Salt River - May 5, 2010 - First Campground to Highway 188 - Part I

Paddled the Upper Salt River Wilderness from first campground (mile 59.4) to highway 188 (mile 8) on May 5-8, 2010. None of us won a permit in the lottery (or ever have), but Mike called on the date that you could call in to be put on the waiting list for cancellations. He asked what day had the shortest wait and was told that a permit was available for this date because no one had requested it in the regular lottery. None of us had paddled the wilderness section before, and at class IV, it was a big challenge for all of us. It was especially a big step for Ted (12), who ran the whole run in his own boat. From launch to take out, we saw no other paddlers on the river, and we saw no other people after second campground until the take out. However, there was another group getting ready to launch when we did, there was another group derigging at the take out when we arrived, and another group arrived at the take out after we did.

Mike oared our 14’ Baltik raft and Michelle and Gerry (Tom’s GF) rode in the raft. Michelle spelled Mike at the oars at times, and Michelle and Gerry paddled to provide propulsion and to maneuver and steer in tight rapids. Tom Fricker paddled his new Tomcat tandem, Ted paddled the Bandit, Jerry Lovett paddled his Remix 79, Jorge Ramirez paddled his cat, and I paddled our Tomcat Single “the Rocket”. The flow was 1300, 1450, 1500, and 1600 (Chrysotile) and 2350, 2400, 2400, and 2480 cfs (Roosevelt), on the four respective days, which is quite high for this time of year. I don’t know why the flow was so different on these gauges. It did not seem like that much water entered via the side streams. The water was clear and not too cold.

The forecast ranged from highs of 84 to 89 and sunny, and lows in the mid to high 50’s (Globe) with wind with gusts into the low 20 mph range. I slept on the IK and was a little cool the first night in a summer bag with all of my clothes on. The second night we put up the tent, which was a lot warmer, but I had not brought a thermarest, and the ground was too hard for me, so I moved back into the boat. By the last night, I was comfortable outside on the boat in the summer bag without my fleece jacket on. We had a strong head wind on the second day crossing Pete’s pond, and I was concerned whether we would be able to complete the trip in four days. But we made good time on the third and fourth days, which made up for it. We had little wind when we were in camp, which was nice. I could see taking more days to do this section. We did not hike much, and did not have a lot of time to sit around and drink beer until the last night.
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