Paul Beckford’s weeklong rafting trip came up at the last minute. A friend secured a permit for the wild Main Salmon River — a rare feat — and within days assembled plans, including booking a local company to shuttle the group’s vehicles from the put-in point to the takeout.
On the Fourth of July, the five families launched their boats at Corn Creek, a popular put-in on the edge of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, with plans to raft about 80 miles. Six days later, the group of 16 reached its destination at Spring Bar, about 10 miles from Riggins.
Beckford started up the boat ramp to the edge of the road. When he reached the roadway his car wasn’t there.
In fact, only one of the five vehicles the group had paid to be delivered to the take-out could be found. For Beckford, it was a nightmare scenario come to life — stranded without transportation, cell service or supplies.
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“The idea that you’re in the middle of nowhere and your cars aren’t there has always scared me,” said Beckford, an avid rafter.
Beckford soon learned that the same