Why We Love the Middle Fork of the Salmon River | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Why We Love the Middle Fork of the Salmon River


The Middle Fork of the Salmon River isn't just a trip. It's something deeper: a journey of no return that makes us bolder and braver. This collection of staff testimonials captures a few personal perspectives that demonstrate why we love the Middle Fork—and often recommend it as a first-time adventure with Mountain Travel Sobek. Interestingly, many who ride the Middle Fork once return with family, friends, and in many cases the next generation of adventure travelers. See you on the river!

Family Memories of the Middle Fork — Anne Wood

"I first did the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in 2004 in high-water. I had such an amazing time, that I returned with my 10-year-old daughter on a mommy-daughter adventure. Being on the river for a week with your children is a special, dare I say changing experience. There was no Wi-Fi, no cellphone service, no TV or laptops, no Snapchat or Instagram. Only the sun, the trees, the fresh air, and the rush of riding the river together. My daughter learned to cast a line, self-rescue, and break down a tent, all in the first day. It was such a rewarding and empowering experience for her, that we returned again with her dad. On my third trip, it was hard to tell who was the real kid—my daughter or her father. It was such a treat for me to put my feet up and relax on the oar boat, and watch my family laughing and hollering in the duckies, high-fiving each other, playing cards in the afternoon, watching the stars at night—we will keep these memories close to us forever."

Ode to The Middle Fork - Richard Bangs

"The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a poem that pours a dream, conveying its riders into realms magical and phantasmagoric. Every environment is touched, from desert to montane to forest, field and fantasy; to the grand, the perilous, the irregular, and the breathtaking. Angels meet devils here. Wildlife is drawn for it fundamentals. People as well, but also for what the Middle Fork does to those who let go of the shore and surrender to the flow and flurry of its feral water. The Middle Fork is about transformation, not transportation. We are all different for a trip down the centerpiece of the Salmon watershed, more connected, more aware, more appreciative.

Whatever one’s personal belief system, the Middle Fork can provide vital perspective and bearings, can feed the springs of reverence and affection, can quicken our sense of wonder, provoke the imaginings of eternity and infinity, and inspire us to great deeds of preservation."


Letting Go On the Middle Fork - Heather Howard

"The Middle Fork was my first MTS adventure. It was also the first time being away from my young family and I was nervous—no Wi-Fi, no calls, no access. Would everyone be OK? Would they survive without me? Suddenly, the Middle Fork became a metaphor for surrendering: surrendering control of daily life, allowing all of us to prove that we could get by, and surrendering every thought that scared me and said "you're not intrepid enough." So I decided to write a list of 100 things that I could let go of over the 100-mile journey. It was a mixture of fears, memories, and losses—some silly, some deep. As I let them go along the way, I thanked them for spurring me to get this far and I left them behind on the river of no return. I felt released. Of course, I still missed my family but I enjoyed every rapid, every waterfall, every quiet moment, and every laugh as though I was enjoying travel again for the first time. When I got home, I promised my family that I would take them with me next time and when my daughter is old enough we'll be there! The Middle Fork of the Salmon River helped me overcome a host of fears and I'm truly thankful to the group of travelers that I was with and the guides who looked after us all."



Poem For Our Middle Fork Guides - Julie McCormack

The bond we shared with the group and guides on our family trip down the Middle Fork was incredible. On the last night we wrote poems to express how we felt—this is the one that the guests shared.


We started as clients and guides,

and through the magic alchemy of the river,

became friends.


We were awed by your quiet (and sometimes not so quiet)

competence and knowledge, your gracious ability to deal with the young and the old,

and everyone in between.


You navigated us through whitewater, river holes, hot springs and heated political discussions;

you kept us extremely well-fed and hydrated.


Guided by your collective sense of humor and playfulness, we all had a blast.

We, as an extended family, became closer on this trip.


So, with sad hearts and soggy clothes, we raise our paddles to you, our friends!

Hope to see you again on the river, or somewhere else in the world, soon!



For more details on our Middle Fork of the Salmon River whitewater adventure, click here!