White water rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is quit the treat. In July 2016 I set out on a solo trip to join an outfitter group to river raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River for a 6 day trip through the beautiful, dually named, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Frank Church was an environmentalist and senator from Idaho. While the River of No Return refers to the nickname given the river by early settlers. The settlers would bring goods down the river. Unfortunately, they could not return back up the river due to the currents being too strong.
Why Whitewater Rafting?
After rafting the Grand Canyon in 2014, and the Snake River at Hells Canyon in 2015, I was ready for another whitewater rush. One of the guides on my Hells Canyon trip told me about the Middle Fork of the Salmon so I knew this was where I wanted to go. Since I have enjoyed other whitewater trips, I knew this would be perfect going solo. I have found whitewater rafting trips to be very safe and accommodating for the solo traveler. I enjoy the fun and adventure, also the scenery and being off the grid. These trips usually include rafting, hiking, and visiting scenic or historic places.
Adventure Sun Valley
After researching the different companies I could go with, there was no question in my mind that Adventure Sun Valley was right for me. There web site alone stood out with an abundance of information . Of course one big thing that usually determines who I go with is the food, and there food not only looked amazing but I found out later it was amazing! Another reason I chose this company is they picked me up at the Boise Airport so transportation was not a problem. This was a biggie, as I didn’t want to rent a car. I also like that this is owned by a husband and wife team, not a big corporation. There are so many extras I loved about this company that I can’t list them all. Check out their site to learn more! /https://www.adventuresunvalley.com/about/
After flying into Boise, Idaho, I was picked up, along with several others and transported through the beautiful mountains of Idaho. Stanley, Idaho is where we spent the night. Stanley is a small mountain town and everything was within walking distance.
I stayed at the Mountain Village Lodge. I found it comfortable and the views were gorgeous.
There was an informational meeting that evening from the guides from Adventure Sun Valley. I liked this because the more information I have, the more comfortable I am with a trip like this.
Flying To the River
Woke up to the beautiful mountains and and very excited. We were going to fly in by small plain to the river!!! I have never flown in a small plain before so I had a lot of nervous excitement waiting for my turn!! It was awesome! I could not believe how much I loved it! We flew over the mountains and landed on a dirt airstrip right along the river!! So very exciting!!!
Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Finally it was time to get in the river! There were different boats you could get in. You could ride along with a guide paddling, you could paddle with the guide, or you could ride in an inflatable kayak called a Duckie. I chose to start in a raft I could paddle along with. It was a great way to start!
Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon was different than the other two rivers I rafted. It is through the mountains so the scenery is much different. Around each bend of the river there is another picture perfect spot. There seemed to be more whitewater rapids as well. It was a wild ride!
Fun on the River
I decided to try my hand at the Kayaking. It was rough, maybe a bit intimidating. Between the rapids, the wind, and me not quite knowing what I was doing, it was a lot of work. Fortunately I did not fall in, but I did go around in circles much more than I intended. Thankfully I always felt safe with guides near me and advising when needed! After two hours, I was ready to go back to rowing in a raft!
Of course it wouldn’t be a river trip without a jump from a cliff! Luckily, I did not get hurt this year! The jump was awesome!
Old Simplot Homestead
Each day the knowledgeable guides would take us on side trips to areas near the river. One such area was this old homestead. Can you imagine living here? You would need to be very self-reliant as it seems to be in the middle of nowhere.
We also camped near a hotspring and hiked to it. It was a pretty hike. We camped between the river and some meadows, then hiked along a creek bed to the springs.
Hike to the Top of the Peaks
We hiked to the top of the double peaks in the first picture. It was hot and a tough hike up. I almost turned back but wanted to see the view. With the help of one of the guides, David, I made it to the top. He stayed with me all of the way, encouraging and coaching me up! Thats the type of guides Adventure Sun Valley has! Very supportive and willing to make their guests experiences awesome!
Hike to Indian Drawings
Indian drawings are always fascinating to me and we were able to hike up to some good ones. The Sheep Eater Indains, part of the Shoshones lived in this area.
Hike to Waterfall
We also hiked to a waterfall which was a lot of fun! Great place to just relax! I took photos in front of, behind, and looking up into the waterfall. It was another pretty hike.
Last but not least, the camping was awesome. Arriving at camp, our tents were all set up for us! We didn’t have to do a thing! When I would start to carry my bag towards a tent, a guide would appear and insist on carrying it for me! I felt so spoiled, but I loved it! Each night the guides would prepare dinner while we relaxed, chatted, or just hung out. The meals were amazing! It it hard to believe what they could cook up out there! Then to make life even more amazing, if you asked, the guides would rig up a shower. There would be a curtain like shower set up and the guides would warm the water then hook it up to a hose and shower head! So amazing! I have never experienced this or all the little extras this trip had on my other trips!
For some reason I didn’t take pictures of the campsites, but here are some views from the campsites. Each site was beautiful. I slept outside my tent on my cot each night just loving being there.
Of course all good things come to an end and this was one of them. We were shuttled back to the motel and then the airport in the morning. I absolutely would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Floating through the mountains was an unbelievable experience. The people I met were all amazing. I also give extra kudos to Adventure Sun Valley for doing such a great job by making rafting the middle fork of the Salmon River so unforgettable.
Read more of my posts on my other whitewater trips and tips below!
Grand Canyon Rafting Trip includes a hike down the Bright Angel Trail.
Hells Canyon on the Snake River a whitewater rafting trip.
What to Take River Rafting also includes information on hiking.