It was a Thursday night and I was packing my car with my kayak and gear to make the 12 hour trip to Arizona to get some early season boating in, and a break from the cold Colorado winter. Just then the phone rang, and I found out a friend had acquired a permit for the Salt River Wilderness trip the following weekend. Not wanting to miss out on any boating, I worked it out where I could make the drive 2 weekends in a row. Now all I had to do was get 4 papers done before spring break......So, after a couple of all-nighters of homework, I was on my way to AZ.
The first weekend I got to do a little bit of boating like this fun drop:

However, my weekend of boating got cut short when this came up (click here), and most of the boaters I know in AZ went there. I decided I wasn't quite ready for this to be my first run of the season, and went hiking in the blooming desert with my sister instead.

The highlight of my 2 weekends in Arizona would end up being my return to the Salt River; the very place where I fell in love with whitewater. The Salt River is a magical place for me filled with good memories, good friends, first swims, and lots of laughter. Having lived most of my life in the deserts of Arizona, it is always a pleasure to visit home, especially if I have my boat!
The 12 of us met on Friday morning in Globe, AZ- the closest town to the put-in. After loading up with enough ice, beer and Red Bull for 3 days, we were on our way.
From left: CKS Squad Member Cody, Ron, Ryan, Andy, Dave, Paul, Jim, and Mark. In Front: Aaron, CKS Staff Member Aubrie (myself!), Sky, and Jim.

The first day on the Salt River consists of bouncy wave trains, short class III rapids, and numerous small but quality play waves, such as The Hoodoo Wave:

Cody Howard on the Hoodoo Wave, see more of him at
Dave happily hauling our gear while Sky surfs in the Super Star.
The reward after paddling the first day is the Ledges, a series of nice waves that you can catch one after the other, with an easy hike back up to the top.
Sky surfing the ledges.
Jim and Paul oar the raft under the Salt Banks.
Stopping for lunch on Day 1.

The second day of the Wilderness trip consists of short pool-drop rapids, squirrelly water, and gorgeous scenery.

Ryan on Blackrock Rapid.
Aubrie running Quartzite Falls in her Ammo.

Mark running Quartzite while Aubrie watches in the eddy in case he swims :)

Aaron running the left line of Quartzite.

Corkscrew Rapid- a raft's view.

By far one of the most enjoyable parts of the Salt River Thru trip is warming up by the campfire after a long day of paddling. Well maybe one thing beats that, homemade chicken burritos and chili on a sandy beach. Thanks Paul and Ryan!!

Ron, Aubrie, Ryan, and Sky.
The third day on the river contained classic Sonoran desert scenery and 20 miles of flatwater. The kayakers floated most of the way, knowing we didn't even have to paddle to stay ahead of this raft :)
The Booze Cruise.
Red Bull or beer in hand, we reached the takeout on Sunday afternoon.
The Salt River Wilderness run is a classic desert overnight trip which can take 3-6 days to complete. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has never done it. You might even get lucky enough to see a coatamundi or javelina!
The Crew 52 miles, 1100 vertical feet, and 2 days later.

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