Getting Less is Getting More in Idaho

Written by guest blogger Jamie Cooper.

In these economic times, family adventure vacationers may ask, “How can I get more for my money?” But for some of us – maybe a better question is “How can I get less!” Certainly less cost is one parameter, but what about less of the stuff we have to deal with every day? Less traffic. Less people. Less headaches. Less stress. Less hassles. And less is more. More time with your family. More time to think, slow down and just breathe in what we have more of. More mountain air. More natural beauty. More time to soak up what vacations are all about, relaxing.

Five families, a giant pile of kids and a pack of dogs and we set out to explore, via rafts, the lower Salmon River. We ran a self guided trip but there are several great outfitters that can take your family down this river. I have spoken to or know several of them and there isn’t a bad choice in the bunch.

The lower Salmon is a slice of heaven. The water is a bit warmer than the average Idaho River, which makes jumping in and cooling off fun for the kids. For the most part the water is easy to manage, which makes this a great trip for the family. The outfitters mentioned in this blog can advise you on age ranges and other details regarding children on this stretch of river. Our youngest, age 4 at the time, walked around China, one of the bigger rapids, which is always an option. The kids couldn’t wait for Snow Hole, which became something of a legend along the way. The beaches are beautiful white sand, the fish bit and the food and company were legendary. Each night we had a different game for the kids to play and then we all passed out for an evening under the stars. As a bonus, we happened to make our trip down the river during an amazing meteor shower.

On our trip we were also able to tie in a jet boat finish, up the Snake River to Pittsburg landing, which was a huge hit with all the kids. Overall, this trip was a fantastic get away on the river with some fun time before and after in Riggins and McCall too.

For my money, getting away from it all for a few days without my cell phone, a TV, a computer or even an old fashioned paper newspaper is the most relaxing thing I can do. And when I am relaxed, I bet I am probably a better Dad and husband. Less means no distractions as you navigate the natural beauty of a river that carves its way through ancient canyons. Nothing to get in the way of catching a few fish or spotting a mountain goat scurrying along a cliff. Nothing on your calendar to keep you from enjoying great friends and a few good laughs around the campfire. And an open ticket to approachable family adventure that all ages can enjoy. The only “screen” you will see will be the one where the stars light up the night sky.

Idaho is all that and less. It is not more. It is less. And in this busy, busy world, less may be what it takes to build those memories that will last a life time.

For more information on the Salmon and Lower Gorge, check it out here.

  • Karen Jensen Fitch Ballard

    Nice Jaime, what month did you go on the trip and how many days did it take? 

  • Jamie Cooper

    We went in mid August which makes the water more manageable. We launched on a Wednesday and finished Sunday. I think the outfitters have several options on the duration of trips though. 

    Several of the families on the trip said this may be their best family vacation ever. It is an idyllic adventure.