Day 3:    Stuck in the Mud

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Mud Ado over What?

The next morning the river was still churning muddy, but not with the thick viscous materials from the night before. The state of the river gave the boys a small measure of hope that they wouldn't have to spend the entire day hanging around with the Duncan's.

It's Not Paranoia, if Your Not Alone

In the middle of the night Bone woke and needed to take a "constitutional." The entire time he was standing out by the creek, next to the Trailer, he felt that something was watching him. The next morning he mentioned his story to Mike, who as it turned out experienced the exact same thing when he got up for his "constitutional." Now the "deluxe luxury" trailers that the boys slept in were next to a creek and the main road, and on the other side of the road, is a mountain. In the wet mud of the main road, not more than 20 yards from the trailer, were very large feline footprints coming from the mountain, right by the "Deluxe Luxury" Trailer, down to the Creek. Later in the day Clark told the boys that the name Panther Creek was not an idle name.  This whole episode gave the boys great comfort in knowing that if they had a weak bladder the next night, they stood a fair chance of getting mauled, so,,,   it really isn't paranoia, if your not alone !!

"Good Grief !!!  C'mon Already !!!!"

By 8:30 AM the boys were fairly restless, as they wandered in to the "Restaurant" portion of the Duncan's, they made enough noise until Clark's very dour wife Mary came out from their "bedroom" ( a loft above the restaurant) and said "Guessin' you boys want some coffee."

Mary proceeded to make both coffee and breakfast for the boys, while whining about how Clark dragged her and the family into this godforsaken wilderness. Soon Clark, and unfortunately his grandson rose to join the boys. While Mike and Bone sat at the bar drinking coffee and trying to eat their breakfast, Clark's grandson was running on top of the bar in his stocking feet, jumping over the boys breakfast. Nothin' like dirty socks in your eggs and toast !!

Finally after 2 hours of "family fun time" with the Duncan's, Clark said "I'm guess the River is OK for rafting." Of course his grandson wanted to join, but one look from Mike and Bone, and Clark knew that the boy was not invited. So the plan was for Clark, Mike, and Bone to raft down to the take-out 20 miles downstream, and Clark's moto-crossing son-in-law would drive Clark's pickup truck down to pick them up. Mike and Bone hoped and prayed that by the end of the day, the road would be re-opened to allow the boys out of the clutches of the Duncan's !!!

Bighorn Sheep hiding in the Craggy Idaho Hillside

(On the other side of the river from the Duncan's House)

While Clark was setting up the raft, Mike and Bone spotted a small herd of 5-6 Bighorn sheep, that were grazing on the hillside on the opposite side of the river from Clark's House. All was beautiful and wonderful until the Grandkid ran screaming "What chu lookin at?!!", and scared the sheep away. 

Mike and Bone having "big fun", floating in the muddy North Fork

(See the fun on their faces)

As the boys rafted down the river, a few things became abundantly clear:

Since Mike and Bone didn't want to come back for a fishing trip, Clark was stonily silent during most of the late morning ride. They did stop to enjoy a beer with a local whose property Clark took care of during the winter.

A Very Clear (and Unclear) Meeting of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Salmon River


After 3 hours of quiet water and quieter conversation (to the point that Mike and Bone were dozing off !!), Clark put in for lunch where the still muddy North Fork and the pristine clear Middle Fork merged.

A "Chocolate/Vanilla Twist"

As the boys munched their lunches, they were able to observe where the two branches of the river met and just what a mess the landslide had caused. Afterward the boys hiked around the area to see the beautiful countryside and stay away from Clark.

"Hey, Bone !! Go Ahead have ANOTHER  Donut, Dough-Boy!!"

Mike, jamming on the day

Bone, tryin' to suck it up


Smokey Mountains?

After lunch, back on the river Mike and Bone observed many still smouldering forest fires.  The fire season had been particular harsh due to the uncharacteristically high temperatures that summer. Many of the fires had been severe and as recently as a day before Mike and Bone arrived, a fire fighter (or smoke jumpers as they are called there) had been trapped and killed in a fire. As they continued to float downstream there were smoke jumpers in bright yellow jackets sprinkled sporadically in the  mountains through the valley watching contained fires, ensuring that they did not flare up again.

You can't have more fun than floating in an Icy Rain !!!

As they finished up their lunches the weather took an unexpected turn. It started to cloud up and sprinkle, which caused it to drop from very comfortable 90 degrees to a very uncomfortable 60 degrees in less than half-a-hour. This was great for the smoke jumpers fighting the fires, but pretty darned uncomfortable when you are just sitting in a raft with a sunburn, doing nothing but sightseeing.

The sprinkles turned to a drizzle, and then to a steady icy rain, being sun-burnt without much clothes Mike and Bone began to freeze. By 6:00 PM being thoroughly soaked and numb, the "merry" band finally put in at the last take out on the river.

Fortunately Clark's Pickup Truck had been dropped off, and after a half an hour of helping Clark disassemble the raft, they were finally able to head back to the Clark "Compound." 

Doe !, Ray!, Me!, Fa!, So!, La!, Te!, Doe !!

En route, Clark regaled the boys with stories of the sad locals with their strange lives and drinking problems,  they did get to pull over on two occasions to observe mountain deer and bighorn sheep.


More Bighorn Sheep !!!

A Forlorn Hope

Back at the Duncan's the boys faced a dreary night of rain, and a drearier night with the Duncan's. Hoping to find some sort of escape from that impending horror, the boys pondered walking back to Salmon (25 miles upstream), using the Duncan's motorcycles, the boys drove the 3 miles upstream to check out the landslide.  On seeing the site, the road wasn't just washed out,,,, it was gone !!!  The entire road and mountainside was completely washed out. There was no chance that Mike and Bone could walk back to Salmon, at least not in one day.

Oh My God !!! Not Another Night with the Duncan's !!!

Sadly as the boys arrived back at the Duncan's they faced another night of "family fun". This sad state of affairs was taken to a new level when Mary stated "you boys ate all of your food, we aren't going to serve you no fancy stuff, you'll have to eat what we eat." Which sadly was true, The provisions for Mike and Bone were only suppose to last for two lunches, one breakfast and dinner. So the boys had to share the Duncan's dinner, which were fairly indigestible and greasy tacos, that the boys ate in the "Restaurant" area of the building with Clark, Mark, their annoying Son-In-Law, and the ever-more annoying grandson.

After a less than satisfying dinner, the boys continued their assault on their diminishing supply of canned Bud and Miller Lite (provisions of the trip) while Clark showed them the lamps he made from the bighorn sheen horns he scavenged from the canyons in the area from dead animals. In  an attempt to be polite the boys feigned a degree of interest. But slowly the bad food, beer, and company took their toll on the boys, and around 9:00 PM, they bade their "hosts" farewell and retired to their "deluxe luxury" trailer, all the while hoping not be be mauled before they reached the trailer in the dark.

As the waste of day swirled around in their heads, the horror that it might be another 4 or 5 days until the road opened again provided all the reason for the boys to have a restless and fitful nights sleep.