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Middle Fork of the Salmon

Life on the Middle Fork
There's a lot more to a river trip like the Middle Fork than rapids. In the middle section, the river mellows to class II/III for many miles, and you spend several pleasant days of just enjoying the scenery and friends.

A typical Middle Fork kitchen scene.

High water runs leave lots more time for hanging out around camp and enjoying being out in the nowhere.

Andria hiked up and got this sweet shot of the campsite and river at Marble.

In an age where the whitewater sport is often pushing the limits of how many river miles can be paddled in a day, the Middle Fork is a welcome break where the object is to stay out there and enjoy the place as much as possible. Although the river can be done fairly easily in 3-4 days at the levels we had, we chose 8 days as a nice trip length. To that end, we awoke on day 5, loaded up the rafts, and paddled a whopping 3/4 mile down to Sunflower Flats before we pulled over and took and extended 3 hour lunch and hot-spring break.

Hot springing again at Sunflower.

Back on the river and floating through the wilderness.

After a mellow afternoon on the river, we rolled in to White Creek camp, where we were planning to lay over for 2 nights so that we could day hike to Big Loon Hot Springs the next day. Remember, the object is to take as long as possible out here and enjoy it to the max! Doing a river trip like this involves a lot work, which makes laying over a real treat since the loading and unloading of rafts and setting up of camp comprises the bulk of each day's labor. Layover days are the true vacation days on the river.

White Creek campsite right after arrival as unloading begins.

Campsite about an hour later - after full setup.

Andria day hiking up Loon Creek.

Tough life - more hot springing at Big Loon.

Typical layover day late afternoon kitchen carnage.

After a super relaxing layover, it was back on the river for two days of BIG water in Impassable Canyon at 6 feet+.

Click to read the next part - Impassable Canyon.