We woke up high on the cliff above the Middle Fork of the Payette and decided to head to the south fork and try our luck on a backpack/packraft adventure into the Sawtooth Wilderness. The fact that it also happened to be along the Idaho Centennial Trail was an added bonus, and oh so convenient.
By the time we made it to Geandjean, the trailhead up the South Fork of the Payette, it was about noon, and a hot sleepy Tuesday afternoon. There were almost no people about, which was awesome for the middle of the summer. We repacked our backpacks and packrafts with 4 days of food and the hope that we would be able to float at least 5 miles until the river canyons up and becomes waterfall and wood-ladened. Something Kirk was looking forward to seeing. He has wanted to boat/packraft the south fork for a long time, and here we were.
Hot hot hot start to the trail. We walked up about 5 miles, deciding to go for our chacos for the river crossings at Baron Creek and Goat Creek. The river looked tranquil and full of wood. It would be a float on blue-green water through a very green valley. As the canyon started to gorge up we decided to drop our boats and paddling gear to pick them back up for the packraft out. It wasn’t long before we saw a portion of the river forced into a narrow slot in the granite and found a sweet little campsite in view of a massive pour-over. We set up camp, took snacks and the can of PBR i had packed up, and sat with our legs dangling in the water on a big slab of granite.