Lower Salmon River - Hammer Creek to Heller Bar

Parma

@parma26
.
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
715
For this year's family camping trip we loaded up the ole family truckster and headed for the river, and our river of choice was the Lower Salmon River. We started at Hammer Creek, which is near White Bird, Idaho (not too far from Riggins). Why the Lower Salmon? Because it didn't require a whole lot of planning/roll of the dice to obtain a permit. This stretch just needs a self-issued permit at the put in. Take out for this trip is at Heller Bar on the Snake River near Asotin, Washington. This is also on the edge of Hells Canyon. From put in to take out it's about 80 miles. We hired a shuttle company to move our vehicles to the take out.
This trip would be five days and four nights. The first night is at a campground at the put-in and then four days and three nights on the river.
Our group of 11 included six adults and five kids from ages 10-16. We used a large 12' raft, a 9.5' raft, a two-man inflatable kayak, and a one-man inflatable kayak.

Loading the gear
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It was a busy day at the put in ramp. A good mix of outfitters and us regular folks.
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Here are some shots on the river, most of the rapids this time of year are just fun waves. No big problematic holes or monster raids to deal with. All class II-III, Snow Hole Rapid is listed as a class IV, but still just a fun rapid. Thus a great trip for families. We did make sure kids had to have their parents, and no kids under the age of 10. Only people that ended up swimming were on purpose playing on flat water, or a couple times the one in the single kayak got bounced out...and we laughed.
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Lunch stop
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Kids found a pool with a bunch of tadpoles and baby frogs
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This was the site of one of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians' primary camps.
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When it's time to stop for camp, here's what it looks like.
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And on river trips the food is amazing, here's some chicken and shrimp paella...a weee better than a mountain house.
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Here's another day's meal, london broil with potatoes.
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How do we get such amazing meals? You bring someone that was a river guide for 20 years and has done this millions of times before.
Here's what the kitchen looked like at all our camps.
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We also stopped to check out some ancient rock art from people they estimate from 10,000-12,000 years old.
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Here's what all the gear looks like loaded on the raft.
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Looking back up at Snow Hole Rapid.
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On the final day the Salmon dumps into the Snake River, and the jet boats are now coming thru.
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A fun little waterfall along the Snake River
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And it was cold....but felt good.
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Final day had a lot of flat water, so we hooked up the rafts and traded off rowing.
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At the take out at Heller Bar.
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So there you have it. It was a great trip and memories I'll never forget.

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Mike K

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
823
Awesome. River trips are great fun. And I agree, the food is generally awesome. Especially when you have ex-guides with you! Thanks for sharing. Looks like it was a good trip.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Nice. You've got a huge fam! Nice job coordinating all that. My family can't even go to dinner right in town without it turning into a clusterf**k.
 

Nick

-
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,903
This is awesome. We need more river trip reports on BCP! I'm in the process of buying a raft. This really gets the stoke flowing for next year. :)
 

Joey

walking somewhere
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Awesome! I plan to start doing water trips like this over the next few years. Are permits difficult to get in some places? I know the Salmon is a popular route, but wasn't thinking you needed a permit.
 
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