Friday morning 8:15 we were lulling around in bed contemplating a possible trip. By 8:30 I was saying something like, “If we can’t throw a few things in a bag and go, we might as well admit we are old.”
So we jumped up, threw a few things in our bags. grabbed sleeping bags and pillows and were off. The next thing we know, we are traveling 70 miles into Hells Canyon on a jet boat- waaaaay beyond road access to a remote little spot to go PRIMITIVE CAMPING! And when I say PRIMITIVE CAMPING, I mean- NO electricity, NO cell phone service, NO running water, NO toilets, NO shower, (and thankfully NO mirrors).
And did I mention, we didn’t bring a tent? Well, we didn’t.
If I had known all the civilization we were leaving behind, I would not have gone. And I would probably have nixed the mascara and replaced it with a flashlight. I am really, really glad I was clueless. And it was almost a full moon so we almost had light at night.
Caitlin and Zac and Zac’s parents had been planning this trip for awhile so they did all the food planning. And Zac and Cait- very very thankfully- brought an extra tent to sleep 3- which left Matthias out looking at the stars for his sleeping arrangement while Taite, Andrew and I were in the tent. And did I mention Zac brought an extra air mattress!? Okay, pretty much a huge thrill.
Settled into camp, we took a ride on the boat when one of the engines quit. No worries, because Mark, the jet boat owner, knows everyone in Hells Canyon. When another boat came along, one of the guys jumped aboard to take a look. But no, it could not be fixed.
No worries, Mark just makes a call on a satellite phone back at camp and next thing we know, the part is being sent in to camp by helicopter. No big deal.
Meanwhile, while Mark is working on the boat, some of us hopped onto the other boat and road the rapids right up to the base of Hells Canyon Dam. We had traveled 100 miles by boat. The thrill of being right there below the dam. Wow.
And of course, because I CAN NOT go PRIMITIVE CAMPING without the threat of or actual rain occurring, of course right around dinner time the second night the clouds rolled in. Of course. It thundered, we had lightning, we had rain. And then it stopped and we slept rain free! Glorious!
The next day, we rode the rapids again to the dam and on the way we saw a mother bear with her cub.
And on the way back, a bighorn sheep.
Then stopped along the bank so Matthias could catch a fish.
And some of the more luniacal, jumped out and rode the rapids without a boat.
If you’re going to primitive camp, this is the way to do it. Primitive or not, it was pretty much hard to head back to civilization, to cell phones, to running water, to toilets, to electricity.