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I recently was very fortunate to paddle one of the best overnight river trips in the world – the Jarbidge and Bruneau Rivers in southern Idaho. A few of my close paddling friends organized the trip and the timing worked out well – we had high water and nice weather. Jeremy Shoemaker inquired about paddling the run in a tandem kayak with his lady. I was happy to offer up my Dynamic Duo for Jeremy and Emily to enjoy this amazing overnighter together.

Emily was hesitant before (and during) the run. She has a bit of whitewater experience, but she didn’t know what to fully expect and she wanted to know what she was in for. She asked for advice, and took the time to make the decision for herself. Ultimately, she decided to join us.


Jeremy was able to load the boat well, taking advantage of the bow, stern, and in between spaces. He also attached a large dry bag to the stern of the kayak. This proved to work well, while also providing him with more back support during our miles of paddling.

The run started fast, with high flows that we don’t see most years. The first dozen miles was narrow with few eddies, a little bit of wood, but mostly straightforward class 2 and 3 rapids. It was very continuous, so we took the run seriously and used a lot of communication to our friends in the Duo, who hung out near the back of our group and with plenty of spacing.

Our second day was a big one – two or three portages and probably seven hours of paddling time. The Jarbidge has a couple of class 5 rapids; our group had no interest in taking these risks in what is already such dangerous wilderness. We worked well as a team and moved slowly but efficiently through the portages.

The first miles of the Bruneau we slowed the pace of our trip down; these are the most scenic miles of the entire trip in my opinion. It’s hard to believe that it could get much better than the Jarbidge but if there is one place to take it all in, I’d say it’s in the initial miles after the Bruneau River starts.

Five Mile Rapid was plenty exciting at the high flows. Jeremy saved the duo from capsizing on at least one, maybe two occasions, with a massive brace. As we finished the final rapids of the trip, Emily was overcome with joy and she seemed very grateful to be able to experience a stretch of river that too few will ever get to see. There were some awesome moments at the end of our trip and the biggest screams and cheers came while watching the Dynamic Duo run the more challenging portions of whitewater. It was a special time on one of the most special trips I can ever expect to be a part of.

I hope you too are making wonderful memories on the water this spring.

-Micah Kneidl