Rocky Mtn River Tour’s Blog…River Signals

A Note from Rocky Founders…

Dear Rocky’s Middle Fork Friends,

 Thank you to all our loyal river trip customers over the years. We spent most of the summer in Salmon transferring our knowledge and experience to Jared and his crew.  Jared and Roni’s first year was a big success and reservations are looking great for 2014.

Our world travels remind us of why the Rocky Middle Fork trips are special, personalized by enthusiastic, knowledgeable river guides who are also terrific Dutch oven cooks.  We think there is nothing like this experience in the world.  Please make plans to experience Idaho’s Middle Fork Canyon  and tell all of your best friends to join the Rocky Guides too.  We hope to cross paths with each of you in the future.  Please keep in touch.

Our best from Boise,

Dave & Sheila Mills

The next generation of Rocky Mountain River Tours

Hello from Idaho,

First, let me apologize for my lack of posts.  The combo effect of wrapping up the river season and having a new baby has been a whirlwind.   Roni, Maya and I welcomed little Jonathan Tyler (aka….JT) to the party on September 4th .  These last few months have been filled with lots of love, sleepless nights & chasing the new normal.  As the dust settles and we find our groove we are having a blast.  Maya digs being a big sis, Mom is in love, and Dad is thankful for it all.

The next generation of Rocky
Future Rocky Guide

It has been 12 years since diapers, 2 AM feedings and tummy time.  I’ll be honest Parenthood, the 2nd time,  intimidated me.  Oddly, the similarities between a new baby and a new business motivated me on both paths.  In the beginning it was about creating a solid bond and finding a groove. Accepting that things are changing and time is in hyper speed.  In a strange way I gained a clear perspective of what is important & what’s not. The constant change forced me to ‘not sweat the small stuff’ and good things happened.  Next thing I know,  I am looking in the rear-view mirror and amazed by my progress and stoked about the future.  We have a happy, thriving, inspiring little boy…and can hardly wait to see what the future holds.  I daydream of sharing the wilderness with him.  Watching as his love for wild places, family and adventure influences who he is,  and what’s important.

See ya on the rio,


Idaho Rafting- 2014 Signature Trip

Middle/Main Epic:   June 13-18, 2014   Adult: $2,195.00  Young Adult: $1,995.00

Rocky Mountain River Tours is stoked to offer America’s Premier Rafting Vacation.  Imagine 6-days and 185 miles of the best whitewater and alpine scenery in the world.  This trip includes 1-night at a riverside lodge and scenic flight back to Stanley.

Attention:  Tell us you heard about the Middle/Main Epic via this email and save $150 per person

8th Annual Kids Trip on the Wild & Scenic Salmon:   July 21-25 Adult: $1,895.00  Children: $1,050.00

Rocky’s most popular family adventure.  Rocky caters this trip to families with children aged 6-18, resulting in the ultimate family adventure.  We adjust menus, bring extra beach games, lots of sunscreen and break out all the toys for the trip.  Book Now…this trip sells out quickly!

Idaho River Rafting
Family Fun on the Wild & Scenic Salmon

1st Family Trip on the Middle Fork – Aug 2-7 . Adult: $2,295.00  Student: $2,095.00

Loyal clients have demanded that we start a family rafting tradition on the Middle Fork.  This Early August trip is catered to multi-generational families (age 10+) offering perfect water levels for paddle rafting, inflatable kayaking, fishing and shenanigans.  We keep the kids busy, allowing parents and grandparents ample time for relaxing, socializing, fly fishing and enjoying the largest wilderness in the United States. Reserve now!


The Middle Fork of the Salmon is the PERFECT multi-generational adventure!
The Middle Fork of the Salmon is the PERFECT multi-generational adventure!

SUP the Salmon -Aug 4-19 $1895

Join Rocky and experience the fastest growing watersport in the world, Stand Up Paddle Boarding.  The fun, safe, rolling rapids of the Wild & Scenic Salmon has been identified as the #1 SUP river in America.  Great for beginners and advanced paddlers.  Not all participants need to SUP, rafts and IK’s available.


SUP the Salmon
SUP the Salmon



2014 Annual Kids Trip on Idaho’s Wild & Scenic Salmon Salmon

As you know Sawtooth Adventure Company and Rocky Mountain River Tours joined forces in 2013 to offer the best wilderness river trips available.   This past July Rocky Mountain River Tours inherited SAC’s most popular trip, The Annual Kids Trip on the Wild & Scenic Main Salmon.  This trip is catered to families with kids between 5-18 years old. We pull out all the stops and celebrate the kids!  We bring along a photographer, all the river toys , the best beach games, adapt the menu and invite our most kid-fun guides.   All of this not only insures your kids have the time of their lives, but also guarantees an unforgettable week for the parents.

