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I don’t know if I did something right in a past life, but I sure was lucky to get a last minute invite from Jon Fairchild to join an amazing Reno contingency, including fellow JK teammate Ruth Ebens, on a 5 five day adventure down the Selway River in Idaho. Apparently these permits are hard to come across, so when the invite came. . . I jumped at the opportunity. The Selway River has been described as one of the last pieces of unspoiled America. Almost 50 miles of untouched wilderness and most importantly totally remote. No people, no cells phone, no roads. . . totally unplugged.


After over a two hour dirt road adventure, which included moving boulders and sawing through downed trees, we finally got to the put in. We had 3 rafts,11 kayaks,15 people, and a ton on fun. Rumors say it is big water fun, so playboats were a MUST. Day one was a good warm up. Some quality big water Class III rapids and lots of shenanigans. Day 2 may be one of my top 5 stretches of whitewater. Big water and play EVERYWHERE!! There is about 6-7 miles of almost continuous big water class IV and with every horizon line there were multiple catch on the fly waves. I don’t think anyone stopped smiling all day. We found the best camp ever that night and decided to do a layover day. The campsite included waterfall hikes, an eddy survive play wave, and a couple rattlesnakes. We were able to squeeze in a couple hikes and 3 play sessions. . . blunts and backstabs were had by all. It was hard to leave this epic place, but we still had 2 more days of awesomeness ahead of us. And the last couple days were just that. . . more whitewater, more playspots, more great times, and more watching Chris Fairchild try to fly fish.

I’ve have had amazing opportunities to paddle all over the world, but the Selway River, the quality of friends/people who were on it, the beauty of the canyon, and the ability to leave the rest of the world and all it’s craziness behind definitely places this trip in my top 5. Would I go back? . . . in a heart beat.

Always a hard time returning to reality.
Jessica Yurtinus