I did this trip with Eldest a little over 10 years ago, the year he turned 15. At 15, we gave our kids an adventure vacation, giving them a budget and letting them chose an adventure to share with one of us. Happily for his budget, these trips were 50% off at the time and we were able to book cheap flights. Or rather, he was able to book cheap flights. Part of the coming of age event included making arrangements as well as trip planning and budgeting. Was a crazy great 5 days on the river. Kayaking/rafting through wildfires rather added to the craziness, but we never felt unsafe.
The pure, clear, free-flowing river drops 3,000 feet during its 105 mile Idaho rafting journey through the remote and spectacular River of No Return Wilderness, the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states. The scenery, frequent rapids, hiking trails, hot springs, Native rock art and more, make the Middle Fork one of the most coveted rafting destinations in the world!
Beyond the river there was the pitching of tents and campfires shared with other travelers after each day on the river. Eldest had a chance to mingle with a college student on the tour, and interact with the other adults. He was the youngest on the trip. When the shots got passed around the campfire, he looked at me uncertainly. I shrugged and told him to try it if he wanted to. Wasn’t as though he was going to be carded. He got a lot of worldly wisdom from other travelers, hung with the young bridge jumping travelers and tour guides plunging into the water below while I headed to the natural hot springs with some folks my age. I encouraged him to hop into an inflatable kayak to float the class 4 rapids, with other travelers following our lead when they saw this middle aged woman and teenager do it. Two couples were celebrating the 5 year remission of glioblastoma for one of them, something that sadly came back the next year with a final and deadly visit. Bonds were made, with Boise State T-shirt being sent to Eldest to try to sway him to consider going to college there.
One of my favorite trips. Eldest still talks about it. My kind of cruise.