I couldn't think of any way I'd rather spend the last of my single days than paddling miles and miles of big Idaho whitewater with 8 of my favorite girlfriends. Kim Becker, Monica Gokey, Susan Hollingsworth and I all got engaged within a year of each other. So, we decided to join forces for the ulimate bachelorette paddle on the South Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. A few days before the trip, I got a message from Susan that said to bring “your big girl panties cause there will be some sick whitewater some sick camping and some sick good times.” I could already tell it was going to be an epic trip.
We met up with a bunch of our favorite ladies (from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California) in McCall, Idaho in mid June and the excitement level was high. The river was running around 5.25 ft. and only a couple of the girls had done it before so we were all really fired up. In the commotion of getting to the shuttle driver's house, the party van from Hood River broke down. Luckily it didn't slow us down for long and within about an hour we had swapped cars, rearranged boats, and dropped the van off with a mechanic on the way out of town. We made it to the river with just enough time to drop off our gear at camp and head upstream for a warm-up run down the EF Salmon before dinner.
The East Fork rocked my socks! I had been running mostly low volume creeks all spring and it felt very humbling to get out on some big water. It was great to fall asleep by the fire that first night surrounded by a bunch of rad women, listening to the roar of the rapids, and dreaming of what was in store for us downstream.
Cheyenne Rogers, Anika Lofts, Kim Becker, Emily McGinty,
Lana Young, Christie Eastman, Monica Gokey,
Susan Hollingsworth, StacyAnn McBain
Over the next couple of days what we found downstream was miles and miles of continuous class IV-V waves trains, giant holes, beautiful wilderness, and great camping. It was unlike any river I had ever seen before. The whitewater was incredible and easily some of the best I've ever paddled. Every day when we got to camp, an impressive amount of food, cocktails, party favors, and costumes would emerge from the sterns of our kayaks. I'm actually amazed at how much fun stuff we were able to cram into our boats for a 4 day self-support trip.
Camping on the SF Salmon
The scenery throughout the trip was amazing. We snuck up on a lot of wildlife including a cinnamon bear and some mountain sheep. Just when we thought the trip couldn't get any better, the river narrowed and dropped into a steep canyon that ended in a rapid called Fall Creek. It was awesome being on the river with so many solid ladies. There were a couple of intimidating hole rides during the trip, but we all made it through successfully with no carnage or swims.
Fall Creek Rapids
To top it all off, Stacy had arranged for a jet boat full of cold beer to suprise us at camp when we reached the confluence of the Main Salmon. The jet boat driver took us on a wild ride up the Main Salmon to Mackay's bar for some hula hooping and volleyball. Of course we were all decked out in superhero costumes for the occasion.
The paddle out on the Main Salmon
It really was the trip of a lifetime. I think Susan summed it up best in an email she sent out before the trip,
"I want to do something for my girlfriends that says how much I plan on being there for you. Marriage can be tough (so I hear). Life is tough (so I hear.) Having solid friends around who can support you in tough times is what makes it possible to get through sometimes. I know this trip means a lot to me, to have these women come together essentially saying that we will always be there for each other."
I couldn't agree more! I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such a top-notch group of badass girlfriends.
I ♥ you girls, thanks for always being there for me, and thanks for being so freaking rad!