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Rafting down the Middle Fork this week I was reminded of the many ways one can experience a place. On a macro level, there is 100 miles of white water rafting down a pristine wilderness river.  Rapids, canyons, streams, trees, and wildlife make up a big picture idea of what encompasses the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. These are the indicators that we use to generally describe a place to our friends and family who have not experienced the trip.

On a micro level, there are named places that make up the history of the river. Individually, these destinations exist within the grand idea of the Middle Fork and are where we create memories with those who have floated down river.  Sunflower Hot Springs remains a special place both separately from the River as a whole, while being a component of the larger whole that make the River an incredible place.

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It was at Sunflower that the Sheepeater Indians would soak the horns of Bighorn Sheep so they could create their bows.  It is also at Sunflower where many of us remember the warm, cascading showers and the multitude of pools high above the river.  It holds both historic significance and memories that create our treasured experience of the Middle Fork.

There are so many unique places along the Middle Fork corridor.  From Joe Bump’s Cabin, down to Earl Parrot’s shady waterfall at Nugget Creek, there is history, natural beauty and incredible memories in endless supply.