By Josie Brownell
What was once a wild idea introduced in a winter staff meeting quickly became a reality for most of the Land Trust staff this summer – a six day trip on the Main Salmon River. As soon as one staff member had the good fortune of securing a permit through the lottery system, plans were put in motion.
Over the course of last spring, the idea gradually evolved. The trip extended to include families and friends.
Unfortunately not all staff were able to join, but we still managed to pull together a group of over 20 people, with ages ranging from five years old to sixty, bringing three generations together on the water.
A majority of us were new to each other, and new to the ways of the river, to the methods of maneuvering rapids, and to the soreness after a long day of paddling. But, we learned by doing, and smiled throughout.
We camped on sandy beaches every night and bounced our way through Class IV rapids.
Spirits were high, as the kids reeled in fish night after night while the adults sipped “river margs” and watched from their camp chairs.
Possibly the most exciting part of the trip was stopping at the home of the legendary hermit – Buckskin Bill. It was the ice cream and gift shop that initially drew us to Buckskin Bill’s, but his story, displayed in the museum, was a fascinating bonus.
Being in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the largest contiguous wilderness area in the Lower 48, was a constant reminder of why we do what we do at the Land Trust (The recent acquisition of the Ellis Ranch Easement is good news for Salmon River fans.)
The canyons changed every few miles as we slowly floated past. From dramatic rock formations to high desert, our rafts were the perfect platforms to witness the subtle beauties of this relatively untouched wilderness surrounding us.
This trip served as a vacation for all, and for the Land Trust staff it was a time for us to enjoy what we strive for every day in the office – open, untouched land that we can enjoy and appreciate with friends and family for years to come.
How lucky we are to have spots like these at our fingertips.