Storm on the Salmon

And Flood on the Snake

By Ray Brooks

After a winter of drought, the Salmon River was running unusually low in late June 1994. My wife Dorita and I had discussed doing a multi-day Fourth of July whitewater rafting trip, and checking the flow on the Lower Salmon below White Bird, I realized it was low enough to get past a huge rapid named Slide, which is run only by fools or folks who savor Class V rapids at flows greater than twenty thousand cubic feet per second. No permit was required, and we needed only to find available competent rafter friends to team with us.   

I had last rowed the Class III Lower Salmon back in 1982 but remembered few details of the trip, since I was with a group of hard-partying Alaskans. An Idaho friend who lived in Alaska promised free everything on the trip for me, simply for rowing a raft-full of his Alaskan friends down the river. We ran out of drinking water and pop on the trip, but our leader had provided beer for the hot August float. I had never done beer-drinking to stay hydrated and have not since. Of course, the Alaskans thrived on their beer diet, or claimed to.

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Ray Brooks

About Ray Brooks

Ray Brooks is a native Idahoan. Beyond retirement age he remains an active rock-climber, river runner, and hiker, who keenly appreciates Idaho history. His climbing career started in central Idaho in 1969. To support his outdoor habits, he worked on Forest Service helicopter fire crews, was a Middle Fork Salmon boatman, ran an outdoor shop in Moscow, and became a sales representative for outdoor gear.

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