Upon arrival to the Corn Creek put-in the guides will prepare your lunch. You will be given a Personal Floatation Device (PFD), a safety talk, a Forest Service Orientation and then launch on the river at approximately 1:30 pm. This day provides some excellent pictograph opportunities and mild whitewater. The first nights camp is usually reached by 5:00 pm. We will teach you how to set up tents and dinner will be ready around 7:30pm. Wilderness river trips utilize specific systems and rules with regard to the restroom “groover” as well as camp cleanliness and sanitation. These systems along with packing routines will be introduced and explained at the first camp. The river ‘library’ will also be introduced as a place to further the stories and experience of the Main Salmon.
The mornings start with coffee around 6:00 am followed by a simple breakfast of fresh fruit and yogurt for those wanting an early am boost. A hot breakfast is then served around 8:00 am. We depart camp around 10:00 am. On this day, we will stop at Lantz Bar and learn the fascinating history of Frank Lantz. Frank was a ‘tough as nails’ outdoorsman and Forest Service employee who lived on the bar between 1925 and 1971. Lunch will be around noon. Over the course of the day there are options for side hikes and visiting one of the most magical hot springs in Idaho; Barth Hot Springs. The big rapid this day is Black Creek. Hold On!
River-time is settling in! The whitewater picks up this day including: Bailey, Big Mallard & Elkhorn Rapids. Get ready to get wet! We can also stop at a unique homestead called Yellow Pine Bar. Here the caretakers often find time to share local history and discuss life living year round on the Main Salmon River. This hardy couple also operates a small and very interesting Main Salmon ‘museum’ in the old blacksmith cabin on the property.
What day and time is it anyway? The whitewater mellows out in this section of river. It becomes perfectly suited, at good flows and upon request, for adventurous guests to try an Inflatable Kayak or a Stand up Paddle board (SUP). Side hikes may include Campbell’s Ferry & the Jim Moore Historic Cabins. Here, Doug & Phyllis Tims, the current owners and caretakers of Campbell’s Ferry, will often share their great knowledge and history of the resilient characters who lived in this remote section of the river. Another fascinating place to stop on this day is 5- Mile Bar and ‘Buckskin Bills.’ Buckskin Bill was a true mountain man who lived in the canyon from 1931-1980. We often stop at this historic place for ice cream and river lore. The German owners that operate this remote and small store, kindly allow river folks the opportunity to travel back in time and take a look into Buckskins dugout home, tools, and hand built fortress. Next we will drift by the beautiful confluence of the South Fork of the Salmon at mile 56. There are additional native pictographs to be discovered along this stretch as well.
You are breathing a little deeper, life’s a bit simpler and the sounds and smells of nature are a bit crisper. This mellower stretch is perfect for floating, inflatable kayaking, and SUP’s. Discover the history of Polly Bemis and the Shepp Ranch. Walk a section of river trail. This will be our last full day on the river. The night brings celebration, reflection, songs and stories.
Taking it all in. There is a solemness to this day and the end of a journey, but don’t drop your guard because the river excitement is not over yet. This last stretch has some excellent whitewater including Chittam and Vinegar Creek Rapids. By lunchtime we will be off the river and slowly re-emerging into life off the river. You will bid farewell to the guides, the Main Salmon River, and corridor. The drive back to Missoula continues through historic western towns and alongside the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers. This is a good time to take a nap and dream of starry nights just spent on the River of No Return.