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In our first quarter at World Class Academy, we were lucky enough to receive a permit for the Lower Salmon. The Lower Salmon consists of 60 miles of a pristine river, weaving in and out of deep gorges. It wasn’t the most challenging section of river as it consisted of class II-III read-and-run whitewater. But, the copious amount of eddy lines, surf waves, and splat walls, along with warm water, made it a blast to paddle. With it being super-low consequence, we experienced nothing but joy paddling over the entirety of the trip. The Lower Salmon is usually a three-day trip but, we decided to log every day of our permit on the water, and make the trip six days. We planned on completing 10 miles a day. Yet, towards the last days of the trip, we needed to pick up the pace if we were to make it out on time. We spent too much time having fun on the water and prioritizing good campsites over miles; the first day we only made it about 5 miles, camping at the first sandy beach in sight.

Photo Credits: Kalob Grady

We had two 12ft rafts between the 24 of us on the trip (16 students, 7 teachers, and 1 raft guide). All of us had varying levels of experience on overnighters; some of us have completed many, but most of the group had little to no overnighter experience. This trip was the longest overnighter I’d ever done. We all learned a lot from each other about the ins-and-outs of multi-day river trips.

Photo Credits: Riley Gardner

To many of my fellow students dislike, school was not canceled for the week we spent in the Salmon. We packed up the whiteboards, notebooks, and pencils on the raft and made the sandy beaches of the Lower Salmon are classroom. Doing school on the overnighter wasn’t much different than how we do school outside the Salmon (except for not having computers). It made class more exciting and interesting. Environmental Science class gained the most from class on the Salmon, as they were able to study geology first hand by identified different types of rock formations on the river. Doing school in the river for a week straight was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and is an experience that I will never forget.

Photo Credits: Kiah Shaepe

After the sun had set we enjoyed messing around on the beach, playing cribbage, and stargazing. With a combination of smoke earlier on in the quarter and the light pollution back home, I hadn’t properly seen the stars in at least six months. I love looking at the stars, and being able to see hundreds of them in the sky for a week straight only made the trip more magical!

I believe that everyone should experience some form of a river multi-day in their lifetime. There’s something to be said for being immersed in nature and living out of a pack. If you’re interested in mule-day adventures but, have little overnighter experience, the Lower Salmon is the river for you! There’s a plentiful amount of sandy beaches to camp on, and the whitewater is heaps of fun and very manageable to navigate. I want to one day take my family down the Lower Salmon and share the experience that is a multi-day adventure!

Happy Paddling,

Photo Credits: Kalob Grady