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The Gearboat Chronicles

That Salmon River Sand

A lower Salmon River float trip is something like traveling along a narrow Pacific Ocean with rapids, then camping on a series of little Waikiki beaches.

I wear my Chaco sandals when we’re in the neighborhoods of Snow Hole Rapid and China Bar Rapid, for purposes of getting out and walking up the trail to take a peek during the scout. The rest of the time, it’s barefoot.

Deep white sand does present some difficulties. Like, when do you quit making designs in a particular patch of sand, wipe it clean and start over? Nature’s etch-and-sketch.

You can’t use tent stakes in sand, but that’s easy enough to remedy by placing smooth rocks in the corners of your tent.

Then there’s the occasional beach devoid of a big enough rock or tree to tie your raft to. No worries. We have Excalibur for just those beaches, a sword-looking chunk of aluminum designed for burying in the sand to create a tie-off.
Then there’s the clear water of the Salmon. Check out this snapshot of Phil I got from up on a trail around Billy Creek while Phil was casting for smallmouth. That was a good afternoon, let me assure you.

The Salmon is running at a real accommodating flow right now. Big wave trains here and there and the technical moves aren’t too tight. Fun all around.

We’ve got boats out again on the Snake River, launching this morning. The Snake flow has dropped to summer levels between 9,000 and 12,000 cfs.

The Grande Ronde has been going on a diet and dropped below 1,000 last I heard, so get down there while you can.

I’m headed for my laundry room to clean up after this last Salmon trip. Need to shake the sand out of my duffel bag…or not. I don’t mind it, to be honest. Matter of fact I should be bringing more of it back with me to start building my very own Salmon River sand dune out next to the hot tub deck.