A Closer Look

Here’s a slide show featuring work from our good friend Merida who joined us for two weeks in Ecuador this season. She’s got a great eye for photography. I enjoy her work because it makes me think. She has such a great sense of form and design! While we are addicted to kayaking, being in Ecuador is also about the places our kayaks take us and the things we get to see from them. Thank you, Merida!

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Middle Fork Salmon, Idaho 2012 Spaces Filling

Middle Fork Salmon_Idaho

Each year we offer two trips on Idaho’s beautiful wild and scenic Middle Fork of the Salmon. These are six day/five night, raft supported camp trips. Our June 25 – 30 date has spaces for both rafters and kayakers. Our July 3- 8 trip has only a couple spots left. These are primo dates for both weather and water levels on this majestic river. Idaho’s snow pack for the Salmon drainage at present is at 80%, pretty good compared to our dry California winter!

For more information, click here to go to the Middle Fork page on our website or contact us directly at info@adventurekayaking.com. To book a space contact ECHO, our rafting outfitter at (800) 652-3246 or info@echotrips.com. Ask for the DeRiemer trips.

If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Tena

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Gearing up at the put in on the Upper Misahualli near Contundo.

If I could package up the Upper Misahualli (Mish for short) river near Tena, Ecuador and bring it home in my duffle I would.  The run just puts a smile on the face of anyone who paddles it.

Chris S., Mr. Dreamflows himself, on the Upper Mish.

Technical and continuous is how I would describe the Mish but you would also be amazed at how “doable” it is for a variety of skill levels. It’s the perfect training ground for developing and improving your creeking skills and a playground for those that want to keep those skills sharp. Continue reading “If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Tena”