Multi-day river trips stole my heart in 2015, and I can’t seem to get enough of them. For many, myself including, the remoteness, shared meals, and sleeping under the stars stand as the main reasons why one would embark on such a journey. As my trip count continues to grow, I’ve found that I cherish even more aspects of multi-day life – meticulously rigging boats in the morning, diving into the insane logistics of shuttling, gear delegation, food prep, and, my favorite, the groover. The community and memories that come from multi-days root themselves in your soul, and you’ll already be planning your next trip before you get off of your first. 

This summer, I found myself lucky enough to join a blissful six-day Wet Planet trip on the Main Salmon River. Since 2023 was my first year with Wet Planet, this was my first time on a commercial trip with them. Boy, was I blown away. I heard about the insanely delicious meals the guides prepared and the extensive logistics of the trip, but experiencing it first-hand brought my admiration for the Wet Planet team to a whole new level. 

Woman rowing a raft on the Main Salmon River

The Food – No Meals in a Bag Here!

Food can make or break a trip. Some adventurers prefer the simple route, but I’ve noticed many multi-day river folks enjoy a bit of a challenge in the backcountry, and the Wet Planet crew clearly isn’t a stranger. Watermelon with goat cheese, mint, and balsamic for an app? No problem. Grilled juicy salmon with crispy skin and fresh cilantro lime rice?, done! They’re backcountry cooking pros. Mouthwatering gluten-free chocolate cake for the only GF person on the trip? (Yes, that was me.) No questions asked. I’ve been in efficient multi-day kitchens, but the experience, passion, and genuine care the Wet Planet guides encompass truly amazed me. 

After pulling the boats to shore, the de-ridding process began. The guides set up the kitchen first, with an elaborate system for washing dishes, cutting fresh veggies, and cooking/grilling the meals. Depending on the time, they would immediately start prepping appetizers, like bacon-wrapped dates and nectarine Caprese salad with a delicious wine pairing. As I sprawled in the sun on the sandy beach while popping delicious dates into my mouth, I shifted my gaze from the river to the kitchen. Dave, Morgan, Kess, Giani, and Todd all had a specific job and were seamlessly creating an unforgettable backcountry meal as a well-oiled machine. Some nights, Giani would be tediously monitoring the Dutch oven, which baked delicious desserts like pineapple upside-down cake and peach cobbler. 

Groovers – Going #2 in the #1 Place

For some strange but understandable reason, using the groover remains one of the best parts of a multi-day river trip. For those less familiar with a groover, it’s simply a non-flushable and mobile toilet that can range from simple to quite fancy. On the Main Salmon, the guides did a phenomenal job at finding a perfect groover spot. Now, a perfect groover spot can be difficult to find. They need an excellent view of the river, a bit of privacy (for some groups, anyway), and a reasonably flat surface. Bonus points if you have a beautiful walk to the groover and provide reading material. 

The Community – Bonding in the Wilderness

Whether backpacking or boating, group travel often creates beautiful and lasting friendships. On commercial trips, it’s valid to come into a trip with apprehension and nerves about embarking on a remote journey with a group of strangers. On this adventure, three office folks, including me, got to join Wet Planet’s Main Salmon Kayaking trip. Most of the kayaking guests came with one or more people, and, of course, the Wet Planet crew already had tight knits. From the first day, the guides did an excellent job at introductions and making this foreign space feel like home for everyone. I loved seeing how quickly the group bonded, which transferred to their support for each other on the river. From helping each other with their rolls, congratulating the team when they made it through challenging rapids, to deep discussions around the fire, I found it beautiful to watch lasting friendships blossom before my eyes.

Wet Planet kayak instructor helping a guest with her roll on the Main Salmon River

If you’re considering taking the leap into the multi-day river trip realm, I cannot recommend Wet Planet enough. From someone who knows the challenges of logistics, this team has it dialed. The guides consistently went above and beyond to ensure everyone had their needs met and found comfort in, for many, an unfamiliar setting. Furthermore, I couldn’t get enough of the nuggets of information they provided. They knew everything from random campsites we passed, flowers I saw and poorly described, to the intricate human history of the canyon. After you de-rig your boat for the last time, your heart will simultaneously sing and mourn. You’ll watch the river go by out the car window, thinking of the memories made, feel sadness to leave the unparalleled serenity of the wilderness, and begin to scheme up your next trip.