Middle Fork of the Salmon, ID

Permit season. Not the line-reeling salt water version of a Siamese Tiger, but the nervous anticipation of the Four Rivers Lottery for multi-day trips through millions of acres of publicly-owned wilderness. It’s the kind of thing that hopeful river runners dream of, and once you land one of these coveted permits, the kind of thing that river runners have to hold close to their chest; not because they’re greedy, but because it is indeed like winning the lottery, and everyone becomes your best friend and wants an invite.

There’s a lot of preparation that goes into a trip like this; it’s committing, both in gear, risk, and in keeping everyone happy for as long as you can. Great weather helps, great company is the trip leader’s responsibility. Group dynamic is paramount. Set the tone early, everyone has responsibilities, no-one is above cleaning the groover or doing dishes. Groover? Yes, the polite name for using a Leave-No-Trace toilet in the wilderness. The Three P’s – privacy, proximity, and panorama. Where you do number two is part of the experience.

This was my first run on the MF, and it was an amazing trip. By the way, did you get a permit for this year? We’re friends, right?