Imagine the world’s most famous train, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, arriving on the banks of the most pristine, free-flowing river system in the Lower 48.
But for this flight of fancy on the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River, instead of debarking from a train, guests pull to shore in rafts. Here, instead of porters, adventure guides set up and break down five-star camps and serve locally-sourced, organically-raised Kobe Wagyu Beef on pre-heated stoneware while pouring wines selected from organic and small-source wineries into crystal stemware.
“Expect everything but black tie,” muses Steve Lentz, commenting that he and his wife Annie have transformed the river rafting culture to an over-five-star level that attracts A-Lister’s Stephen Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Mariel Hemmingway, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, to name a few.
Lentz speaks for his company, Far and Away Adventures, making six-day/five-night rafting journeys on the Middle Fork’s 100 miles as meaningful off river as on. With his professional river guides, the river part, he says, takes care of itself as guests encounter an estimated 300 rapids ranging from level II to V.
“The challenge comes off the river. How do we help our guests relax in wilderness which is probably an unfamiliar environment for them and at the same time sustain the crescendo that the river gives us?” poses Lentz.
For starters, there’s a breakfast spread for early risers who can eat a cooked breakfast later if they choose. River music embellishes daily yoga. Moveable organic feasts with local microbrews and wines determine who will nap or hike after lunch.
Formally-served appetizers surface around 7 p.m. and a 4-course, linen-draped, candlelight dinner proceeds before a naturalist discourses with music around the campfire. Portable outhouses with lights, solar-generated hot water for showers and state-of-art tents with elevated beds, flannel linens, carpets and nightstands ensure sweet dreams.
Far and Away Adventures offers interpretation of the rich Native American history and heritage in the Salmon River Basin. Numerous artifacts are evidence that humans have long been a component of the wilderness. They are the artifacts of the Shoshone and Nez Perce Indian occupations, journals of early fur trappers and missionaries, and remnants of early miner and homestead settlements.
Six-day/five-night small group departures for up to 22 guests are scheduled throughout June, July, August and September. Private charter trips are a specialty and can also be arranged.
For a detailed itinerary on this and other programs, please call (800) 232-8588 or visit: http://www.far-away.com/