Snake River Flood paddle

My wife and I returned from a 26 day driving van-camping vacation out to Idaho and Wyoming from SC. We trailered FIVE kayaks and did some epic and memorable paddles. I hope to do some trip reports here which will include McPhee Reservoir in SW Colorado, Palisades Reservoir in eastern Idaho, Lakes Leigh and String in Grand Teton National Park as well as an adrenalin filled ride down a flooded South Fork Snake River in SE Idaho. I lived in Idaho Falls for several years back in the early 90’s and paddled this river many times in my canoes and twice in high snowmelt floods but this was another animal all together. On June 19th which was the finale of our paddle trips in the mountains, we decided to throw caution to the wind and hop into my Wilderness Systems NorthStar 18.5ft Tandem Kayak for a fast and furious downriver venture. Our route was a 28 miler in the “Canyon” section which is far from the paved roads and where rescue would be very tough. The water releases from Palisades dam were at MAXIMUM to keep up with the 180% snowpack peak runoff from several rivers that dump into its southern end. It was running around 25,000cfs and simply a freight train of latte colored water moving about 6 mph. We asked for divine guidance and safety as we took off. Lets just say that 3.14 hours of paddling is all it took to reach the takeout. 8.9mph AVG speed and we were doing very little forward strokes. It was a thrill ride that ended with some really big wave-train water which got us pretty wet,… yet that big beast of a boat was rock solid and perfectly suited for this kind of paddling. I have been paddling mostly whitewater rivers for 27 years but this was my all-time fastest paddle as far as average speed as well as easily being one of my top-5 all-time fantastic paddle experiences.

Sounds like a blast! Glad to have you back home.