2014 8th Annual Kids Trip
July 20-25, 2014

Adults $1895   Children (5-18) $1050

Trip includes 1st night lodging at a riverside guest ranch, food, beverage, river equipment, camp gear and ground transportation.  Seriously… all you need is your toothbrush, personal clothing and sense of adventure.

This trip has a maximum size of 23 guests and sells out quickly!  Call Jared to reserve the ultimate family adventure!


Additional Images from the 2013 Annual Kids Trip

2013 Annual Kids Trip


Family Raft Trips in Idaho
Kids LOVE the Salmon’s amazing beaches
Idaho River Rafting
Family Fun on the Main Salmon
Stand Up Paddle on the Salmon River
SUP the Salmon
Idaho River Trips
A beautiful evening on an Idaho Wilderness River

Idaho Fly Fishing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

This September Salmon River Anglers and Rocky Mountain River Tours are combining forces to offer the best fly fishing experience available in the United States.

World Class Guides & Award Winning Food on our Fall Fly Fishing Trip
Join Rocky Mtn River Tours & Salmon River Anglers on an all-inclusive fly fishing trip on Idaho’s premier blue ribbon trout stream. 12 anglers, 6 guides and a week on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with nothing to do but fish…pinch me now.

$2695 includes round trip charter air service from Boise, food, beer, wine and local flies.  Only 5 seats remain…call now!

Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork
Native Westslope Cutthroat Trout found on the Middle Fork

Imagine…Gin-clear freestone river, zero angler pressure, optimum dry fly conditions and native cutthroat trout all to yourself as you explore the largest wilderness in the US.



Its simple really…..Food & Guides

Rocky Mountain River Tours maintains an enviable reputation on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.  A common question from potential guests…“why choose Rocky?”  Its true, all of the outfits on the Middle fork benefit from the amazing beauty of the Frank Church, the pristine waters of the Middle Fork and the magic that occurs from spending 6 days away from civilization with a small group of new friends.   In the end its simple,  three factors are at play.

Guides, Gear & Food

Middle Fork Guides for Rocky
The Rocky Guides


The Guides

Middle Fork guides belong to an upper echelon in the guiding community.  They have been tested by the high waters of Spring, the technical boating of August and all the variables that pop up while leading 24 experienced guests through the largest Wilderness in the US.  The one thing that sets the Rocky crew apart from the competition is tenure.  The current crew of Rocky guides has been working together for 10 seasons.  They are well oiled machine when it comes to camp duties and on the on-water program.  But the most distinguishing factor is their chemistry, like characters in a movie.  Each with unique strengths & personalities that combine to result  in the best crew on the Middle Fork.

The Gear

Rocky pulls out all the stops when it comes to gear.  New sleeping bags and pillows are purchased annually while large river mattresses, spacious new Mountain Hardware tents and comfortable chairs are the norm.  Rocky provides a sanitary and private bathroom system with running water hand wash, solar showers and purified water.

The Food

Excuse us while we brag.  Rocky offers the best food on the river, period.  This is not a new thing, its a tradition. Sheila Mills, Rocky founder is the genius behind the menu design while Rachel B. is the culinary artists that puts all the pieces together.  The result is the most divers, fresh and healthy menu on the river.  Sheila has made a career at designing dutch oven entrees and amazing deserts.  She has published three Dutch-Oven cookbooks and continues to push the limits of what can be created in a riverside kitchen.    The Rocky menu is so diverse and impressive that it has its own fan club.  In an effort to keep the groupies happy we will be posting our 2013 recipe’s over the next few weeks.


1 pkg.(1#)                 SMOKED TROUT, arranged on parsley
2 boxes                     Breton crackers
2 boxes                     Blue Diamond crackers (gluten free)
1 container             Smokehouse Almonds
1 wedge                     English Cotswold cheese
1 bag                       Red Grapes (displayed around or next to the cheese)


1 bag                       Mixed Baby Greens
1 zip (3 cups)             Toasted pecans, in Ziploc
1 container                 Bleu cheese, crumbled
2 bottles                   Earth & Vine Honey Pear Vinaigrette
5                           Green Apples, chopped at the last minute & tossed in.
(toss salad with dressing & serve immediately)


1 pkg.(3#)                 Jody Maroni Yucatan chicken & duck bulk sausage
1-container                Pesto
18-20 lg..                 Tomatoes, sliced
3 pkg                      Sfoglia
1-32 oz.+2 cups           Plain yogurt
1 ziplock(3#)              Jack cheese, grated-use all
1 zip                      Parmesan cheese, grated (4 C.)

Arrange pasta sheets in bottom of 3 DO’s.
Spread each sheet with pesto.
Break up sausage thinly & evenly on pesto.
Put on layer of tomato slices.
Spread with yogurt.
Sprinkle with Jack cheese & Parmesan
Put on another sheet of sfoglia.
Repeat all of above.
Top with sheet of pasta covered with sliced tomatoes and small amount of Parmesan.
Bake till golden & bubbly.


