We all have memories of bug-infested picnics and cold, wet overnights with the scouts. You can forget about those because camping with Canyons is roughing it in comfort and style! You will find that our camp is complete with comfortable chairs, a complete library, guitar (upon request) and even our “spa box”, with all sorts of products to keep you feeling spa-fresh on the river. Your guides will educate you into the ease of river life….but don’t hesitate to ask questions before or during your trip. Here’s the straight scoop on the things that you may have questions or be concerned about.
FAUNA ~ The Middle Fork and Main Salmon lie in a semi-arid desert with only 15 inches of rain per year. A few mosquitoes and/or no-see-ems visit the Middle Fork in late June and early July. Pants and long-sleeved shirts in the evening are about all you need, but you may want to bring along a small bottle of repellent. Yellow-jackets can be a nuisance during late summer meals and require some patience. Often in late summer, we see black bears on shore while we’re floating by, but it is extremely rare for one to come into camp. Equally anti-social are the rattlesnakes. We have had a few encounters with snakes on trail hikes, but they’ve heard us coming and slithered off. However, it is important to stay on trails and hike only during daylight hours, so that you can spot them.
FLORA ~ June trips bring wildflowers galore! You will be amazed at the sheer size of our beautiful timbers that line the river corridor. The sage covered hillsides will ignite your senses and Idaho’s state flower, Syringa, will make you feel like you’re sniffing the tropical flowers of Hawaii. You will see poison ivy, but it’s easy to spot and avoid. The guides will make sure you can identify it.
WEATHER ~ Middle Fork air and water temperatures are a little colder than those of the lower elevation Main Salmon (the water and air temperatures on the Main are typically 10-15 degrees higher than on the Middle Fork). Typical June weather is 70’s during the day and 40’s at night with the water temperatures in the 40’s. Everything warms gradually to the hottest days in the ’80s-’90s in August with pleasant evenings. The water in late summer is a delightful swimming temperature. September is a bit cooler. We typically have a few rainy days in June, but only occasional showers the rest of the summer. Atypical, but possible, are snow in June, hot 100 degree days in August and chilly rains in September.
TOILETS ~ Both the Middle Fork and Main are classified “Wild & Scenic Rivers”, which requires that all human waste be carried out. We set up a porta-potty in a private and scenic spot away from camp. It is accompanied by a hand-wash station, a trash can for feminine products, plenty of toilet paper and a system to signal occupancy and vacancy. The Forest Service asks us to urinate in the river (where there are plenty of boulders and bushes for privacy). Between camps, we can set up the porta-potty when necessary. Women may want to bring small packs of tissue and zip-lock bags to transport feminine products during the day and can discard in the trash at camp each evening.
BATHING ~ Soap, including biodegradable soap, is not permitted in the river, side streams or in the hot springs. You can get wet in the river, and then use our buckets to wash and rinse the soap off above the beach or high water line. Hot spring baths are a treat and are done the same way. Some guests choose to bring a camping-style solar shower.
CLOTHING ~ The type of fiber is important. Cotton is comfortable in camp, but not on the river. If it gets wet, it makes you colder. Wool and synthetic fibers, such as fleece, pile, Capilene, and polypropylene will keep you warm even when wet. We bring sleeveless, full-length “farmer-john” wetsuits made of neoprene for you to use when it’s cold. Think of two sets of clothing: one for day-time river wear and a second set for camp. On the river, you’ll just need a swimsuit and nylon shorts most of the time. Mornings can be cool before the sun shines down into the canyon. A fleece layer, rain jacket and pants or wetsuit can keep you warm until mid-morning, when you can stow those items away in your day bag. In June, you may need those layers all day, along with neoprene socks or booties and a wool or synthetic stocking cap. On hot days, you may want to wear a rash guard or light-colored T-shirt to wet and keep you cool. Sun hats and sunscreen are highly recommended as are sun hoodies or sun shirts and long quick-dry pants.
