As usual, I have run out of time.
Of the many things I listed as necessary to do before leaving Lewiston, only a few key pieces have been put together. Heavy duty tubes for my cart tires, a serious re-ration, and fresh beer and hamburgers.
I have dallied in town, reluctant to leave and face the long canyon to the south. It will be the most wild stretch west of the Continntal Divide, and certainly the most challenging. I have spent more time determining the validity of the next 100 miles of my route than any other by far. So far as I can tell, it goes. Much of my time in Lewiston has been spent calling and visiting outfitters and picking their brains on portage routes, eddies, and the dynamics of each rapid (though I won't be even getting near most of the rapids- not in the spring, and not alone). Enough lining and portaging to fill a lifetime.
Chances to bail out if things get hairy are few, but several do exist. Hell's Canyon is the deepest canyon in North America and a famous downriver run. Going up it, my expedition skills and judgement will be well excercised. I plan on only a few miles each day, for a 12 day ascent of 109 miles, and the remaining 90 miles of flatwater above Hell's Canyon Dam in 4 days. It will be a slow and methodical problem solving session followed by a flatwater sprint into the first upstream town.
So that's all for now. The time to start dragging my boat down to the ramp has come. It is 42 degrees out and drizzling. The river is flowing at 20,000 cfs, relatively low. Expect the next update in 2-3 weeks from Weiser, ID.