We all assemble in the morning at a Hotel in Downtown Boise, Idaho. Boise is a vital, growing town, home base of 14 international companies and about 214,000 residents. From there we’re transported to Redfish Lake lodge near Stanley, Idaho. Stanley is an authentic western town with a dirt main street, false front buildings and wooden sidewalks.
At Redfish we repack and organize before boarding a shuttle boat that takes us 5 miles across the lake to the trail head where we begin hiking near a stream, up a beautiful glaciated canyon, to our first base camp, near “Lily Lake” — a beautiful lake full of lily pads. It’s a favorite watering hole for deer. The weather is usually warm and sunny with fresh clear skies. Before and after setting up camp, we do some orientation and introduction processes, after which we prepare our first meal. And boy, is it delicious!
In the mountains we do some “ropes course” events, and work with rock climbing. We work on a magnificent granite slab that has six “pitches” (a “pitch” is the length of a climbing rope). The first pitch is no steeper than a San Francisco hill and yet here you can practice the basic climbing, belaying and rope skills. Each pitch increases in difficulty until the sixth which is vertical, technical and challenging. You can progress as far as you like. I’ve set up the entire trip so that no matter what your skill, experience level or conditioning, you can participate. Last year every one experienced big personal victories, and five first time climbers made it to the top of the sixth pitch.
For those who choose, we do a “summit ascent” — hike and climb to the very top of a mountain. This is truly a “peak” experience! The individual and group learning is superb. Some years every participant makes it to the tip top! The exclamations of joy, yahoos and whoopees echoed off the distant mountains and valleys!
Even if you don’t choose the summit ascent, everyone hikes as far as the Shangri-La Lakes, high mountain lakes that merit their name. This is a serene magnificently beautiful place of peace. After working up a good sweat getting there, most of us plunge into the clear cold water. A swim never feels better!
There is also time for quiet, peaceful contemplation, meditation or just plain rest.
On day 6 we leave the mountains to transition to the Salmon River system and one of the U.S.’s premier white water wilderness rivers.
We’re met by our river guides where we do a river orientation and float to our first river camp. If we’re lucky (the camp sites are pre-assigned), we will spend one of the first nights near a Hot Springs — a natural hot spring next to the river. After five days in the mountains this is a real treat!
The Salmon rivers are governed and regulated by the Forest Service. Permits are required for float trips. As a result it is still in pristine condition. The camp sites are spectacular — often amongst tall pine trees, with white sandy beaches at the foot of ancient canyon walls. In fact, near the confluence with the Main Salmon River, the canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon.
You will have the opportunity to see Sheepeater Indian pictographs, otter, bear, mountain goats, eagles, and one trip we even saw authentic cowboys fording their herd of horses across the river. We will be entering not just a place, but a time.
You will learn basic river navigation in paddle rafts and one and two-man inflatable kayaks. The teamwork, self-trust, confidence, communication skills and bonding that develops is wonderful, and transferable back to your life in the “real world.” These lessons are powerful references.
On the river we play some joyous learning games that are fun and powerful. You’ll have time around the evening campfire for sharing, story- telling or simply to rest, meditate and enjoy the quiet. Last year we had days filled with outrageous creativity and raucous laughter as well as sensitivity, warmth and deep connections with the spirit of who we are. On year we even saw a spectacular, rare, mystical four hour Northern Lights (Aurora Borealous) show. This is rare this at this latitude. Awesome!
At the end of the river portion we will be transported to one of the area’s many extraordinary and romantic lodges or resorts for a shower or hot tub, celebration banquet dinner, and night’s rest in a real bed. All transportation between Boise and the final lodge, and back to Boise is provided.
The morning after the banquet you will be transported back to the Boise Airport, in time for return flights home. Or you may decide to take advantage of the vacation opportunities in the area.
We will be in or near the first destination resort in the U.S., Sun Valley. It is one of the premier resort areas in the world. There you can extend your trip, if you chose, and plan additional activities (such as relaxing, sight-seeing, soaking in hot springs, golf, tennis, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, soaring, ice skating, racquetball, dining, hot air ballooning and more). I have lived in the area and can assist you with your planning here if you like