Payette River Idaho

Cascade Kayak and Raft
After a night in Boise we made our way up the road to visit our friends the Longs who run Cascade Raft and Kayak on the Payette River near Horseshoe Bend Idaho.  Tom and Debbie Long started Cascade about 20 yrs ago and run the premier whitewater rafting business on the river as well as a first class kayaking school.  One day we hope to visit their winter digs in Picon Chile. For the past several summers we've made our way here so that Ben could spend a week at Kayak Camp and I could enjoy myself camping along the banks of the Payette at the Long's private camp just north of Banks Idaho at a rapid called Otter Slide. This year because of our plans to do the Junior Olympics, we skipped kayak camp but instead chose to paddle a couple of runs on the Payette and explore some of the other sights in the area.  We had hoped to do the South Fork as well but high water kept us away.

Three highlights of our trip
Running the North Fork CA Barton Section of the Payette.   This is a beautiful class III section of the Payette that finds it's way through a deep canyon, that feels far away from civilization.  Lots of fun big bouncy rapids, wildlife and birds.  Ben's broken arm kept him out of the kayak that day so he joined one of the rafts. I was ably guided by one of Cascades co-owners Kenneth Long . The day for the most part was a real confidence builder for me, hadn't done a ton of paddling yet in the season and big water was initially a bit intimidating.  I did really well until the last big rapid of the day flipped me and the wall that I was flushed into kept me from rolling up. Took about 20 minutes to get me and boat re-united. 

Zip Lines
Ben has been bugging me for years to go zip lining.  We'd seen this place in years past while at Cascade but never had time to do it.  It was great fun.  They are very safe, and amazingly fun, and not really scary after the first one.  You are clipped on in two places at all times and the guides are at each end to make sure you don't have a mishap. Here's a short video of one of the lines.  

Crouch Idaho for July 4th
We'd been asking everyone, "what should we do for the fourth of july".  There was only ever one answer...You must go to Crouch.  Crouch is a town of about 200 up in the mountains, that swells to around 2000 every July 4th as folks from far and near descend in a fireworks free for all the likes of which I have never experienced.  Basically after the traditional street fair, parade, watermelon eating etc.... as dusk approaches, everyone gathers in several rather large circles with their bags and boxes of fireworks in hand.  The only off limits area is inside a chalkline drawn about 10ft from the gas pumps in the middle of town. Other than that the main street fills.  In relatively orderly fashion 4-5  people at a time go out into the circle and ignite their fireworks and then move briskly away before the explosion.  This goes on for literally hours and the intensity and illegality of incendiaries increases as night falls.Firefighters, sherrifs and EMTs posted amid the crowd mingle casually around the perimeter disregarding all but the most dangerous and life threatening incidents--of which there are inevitably a few--including one of the female Cascade guides who doesn't know that you are supposed to let go of the roman candle (not a sparkler) which only catches a little bit of her hair on fire.  At around 10:30 the city fireworks show begins and tries to compete with the unofficial version.  We left around 11:30 and things were still going strong.  As we arrived back to our camp we noticed that both of us smelled like sulfur and were suffering a ringing in our ears.  A fourth of July we'll never forget.

July 5th.
Ben chose to spend the day helping out with the school at Cascade while I took a day to do laundry and reprovision for the next leg of our trip.

July 6th --Headed to the Tetons

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