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The Gearboat Chronicles

Lower Salmon River, please

Of course

I find it refreshing when people are polite. That’s not to say I’m surrounded by rude folks or anything, that’s a rarity in the Wallowas or on the river.

But get a load of this. We do regular trips with an outdoor program called Wilderness Ventures – which, by the way, is where two people by the name of Paul and Penny met back when they led trips for that outfit, going on to start up a rafting company you might have heard of, called Winding Waters. . . .

So there’s a trip with Wilderness Ventures every summer that has high school students from a school in Virginia. The kids have always been great. And polite.

We just got back from this year’s WV trip on the Lower Salmon and, as always, these Virginia youngsters were a pleasure. They were some of the quickest studies in kayaks I’ve seen in some time and just fun to be around. Everybody on the trip was great about pitching in, helping to set up camp and so forth. We would say thank you and they would say you’re welcome. But one guy in particular, Jackson, when you thanked him for carrying the water jug or whatever, would respond: “of course.”

I kind of like that. It’s sort of next-level politeness. Hadn’t heard that before. Good job, Jackson’s parents.

Fun on the Lower Salmon

So here’s some photos taken while having fun messing around in boats.

First we have a paddle boat charging down the clear, cool waters of the Salmon, with some big ol’ hillsides in the backdrop. I believe this is the lower stretch of the Billy Creek area.


Want a closeup of fun times in the paddle raft? Of course.


Here’s a birds-eye view looking down on our little armada, below Half and Half rapid.


And here’s what we were up there on the hill looking at. A fixer-upper stone and boulder house left by miners back in the day. Cozy. About 8 x 12.


The beaver slide is that thing where you turn a boat over and it magically becomes a slip-and-slide when you throw buckets of water on and slide into the river. Good times.


And here’s a mid-air jump at the Birch Creek columnar basalt formations that geology was nice enough to make into a perfect place to take a plunge. Thanks, geology.


Check out the leopard print upholstery on the gearboat coolers. That blanket came with a hide-a-bed sofa I got from friends years ago and I dug that snazzy thing out of the shop when I went looking for something to drape over the coolers and pour water on to keep our ice in great shape.


Now I’m thinking about re-upholstering my truck interior with that design. Maybe zebra stripes for the back seat?

I’ll leave you with this: check out the reflection of the water kicking back up on the overhanging shelf. That Salmon River is just magical. Love it down there.