Middle Fork of the Salmon - Boundary Creek
Day 1 (6.5 miles) to Big Bend Campground
At 9:30 AM, the drivers left for Stanley and returned via bus, 3
hours later. By this time the rafts were loaded and all boats
were down by the water. A huge wooden slide drops 60' down to
the river at the Boundary Creek Launch site to get the rafts on
the water. The ranger checked us out, and we left about 40
minutes later at 1:30 PM. 2.6' is plenty of water for kayaks and
canoes, but it is starting to get tight for rafts. At 2.2 feet,
the Forest Service prohibits rafts from putting in at Boundary
Creek (they must fly into Indian Creek, 26 miles downstream). At
this level, the kayaks need to stay behind the rafts, because
they will get stuck on numerous rocks and need help to get them
off. There are lots of surfing waves and play holes to keep the
kayaks occupied. On the first day, the Middle Fork is a small
river, almost a creek, winding though a heavily forested canyon.
Sulfur Slide Rapid is a wide and rocky class III drop with no
holes and moderate haystacks.
Velvet Falls is a 4' pour-over
into a large hole on river right that is not seen until you are
right on top of it. A fairly easy route on river left will avoid
most of the hole.
We pulled off the water at 5:00 PM. Don and I
went fishing and caught a 13" Rainbow and several smaller trout.
Big Bend Campground is right next to the water, with lots of tree
cover. A very rugged and jagged ridge looms high over the river
on the opposite bank. Fast riffles in the river in front of the