April showers bring May flowers, right? Well in Hells Canyon- the nation’s deepest canyon, the wildflowers start popping up in March/April. So, getting a little Snake River rafting action in April means that there will be wildflowers galore! The weather is also very mild and it can offer a much needed “Spring Break” from the constant fluctuation in weather that an Idaho spring time can bring. So, when asked to take some guests into Hells Canyon for some shed hunting and lots of hiking, we of course said yes! We were ready to get in and see that marvelous Snake River rafting canyon in all it’s glory.
The plan was for a 4-day 3-night Snake River rafting trip. The guys were taking only one boat: Babe the Big Blue Ox and would plan on rowing downriver at a pretty good speed in order to get from one spot to the next. The guests would be hiking and shed hunting, in hopes of finding all the recently dropped elk and deer antlers. The morning of the launch was very chilly, in fact there was frost on the boat as we poured our second cup of coffee before heading out to load up in the truck. The drive into the canyon started in the dark, but we knew that once we dropped into the Snake River the temperature would start to climb, making the water seem just a bit more friendly. When at the ramp, we waited patiently for the sun to make it’s appearance (the Canyon walls are very steep, meaning it takes a bit for Mr. Sun to shine down) but once the sun hit us, the day was off to a great start!
The crew hit the water in a hurry and headed down river, they had places to hike and sheds to see. I was voted in as the shuttle driver, so I enjoyed my leisurely drive back to the Boat Shop and then 3 days later headed out in the early afternoon to pick the trip up from Pittsburgh Landing. The drive to Pittsburgh is quite possibly my favorite shuttle- you get to see so much beautiful country and on the way home hear about all the Snake River rafting, it’s almost as good as being on the trip! But, somebody has to drive and I don’t mind one bit! The trip was a success, the guys got lots of sheds, not as many as they had hoped. The sheds (and the wildlife) is seated very high in the canyon right now, we didn’t get as much snow as normal, so the animals weren’t pushed as far down into the canyon as we would have liked. But, that’s ok, the trip was great, the weather was good and there were only a few blisters due to the extreme gains in elevation (the guys were hiking to about 6,500 feet) a couple times per day.
There you have it, first trip of the season was a success, we’ve got the bug and are now more ready than ever for summer to get here!