The Accidental Extremist
There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Trip….

Smell of The Wild [Amateur Hour]
Wednesday April 01st 2009, 10:15 am
Filed under: Road Warriors

There's nothing like a long flight with a beautiful lady. 

 

There's nothing like a long flight with a beautiful lady.

 

I’m from the Northeast, so the term ‘river trip’ doesn’t resonate as much as it does out West.  When I agreed to meet a guy friend for one of them on the South Fork of the Salmon River in Central Idaho, I could only imagine what I was in for.

To get there, I flew into Spokane, Washington on a little puddle jumper from Salt Lake City.  This was after I didn’t get on my original flight out because I was too heavy and my luggage was too big (I’m 121 pounds and a light packer). We finally landed at 10 at  night.  I met my friend in the airport, grabbed my luggage, and then it was a five hour drive from Spokane to the sleepy whitewater rafting town of Riggins.

We arrived in Riggins at three-o-clock in the morning and set up our tent for three hours of (ahem) sleep.  The next morning I looked far from my best—okay let’s face it—completely beat-up, and we met all his friends at the town’s only diner for a hearty breakfast.  I brought my make-up case along so I could sneak into the bathroom and attempt to look halfway decent, but it was so obvious what I was doing and embarrassing to think about now. 

We got our gear in order and headed off to the put-in, a three hour drive.  We stopped at the local Sate Recreation Center to get a map and directions, but what was supposed to be a quick break turned an hour-long debate among the seasoned kayakers on our trip.  Forest fires were burning very close to our put-in. The patroller warned us to turn around, and that because of roadblocks we wouldn’t be able to get to the part of the river we needed to. 

We didn’t listen. We found an alternative route to avoid the section of blocked-off road, and started down river.  Paddling through freshly burnt forests, we were inhaling  acrid smoke.  Not good for the eyes, nor the lungs for that matter. But we had plenty of whiskey and beer to keep us hydrated.  And I needed the alcohol to calm my anxiety about how dangerous this all was… (more…)

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