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Things aren't always what they seem. Tom explained that pronghorn antelope grazing on sage by road weren't true antelope but were a different species. In fact, sage they were nibbling wasn't same as sage with which we flavor our food. Pioneers had named plant after deciding it reminded them of European sage that is used as a seasoning. Tom went on to say that meadowlarks we saw were not true larks, either. Is nothing sacred? Next someone will tell me that Douglas Fir isn't a true fir! Guess I'd better not open that "field guide to trees" on my bookshelf.
The last mile or so down into canyon was so steep and rough that it was more comfortable (and faster) for passengers to get out and walk. At Indian Hot Springs, small stream that issues from steep bank is spanned by a small wooden footbridge, and with good reason: if you tried wading it, you'd parboil your feet. The spring raised river temperature just a skosh at our put-in, and that's a good thing. (Remember term "snowmelt?") Full of turkey burritos, we inflated rafts and paddled out into current. For this trip we had four boats: one raft propelled by four paddlers, two rafts rowed by guides using long oars, and an inflatable kayak, which I paddled today. Its maneuverability makes it a lot of fun, although smaller size of craft renders it more vulnerable to big rapids.
The gorge soon narrowed into a stunning slot canyon, and we hit our first major rapids. Submerged rocks in stream are an ever-present hazard, and one raft got hung up briefly before its driver freed it. As sun sank in west, we stopped to gather firewood for evening's cooking. The Bruneau is not heavily used due to its inaccessibility, so wood was plentiful. Farther downstream we stopped at a nice grassy spot with fragrant juniper trees. The cliff behind provided a good vantage point for a photograph, and soon we were casually talking politics over fresh grilled salmon and fruit salad. Kyle's Dutch-oven pineapple upside-down cake was perfect. He told us how on one trip a guide had proudly flipped his Dutch oven over onto tabletop, only to discover he had picked up wrong one. Tamale pie is a little too liquid to be served that way.
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By Robert LaGrone, Las Vegas Correspondent, Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
Robert LaGrone, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com