Rafting the Main Salmon River (August 1987)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


For most of the 1980s, my main outdoor pursuits had been climbing and mountaineering with a group of like-minded friends. In August of ’87, a bunch of us decided to take a break from trying to defy gravity and give river rafting a try. It would be my first (but by no means last) guided river trip. After resolving mutual scheduling conflicts, all of us got on a World Wide River Expeditions trip down the Main Salmon River in Idaho.

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Rafting the Middle Fork Salmon River 11/16-Aug-2017

Middle Fork Salmon River Idaho

Rafting: All the fun of wilderness backpacking without having to carry anything.  It also allows us to visit remote areas that would be a considerable challenge to reach, much less traverse, on foot.  We were hooked the moment we tried it!  So after we finished our second raft trip through the Grand Canyon in 2014 (post) and a float through Hell’s Canyon in 2016 (post), we looked around for another long river to raft in the U.S.  Our O.A.R.S. guides on the Colorado had spoken well of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, so we signed-on to an O.A.R.S. guided trip on the Middle Fork, followed immediately by one (post) on the Main Salmon River (a “combo” trip).  The Middle Fork runs south to north for 104 miles through the 2.5 million acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho; the largest roadless area left in the lower 48 United States.  The entire Middle Fork is designated as a Wild and Scenic River and is one of the last free-flowing tributaries of the Salmon River system. Only a few trails, landing strips, private ranches, and U.S. Forest Service stations are evidence of man’s intrusion in this area.

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