Selway or the Highway

Jackson Frishman

Selway or the Highway

An Idaho River Rafting Extravaganza and Review

WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT

What: A long river trip on an incredibly rare river with an awesome group of friends
Where: The Wild and Scenic Wilderness of the Selway River, from Paradise Creek Ranger Station to Selway Falls
When: Meet in Missoula, MT at 6pm June 17, and return to Missoula by 11am June 24
Who: About 13 of us total
What else: email any questions to Dennett Dwyer

WHAT NEXT?

Read the below. There are some logistics, as well as a lot of info on what to bring—this may require some shopping/borrowing/stealing; also, the sooner we have confirmed details from everyone, the sooner we can nail down important logistics like shuttle and food.

LOGISTICS

Travel arrangements and requirements
• Please plan to meet in Missoula June 17, or arrange to be met in Darby (SLC crew).
• Please do not plan to be able to be back in Missoula until June 24th.

Weather
There is a lot of elevation change on the trip. Temperatures could be in the mid-nineties at their hottest, but most likely will hover around 70-80 degrees, with nights in the high 40’s to low-50’s (and the nights will get slightly warmer as we go). Afternoon thunderstorms are VERY common there in June/July.

Shuttle
Rivers go one-way. This means we’ll need to shuttle gear, people, and vehicles from top to bottom and vice versa. The most efficient way to do this is a paid shuttle service, but our total costs will depend on number of vehicles, space in vehicles for people and (heavy) gear, and time (one-way the shuttle takes a full day). This is why meeting in Missoula with time for us to sort this out is essential.

WHAT TO BRING

Key point: space is a concern, but weight is not.

Equipment / Gear
Everyone will be given dry-bag space of set dimensions when we arrive at the put-in on the afternoon/evening of June 18 Couples will consolidate into larger bags, and tent partners can be determined then. Here is what you will need:

  • Mess Kit: BRING YOUR OWN PLATE, BOWL, SPOON, CUP, FORK, KNIFE
  • River clothes: swimsuit, wetsuit/drysuit, river booties (wetsuit booties, NOT water shoes); helmet; PFD
  • Land clothes: pants, shorts, underwear, t-shirt, towel, jacket for chilly nights, hat, socks, rain jacket, optional gloves, long underwear
  • Footwear: heel-strapped sandals for the river/day, durable shoes that would allow you to side-hike, or comfortably sit in camp
  • Sleepery: Sleeping bag and pad. Expect nighttime temperatures in the mid-50’s.
  • Tent: please coordinate who you will share a tent with or if you plan to sleep under the stars or tarp (perfectly viable option)
  • Sunscreen. It is probably wise to plan for one bottle for every two people. We can coordinate at put-in so we don’t end up with 90 bottles of goop.
  • Sunglasses: if they are prescription or otherwise expensive, please be sure to secure them to your head if wearing them on the river.
  • Games: we’ll bring adventure bocce. Would be ideal to have a Frisbee, any travel-size waterproof board games, etc.
  • Safety: a personal first-aid kit is wise. If you don’t have one, no worries: there will be a large group first aid kit. If you have special medications or concerns (eg epi pin) let us know so we can account for space in the group kit (it is important to locate that centrally, versus your personal bag, so any responder on the trip can move as quickly as possible)

Food:
• Jesse will have a full 3-meal menu planned for the night of June 18 (campground) through the lunch of June 23 (takeout), including large-scale snacks such as trailmix. Please plan to bring anything you expect to complement that.

Booze:
• In general, plan to bring your own booze or drugs. Boxed wine is suitable, if the wine is in a durable bag inside the box. If liquor, please avoid glass bottles (transfer to another container if needed). Unfortunately, beer is the worst violator of the space consideration and we will not be able to bring nearly as much as we’d like. The glass rule applies here, too. Be warned: If you are a beer drinker, we will pack this last, allocate cooler space and ration the beer appropriately.

Boats:
• Please only bring a kayak if you plan to hard boat more than 1 day. Rafts will be three oar rigs and one paddle rig. This should be the perfect amount of boat for us to have more beer than normal.

Communication:
• We will have a satellite phone. This means you CAN call your children, wife, or lawyer if you’d like. However, please reserve that for emergency situations if possible. The same goes for in-bound calls. We will know the number for our sat phone by Missoula, in case you need to be reached while we are on the river, but please ask those who have it to use it to not expect to get a hold of you.

COSTS

Costs: Total per-person cost of the trip is currently estimated to be between $250 and $450. We will know more as the logistics and rentals finalize. Most costs will be handled by Dennett or Jesse, upfront. If you purchase something for the group, keep your receipts. If you are bringing a raft, you are not expected to pay into raft rental costs. An outline of possible costs is below.

Deposit: None. We can settle up by Square/check after the trip

Considerations: These are the things that will affect total per-person costs.
Equipment rental
Food
Shuttle
Fees
Repairs

OTHER DETAILS

1. Communism: It’s (dumbly) important that, if asked by ANYONE, we say every one of us has paid an equal amount of money and effort to go on this trip. As a collective. The reasoning is that if one of us is profiting, that person can be fined (massively) for running a commercial trip without a license. In recent years, put-in rangers have become weirdly sneaky about casually asking this question in order to write a citation.

2. Capitalism: As Dennett has probably said a dozen times to all of you folks, this is a trip of a lifetime. For me–as someone who does a lot of these trips every season—it’s a special kind of awesome to do it with not only my family, but also mine and their good friends. I’m stoked. And if you’re not as psyched as me, then just take solace in the economics: to do this river commercially, you’d be paying more than $2,000 per person. I think we can get that much fun out of this.

Allergies/medical considerations: Again: please definitely highlight these ahead of time.

Assumption of risk: It goes without saying, this is a group trip of individuals solely responsible for their own safety. Rivers are dangerous, and so are your friends (esp when they’ve been drinking). We have a lot of qualified first responders on the trip, but they have no legal obligation to help us.

Restricted Access on Clear Creek Lifted

Exciting Day for Golden!

Single-chambered devices allowed

Jefferson County, Co. – Effective at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 1st, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office lifted restrictions that previously limited waterway activities on Clear Creek. The boundaries affected by the order had extended from Jeffco’s western border at State Highway 119, and eastward along the canyon through the city limits of Golden to Vanover Park.

All single-chambered air inflated devices such as belly boats, inner tubes and single chambered rafts, as well as body surfers and swimming were restricted due to the high flow rate of Clear Creek. As the flow rate has decreased, water activities involving those devices will be allowed back on the creek.

Although the risk has diminished, it is still at the high end of the average annual rate, and all users are encouraged to observe extreme caution due to the safety concerns surrounding swift moving water and floating debris.