Successful. Ahh! Just the sound of the word makes you feel good. And well it should. One of the dictionary definitions is: “Having attained wealth, position, honors, or the like.”
In mid-February, boaters who want to float one of Idaho’s four permitted river sections - Selway River, Middle Fork Salmon River, Main Salmon or Snake River in Hells Canyon - start watching their mailboxes for a card or letter from the US Forest Service. They’ve entered the lottery for a permit to float one of these premier river sections. You can put in four choices of dates, but can get only one permit.
You grab the notice and the result is there in black and white. Your four dates are listed and each is followed by one or two words - “Successful”…or “Not Successful”. Four Not Successful’s is a total bummer. Hope is dashed, morale is lowered. Phone calls and emails are placed to boating buddies, “Did you get your lottery notice? Did you get drawn? All right! (or Rats!)” “Not Successful” - those words really mess with your self esteem. We should petition the Forest Service to use gentler, more life affirming language. After all, we boaters are a tender, sensitive lot.
Ah, but a Successful, now that’s a different story. Shouts and huzzahs. Images of rapids and campsites pass before your eyes. You’re already making mental lists and figuring out who you want to invite. A Successful can turn a crappy day into a great one and a good day into a superb one!
Just this last weekend I got my notice and this year I’m Successful! Main Salmon toward the end of June. Already I’m thinking, “Can I take the extra time and just keep on rolling past Carey Creek and run the rest of the river to the Snake and take out at Heller Bar?” And my friends Greg and Sue are no longer caretaking the Indian Creek inholding. They’ve moved to Yellowpine, right on the river, so there’s no having to plan a layover day and six-mile roundtrip hike to visit them. And, and, and…
And so far, I’m the only one of my boating buddies who’s Successful. My friend Dave and all his tribe are Not Successful and he’s really bummed. No one else here at NRS has heard yet, so they don’t know if they’re Successful. And they’re all giving me pained, dirty looks, so I hope they hear soon and they’re all Successful.
Boat Often & Boat Safe!