Jeff called and the trip was on ! It was Thursday and we had till monday to go to Idaho and paddle 70 something miles from the headwaters of the secesh turning the corner and paddling the 30 mile south fork salmon canyon to the confluence of the main and out 20+ miles to Vinager creek. The water in Idaho had been high and the Idaho boys were running things huge over there this year and as we were watching gages jeff was confident we would have good water. Not having enough water was not my concern... having too much water was the likely. So with our time crunch and my dedication to my habit I called in sick to work and we bailed for Idaho. We made the drive to Mcall and crashed at Jared Alexanders house who was going to be our guide down the secesh. Jared is a big water local legend who just ran the Payette at 8,000cfs and loves big ass water. The next morning we wake up and load our gear. A friend calls Jared and we have one more joining us, Boyce the owner of Liquid Logic Kayaks. So that makes four for a solid crew. Jared and Boyce would paddle with us down the Secech to 5 miles above the SF salmon to the only road out before Jeff and I would paddle down the remote SF canyon on our own. On the way to the put in we drove through the hills on a dirt road and stopped at a bridge where the Secech was flat meadering through the meadows. This was the last piece of flatwater I would see for three days. Jared looked at the gage and said with disgust " ah man, 4.6 this is the lowest I have ever paddled the Secesh" Im thinkng good, low.
Once we got up into the mountains we came to the put in on the other side of the meadow where the Secesh flowed off the other side of the pass into the mountains we could see in the distance. Packing quickly because the shuttle driver was taking our rig I forget my spare paddle and some food. Minor loss for three days. I jumped in my boat with gear in back and my sleeping bag between my legs and had a good couple of miles to get used to my loaded creek boat. The flat water soon tilted down hill and we seemed to be paddling on about 1,000 cfs with all the tribs coming in the flow would double by the time we dumped into the South Fork canyon at what we thought was around 7,000 cfs. Felt like 12,000 in some spots. The Secesh picked up gradient and water and the next 15 or so miles was non stop continuous read and run class IV-V following Jareds yellow helmet bashing through holes and twisting around blind corners. Once we got into the canyon the water was healthy and I thought it looked like Icicle creek at high water. Infact It was juicy, not to high, but it had plenty of water. If this is low I wonder what high looks like I asked Jared.
This was the only portage on our whole 70 +mile trip as we made our way into the canyon.
With Jared routing us through most everything on the river the only scout we had was a crux move in the miracle mile. The miracle mile was a mile or so of stacked class V whitewater. At this point my loaded creek boat became my friend not my enemy with its weight carrying me down stream punching holes I didn't want to stay in.
Jeff coming through the end of the miracle mile.
After the miracle mile the river let up in grade but not in gradient. Here is a calm section of the Secesh as we flow down stream catching one eddy in 5 miles. In all we had one portage one scout and only five eddy's were caught on our 15 + miles of class IV-V blur of whitewater. Thanks to Jared and Boyce for leading I feel we would have been on the river a lot longer if we were on our own. Stunning scenery and hands down some of the best paddling I've done. The Secesh felt like rugged remote Idaho and we were only getting deeper into the canyon about to get into the big water.