Kayaking in Idaho (with kayaks on the wings!)

Kayaks on the Wings?

Kayaks on wings

Good friend Graeme and I flew out to Idaho for some kayaking, and we had some fun making a unique video trip report:

In short, the whitewater was great, the hot springs were fantastic and it was a great trip.

One of many hot springs
One of many hot springs
South Fork Payette (the canyon run)
South Fork Payette (the canyon run)
Fantastic Idaho plane-camping at Garden Valley airstrip
Fantastic Idaho plane-camping at Garden Valley airstrip
Not sure if those kayaks really fit in there
Not sure if those kayaks really fit in there

4 thoughts on “Kayaking in Idaho (with kayaks on the wings!)

  1. Another good video. Keep em coming! Uh, the plane you borrowed needs a new back window….. the sides are milky too!

  2. Hi Ney!

    Just found your site. I love it! My gal and I are mid/late forties, love mountain and road biking around the west, backpacking, and (soon) kayaking (just bought a pair). I am just a year+ into life with my PPL after a lifetime of being an aviation buff. I bought a 1/3 share of a Piper Dakota (Piper’s 182) in early 2012 before I even got my PPL, and I am still under 200 hours at this point. Just IFR. The Dakota is no T210 or T206 (two dream platforms for me), but it is working very well for me now at a very low cost. It is surprisingly roomy and easy to load with the rear seats out, which they usually are, and it carries a pretty good load, if slowly. As for us, I make my living with a summer lodge on Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes, and Kerith is in Financial Services running the Northwest for an East Coast Company. Our home base is on a hill in west Marin and the a/c lives in Petaluma, about a half hour away. I have two boys, 14 and 17, still in high school in Marin. The 17 year old is already making money filming for MTB competitions and MTB suspension companies all over the West. He just returned from Crank Worx in Whistler. Unfortunately we could not go. Too much going on with work. No inaugural trip to the Burn in the Dakota this year either. Nor to Osh Kosh. Nor to the RAR. Very disappointing. We did get to Glacier Park for the first time this July, but the WX made us fly commercial at the last minute. Wow. It was stunning. Like your daughter, my niece goes to Cal Poly, and I am looking forward to visiting her there by air soon. Flew over it while taking my 17 year old to SBA to check out the school there in April. I like a school that is walking/biking distance to the airport! In general, Kerith and I are loving taking the bikes out to wherever we can in the Dakota and riding for transit as well as pleasure. We sometimes go by ourselves (eg. Shelter Cove and Little River) and sometimes we go to organized bike rides (eg. Chico Wildflower and Solvang Century). We were all set to fly to Moab to MTB in March, but the WX did not cooperate, so we did Death Valley and Joshua Tree instead. Lots of good practice getting into those airports in very severe wind. (Went straight to the 19th hole.) Great places to bike, but not Moab, for sure. Your website is a revelation! We have been to a few of your destinations over the past year and a few others before we could fly, but we will be reading your adventures online and stealing liberally going forward! I would love to have contact with you directly to exchange information. I would also really enjoy meeting you sometime. You would be welcome at the lodge if you ever get back that way between late May and early October (our season). We can help with ground transit as well. We were all set last Sunday to do a 70 mile ride with the local cycling club in Mammoth, but T’storms were forecast for later in the day, so we had to fly back to the Bay on Sunday morning instead and missed the ride. Bummer, but what a beautiful smooth flight it was at 8 am. Someday I want to get out of MMH at first light to see the colors. I would love to experience the ‘eastward plunge’ out of the Sierra crest you described, but so far I have been extremely cautious in my Sierra flying. I stay high and well away from the pointy stuff if possible. 😉 Mammoth Pass is about the extent of my high elevation flying. Anyway, this is a long book. Forgive me. I am just a bit excited. I am really looking to find folks that combine the love of flying with the love of physical activity while exploring nature. We are probably more mellow than you guys about our physical challenges, and we are not danger seekers, but we do love the outdoors and getting out and moving in them! If you like, please drop me an email or a text (see below). Keep me in your phone if you ever find yourself in the North Bay (year round) or Mammoth (summer months). Are you in Placerville? Love to talk Sierra flying with you sometime.

    Best, Derek.

    Derek Johnson

    1. Hi Derek,

      Thanks for the wonderful note. By chance we are heading out to Glacier NP this weekend for our family vacation. We’ll drive around a bit, but also fly into Schafer Meadows USFS airstrip. I’ll have minimum fuel and just backpacks for everyone to keep the weight down, although shouldn’t be a problem.

      We do get to the Mammoth area, as you’ll note the latest adventure of last weekend was climbing Laurel Mountain across from the airport. We will absolutely give you a call and stay at the lodge next time we are in the area – it looks wonderful from the website. It would be fun to meet and swap stories.

      You say you haven’t done a lot of high altitude mountain flying, but Mammoth Pass is the real thing in my book. Weather, winds, no place to land, etc. A friend flys the west side from Placerville and then over Mammoth Pass, while I typically head up over the high country to hit 395 then fly south. I think they are about the same in terms of safety.

      Anyway, let’s definitely get together some time. Regards, Ney

      1. Thanks, Ney!

        I just showed some of your adventures to my family tonight, which amazed and delighted them as they do me, and then I apologized for not raising them with similarly spectacular adventures. It’s a high bar you two have set! But it’s not completely too late, so thanks for the inspiration! The Dad is finally up and flying! We loved your climb last weekend out of Convict. We must have just missed you at MMH. We were there from Wednesday until we flew out Sunday morning at 0800. And we were blown away by the Lee Vining fly/ride/climb/ski story and photos. You two are amazing. You must run serious miles to stay so fit. They should do articles about you in the Eastside magazines with their big 4-color glossy photos. Have you seen them? Anyway, thanks for the nice reply. I would love to exchange emails with you and pick your brain about a few subjects from 210s to Go-Pro Mounts to mountain flying. I can keep them brief, contrary to the posts here. Happy to trade out a free place to stay in Mammoth and/or transit for your expertise. Also been meaning to come up and see Pilkington at PVF, so maybe I can see you at the same time. Meantime, cheers to you and your family! And thanks again for sharing….


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