Author Norman Maclean once wrote that a river 'has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.' Whatever the message, one of the surest ways to hear it is to live in the wild presence of a river for at least a few days. O.A.R.S. runs six-day trips down Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon, which tumbles through a hundred rapids in a hundred miles. Water levels permitting, the group put in at 5,740-foot Boundary Creek and plunges a heart-stopping 41 feet a mile during the first 25 miles, then surfs and spins through dense forests, grassy meadows, and imposing canyons until the take-out at the Main Salmon.
WHY THIS TRIP: Instead of rushing down the river, this outfit allows plenty of time for hiking, exploring caves, and basking in hot springs.