Big Water, Big Wilderness: Rafting Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River
By Michael Lanza
Standing on the rocky bank of Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River, deep within the second-largest U.S. wilderness outside Alaska, my 14-year-old son, Nate, and I look down at the foaming, frothing, spitting energy of Marble Rapid—the first big whitewater of our six-day rafting and kayaking trip down one of the world’s premier wilderness rivers. One of our guides, Matt Leidecker, points to the rapid’s entrance, where the river makes a hard, 90-degree right turn at a “hole,” a depression where the roaring current recirculates powerfully enough to toss a person in a kayak around like a bathtub toy.
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