After years with no luck, one year where I had to cancel, and one year where I was blacklisted for cancelling, I've finally gotten a Middle Fork of the Salmon permit! This is an early season trip, right when the river should be peaking and at its very best. The Middle Fork is by far and away my favortie river. At high water, the surfing can't be beat and the setting is pristine. I first did the Middle Fork about 10 years ago [photos]. That was an early season trip, too. The first few days were pretty miserable -- on shore that is. The river was awesome. Our group had decided to forego group meals in favor of individual autonomy. Being kayakers we had things like uncooked ramen, oatmeal cookies, coffee nips, and tequila. The rafters were having exquisite four course meals. The tequila was lost early on when somebody decided to put it in an eddy to "cool it down". I thought we had it bad until we reached Sunflower hotsprings. A group of self-support kayakers were in the Sunflower campsite and we were camped across the river. They looked miserable huddled under tarps eating uncooked ramen and oatmeal cookies. Hell, at least we had TENTS, the heathens!