Celebrating 50 years of Adventure Travel

Letting Go on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

December 14, 2018 by Heather Howard

In 2016, I took my first adventure with MT Sobek. It was a first-timer favorite: The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, snaking its way through Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. But I was a first-timer in a new way, not just to rafting, but to being away from my young daughter and my husband. I was nervous in a way that surprised the once-adventurous side of myself. How could I cope with no Wi-Fi, no calls, no access? Would everyone 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 that 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. I jumped into the river from high outcrops, I realized that my arms were powerful as I propelled myself in the ducky, and I felt rewarded with hot-spring showers and hearty food.

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. See you back on the river!

Heather Howard, Director of Communications MT Sobek

MT Sobek Trip: Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, 2016

About the Author Heather Howard

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