In camp, just be comfortable. Cotton is fine because our sleeping tents will keep you dry if it rains. Have a second sweater/fleece in case your river sweater is wet. Guests often bring tropical print shirts and light sundresses or sarongs. In June and late August/September, you should bring a warm jacket (puffy), warm hat, long johns, and wool or synthetic socks. Teva-type, strap-on sandals are ideal for your feet in warm weather. Consider bringing neoprene gloves and booties or socks if your hands and feet get cold. Or, you can wear wool, synthetic or neoprene socks with tennies. In camp, tennies or light-weight hiking shoes are perfect.
Plan with comfort and warmth as priorities over style. Clothes stay much cleaner on a river trip than on a backpacking trip. It is better to have layers to adjust for changing temperatures than to have multiple changes of the same type of garments. On your first day, dress comfortably for your flight and or bus ride to the river. It’s often cool on early morning flights. You can wear a swimsuit under your clothes or change in the restrooms at the put-in.
CAMPING EQUIPMENT ~ Canyons provides comfortable two-person dome tents at no charge. We assume couples or siblings will share and single folks will have a private tent. Let us know if it’s not obvious how many tents to bring for you or your group. You’ll have the opportunity to choose your tent site each afternoon. The tents are easy to erect; your guides will show you how and will be available to help if necessary. Guests often sleep under the stars, and just use their tent for changing. For a $35+6% sales tax rental fee, Canyons can provide sleeping bags. You are welcome to bring your own if you prefer; make sure it’s rated to 32 degrees. Canyons’ bags are rectangular with full-length zippers. Two can be zipped together for a cozy double bed. We provide 2-inch thick paco pad sleeping pads, complimentary. You are welcome to bring a Thermarest to add on top for an extra cushy bed if your body requires it.
HOW TO PACK ~ We suggest that you bring your things in a lightweight duffel bag. We’ll provide you with a 16” x 33” waterproof bag that’s clearly and individually labeled so that you can find yours again each day. You can either slip your duffel bag directly into the waterproof bag or unload your clothes in the bag (stuff sacks work well to organize things). Ideally, the waterproof bag will hold your sleeping bag, pad and the majority of your clothing. We have extra emergency storage if necessary. This big bag will be strapped to the raft and will be inaccessible during the day. We’ll also provide a smaller waterproof bag (Day Bag) for each person to carry things that they might like to get to easily during the day, like sunscreen, hat, warm fleece, raincoat, small cameras, books, etc. For those who are using our small plane flights, each guest is limited to 35 lbs. of luggage…..these small planes must adhere strictly to weight limits for your safety, so please be sure to weigh your total luggage ahead of time. Overweight luggage will be subject to an additional surcharge.
FOOD ~ We guarantee that you’ll be impressed with our menu. Our big coolers and full kitchen enable us to prepare meals that rival fine dining restaurants. Breakfasts and dinners will be served in camp, and we’ll picnic lunch on a beach as we head downstream each day. Snacks are available on the oar rafts all day and as soon as we reach camp. We give everyone a water bottle at the start of the trip and encourage you to drink and refill often. We provide about two canned beers and two canned drinks (assorted juices, mineral waters) per person per day. We also serve red and white wine with dinner. You are welcome to bring liquor or other personal drinks if you wish, preferably in non-glass containers. We gladly accommodate special diet requests and special occasions; just let us know on your reservation form if special menu alterations need to be made. All of the eating utensils are provided and we do all of the cooking and cleanup.
CASCADE OUTFITTERS (Boise): 800-223-RAFT (7238) www.cascadeoutfitters.com
IDAHO RIVER SPORTS (Boise): 800-936-4844 www.idahoriversports.com
RIVERWEAR (Stanley): 208-774-3592 www.riverwear.com
ADVENTURE TRAVEL SUPPLY (web): www.adventuretravelsupply.com