Just got back from running the Salt River, AZ. 52 miles of wilderness Class III-IV. Some very challenging drops at low water. The Salt is just south of near Show Low, AZ in the White Mountain range, located mostly in the Apache Indian reservation with USFS owning the rest. Yes, it is a permit river. I am guessing that our trip was just about the last major wilderness trip from the top & down, with us launching at 947 cfs. Today's flow is about 530 cfs, which would be too low for most any raft. Commercial trips on the upper 8 miles (day-run) will likely end this week.
We had a large group going in March, but a great many dropped out for one reason or another. Our final group was 3 kayaks and 2 rafts, mostly self support, eating freeze dried food and pumping water from sidestreams. We had paddlers from MO, OK, KS, & TX. The river was brown from carrying lots of ash from the recent fires, located in the headwaters. It was a beautiful trip, none-the-less. Weather, as always, was fantastic. Many cactus in bloom this time of year. The hikes were 4-star as always too.
We had a difficult raft pin at Quartzite rapid (Class IV), but after 3 different rescue scenarios, we pulled it free. If you think that canoe or kayak rescues are tough, try a raft rescue on for size. It is a different animal, entirely. For those of us that have had plenty of rescue experience, it was still arduous. However, everyone out safe & sound at the take-out.
If you ever get a chance to run the 52-mile wilderness section, I encourage you to do so. This was my 4th trip and was just as exciting as my first trip.
Hope to see you out in CO this summer. Bring your creek boats and elbow guards for the upper runs.