Wanting it

Tim Ray | Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho

In 1987 I was a teacher on an extended summer tour of western rivers as I kayaked. I had met and paddled with friends in Colorado. They headed home and I headed to Idaho. I was going to try the longest shot I could think of. I drove the long road past the last civilization of Stanley Idaho, population was around 99 back then. My the last paved road I then drove the 23 mile gravel road to the Boundary Creek put in for the Middle Fork of the Salmon river. I was solo, 2000 miles from home and wanted to paddle the Middle Fork pretty bad. I went to the put in campground, set up camp and started walking around and talking to different groups. My plan, size up a group, ask if I could join them. I had no idea of the logistics to all the logistics a Middle Fork trip involved, LOL. I had my own kayak and gear, dry bags and even my own food for the trip but no permit and no trip, but what I had was desire.

One group I talked with I figured out quickly not my kind of trip. They had like 20 cases of Vodka, LOL. I moved on to other groups. Finally I talk to a group from Oregon- they looked promising, were nice people, not a big group, and then the big moment. Only 2 kayaks on the trip and one of them had to cancel at the last moment, That meant the other kayaker might want another with him on the trip. I go to my camp and start packing some gear. The other kayaker, a young man named Randy R. arrives and comes down to “interview” me as a potential kayaker on their trip.

I talk about my experience, etc. and I have the right answers. He invites me to go. I have lots to do, I’ll have to arrange my own shuttle, etc. I leave my camp and head to Stanley to buy some last minute items, find a shuttle, etc. I amazingly manage to get all that done in one afternoon, spend the night in Stanley and drive back to the put in with my shuttle driver. I meet the group, help rig gear and begin the adventure of my 29 year old life. 6 days of hot springs, rapids, scenery, pictographs and great people. It all worked out- my food, the people, my shuttle, etc.

6 days later I had a friend that I am still in touch with 31 years later. I was blessed and got to experience the Middle Fork. I returned a couple of years later on another private trip with some of the same people from Oregon. Both experiences shaped my life and gave me memories I cherish to this day. I often tell people if I get too old to dream of new adventures, I hope have I still have these memories, the Middle Fork of the Salmon.

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