A Typical Day

Nestled in your cushy down sleeping bag, you wake to the sound of the river. It’s the sound of unobstructed snow melt which has made its journey down from the peaks of Banner Summit 3000 feet above you in the Sawtooth Mountain Range. The water has changed from solid to liquid and now navigates its way through creeks and streams. The drainage cumulates to feed the Middle Fork of the Salmon that flows through the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. As you stretch and breathe the fresh, crisp air, you notice the long rays of morning light. The sun has risen over the canyon walls and warms the sandy riverbank.

The distant clang of pots and pans tells you that breakfast is being prepared; thanks to the culinary skills of professional river guides. Eggs Benedict is on the menu this morning. The smell of coffee and Idaho sage wet with morning dew reminds you of what it feels like to wake truly revived. Near the river, Dana Menlove, your yoga and meditation teacher, is gliding over the smooth river rock. She rings the Tibetan cymbals calling guests to the sandy beach for the first yoga session of the day.

Nourished on breakfast and an idyllic morning practice, you pack your dry bag like a seasoned river nomad and prepare for another day of wonders around every bend. Your sunscreen, journal and daypack are close at hand. There is a hike with stunning vistas after the lunch stop. The fish must be hungry. You set up your fly rod feeling lucky.

As you load on to your chosen raft for the day, the guide in the straw hat reminds you the geology in the canyon will be stunning. Melted ice from interglacial periods millions of years ago moved mountains of earth toward the Pacific. The result left incredible granite formations rising to create the Impassable Canyon, the second deepest canyon in North America.

Feet resting on warm rubber tubes, your gaze fixates on the pebble riverbed just below the surface. The water’s clarity speaks to the remote and pristine nature of this country. Your mind ventures, imagining the Sheepeater Indians who made this sacred place their home. You make sure your camera is near by, ready to capture the ancient pictographs. Painted in red on the cave walls, they tell their story.

The three-mile hike after lunch brings you to amazing vistas of rising mountain peaks guarding over twisting river bends. You admire the white, sun bleached spinal discs of a fallen big horned sheep nestled in a patch of purple wild flowers. Along the way Dana points out a surprising number of edible plants and a bald eagle perched high in a snag waits to secure its meal for the day. A long soak and a beverage in Sun Flower Hot Springs is the perfect way to rejuvenate before afternoon yoga.

After dinner, you linger by the evening fire under the clearest display of celestial bodies you’ve ever seen. You count the third shooting star of the night! A quote from the A Guide to The Middle Fork book crosses your mind, “In 1931 Chief Forester in Washington DC signed the proposal to preserve the Middle Fork corridor as ‘primitive area’ siting the intention…‘to make it possible for people to detach themselves at least temporarily from the strains and turmoil of modern existence and to revert to simple types of existence in conditions of relatively unmodified nature so to afford visitors unique opportunities for physical, mental and spiritual recreation and regeneration.”

In sleepy satisfaction you decide to call it a night. Once again listening to the sound of the river, gratitude for this place and the foresight of those who worked to protect it consumes you.

Grant Porter: 208-371-1712
Kim Bennett Porter: 208-841-9593
Dana Menlove: 208-860-8496