So quick backstory. We were supposed to jump off the San Juan and head straight to Idaho and catch this early season Middle Fork trip. It rained a lot, and snowed, and then the gauge was pushing 6 feet. People were dying, wood was everywhere and I pulled the plug and bowed out.
A week later I’m looking for cancellations at 10PM. I see a great date for the Main, but I can’t check out, I can only hold it in my cart. I cycle through trying to buy this thing for hours, and give up. Next morning, I check moutainbuzz and a member is dropping a cancellation. I call him, coordinate it, and snag it. Still can’t check out. I call my friend, he grabs, he pays, we’re going. He is pictured below.
Corn Creek is a pretty special place, sub-optimal road, but a little oasis once you get back there.
- Water Levels: Good
- Crew: Tight
- Weather: Hot
- Send: Full
We befriended the rangers the night before launch. We brought gifts that we traded for their beer and consideration for first orientation on launch the next day. At this point, the Avalanche have apparently just won the Stanley Cup, but we are unaware as we sit at Corn Creek, eating a few chicken tenders from the grocery store we hauled in with us.
This river is moving, going 20 miles was nothing. Campsites were a little tough but with a small group, we made do. This was fun, really fun. How fast we talking here? Fast enough you could have done back to back layover days and still cruised into Carey Creek at 10AM.
Interesting note, the Pacific and Mountain Time Zone delineation in Idaho literally follows this section of river. If you’re confused why your watch and your GPS show different times every 2 hours, well, now you know.
Casual rollers in class I water made boats nearly disappear. The hole in Elkhorn was the size of a bus. You floated past that thing and and saw your life flash before your eyes. You roll through 15 miles and its time for lunch. With daylight until 10PM, you sit around and soak it in. Then we eat the food.
Food? We did some food. Shockingly enough, hot lasagna was actually pretty satisfying after it was 100 degrees all day.
There are also some great sight seeing excursions, and with the speed record we were setting we had time. Bring money, you’ll want the ice cream sandwich at Buckskin Bills.
Scenery here is really A+. With the long summer light of the northern latitudes you spend a few hours every afternoon escaping the death ray, before the sun “sets” for four hours.
Few things I learned on this trip.
- List of people that can go on a week long trip with two weeks notice.
- What a beer can looks like after you drag it through the water for 100 miles.
- Reflect and appreciate what legislators like Frank Church dedicated his life to preserve.
This place was great, 10/10, must do. Will be back.
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