1 ziplock              Dry ingredients, mix well
3 Pkg.                 Yeast
3 cups                 Warm water
½ cup                  Olive oil
1 zip                  Parmesan, grated
Mix well.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead dough until soft and sticky about 5 minutes.  Divide in half and roll out & punch into rounds the size of DO bottom. Let rise about 20 minutes and sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper.  With lightly oiled fingertips make indentations, about ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart all over dough.  Bake with the lid covered with hot coals for about 20 minutes until golden.

1 ½                    Caramel Fudge Pecan Tortes-slice into 30 wedges

The Middle Fork’s Rocky Crew…Wow!


As the new owner of Rocky Mtn River Tours my first summer has been an education, a baptism by fire if you will.  I have learned an amazing amount about operating on the Middle Fork  from Dave & Sheila’s 35+years of experience.  But the true education is coming from the guides. Dave & Sheila, like a broken record, touted why the Rocky Crew is the best on the Middle Fork.  I knew they would be good, but I had no idea how good.  This 6 person crew has been working together for years.  It is obvious in their chemistry and orchestrated ability to get the job done in style.  They do an amazing job,  but the one thing that constantly exceeds my expectations is their connection with our loyal clients and new guests.  We have a number guests that return year after year solely to spend a week in the wilderness with their river friends.   The Rocky crew’s genuine connection and personal friendships with our guests is truly impressive and something as the new owner I am very humbled by and thankful for.  Thank you!

See you downriver,

Jared H.

The Middle Fork. Rocky’s 2013 T-Shirt

I am very lucky to have such great friends in my life.  My lifelong amigo and talented Moab based artist helped me create Rocky’s 2013 Middle Fork T-Shirt.  His unique linoleum block printing process mimics the timeless and simple experience found on the Middle Fork.  Not only is Chad an amazing artist but also a  lifelong wilderness lover, steward, wanderer and explorer.  I have spent more time in the wilderness with Chad than any other human alive, and I look forward to many more.  I asked Chad to be a guest blogger and explain the process behind his masterpiece.  Thanks buddy!
Posted on June 15th, 2013 by Chad Niehaus, Waterpocket Press

My dear friend, Jared Hopkinson, is now the proud owner of Rocky Mountain River Tours, a deeply established river company offering guided raft trips on the famed Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. The company has created a tradition of offering a unique T-shirt each year to its clients. Waterpocket Press was asked to create the 2013 shirt. This post describes the creative and technical process I went through to produce the 2013 Rocky Mountain River Tours T-shirt.

I’ve spent a decent amount of time on Idaho rivers (Main Salmon, Selway, Lochsa, Payette), but I haven’t had the pleasure of running the Middle Fork. I try to convey the ‘feel’ of the place with my designs and resultant T-shirts, so…I needed a little help. Paul Richer, a good friend and gifted photographer, has gone on trips with Rocky Mountain River Tours and Sawtooth Adventure Company and has come away with stunning images of the Middle Fork and Main Salmon stretches. I started with his images. Then, I threw out some ideas and relied upon the vast experience of Jared and his guides to develop an image that spoke accurately of the Magic of the Middle Fork. We came up with a  final pencil drawing after a few tweaks (detail shown here).

pencil sketch

Once the design was finalized, I got to work carving the linoleum blocks that would be used to print the T-shirts. Here’s the logo for the back of the shirts:

logo block

And the artwork for the front of the T-shirts:

lino in progress


Next, it was time for printing! My process at this point is to roll ink onto the carved blocks, place them on the T-shirt, and use my body as a printing press.I don my special shoes and walk on the blocks to apply pressure for an imprint of the design. This being a new project, it took me several test shirts to figure out the eccentricities (sweet/weak spots) on the blocks before I was confident to let it rip.

Logo printing
A freshly-printed T-shirt front with block

My printing process results in each shirt being unique. It was fun to see the mood of the place change in subtle ways with each printing. I look forward to my first trip down the Middle Fork after immersing myself in my perception of this special place for this project.

Finished product

How Do You Win Grandpa of the Year?….Take the Kids on an Idaho Raft Trip.

Sawtooth Adventure Company hosted Grandpa Berney on our 2010 Annual Kids Trip.  He had such a great experience he has become one of our guest bloggers.  Check out what Grandpa Berney is thinking for 2013…

“The Sawtooth Adventure Company and Rocky Mountain River Tours merger sounds great. I haven’t been down the Middle Fork with Rocky, but have a friend that boasts their guides, food, wine and overall experience as A+ .  My wife and I are thinking an August trip with  a few of our grandchildren would be the perfect choice. We  went down the Main  Salmon with two of our grandchildren (9 and 11) on SAC’s kids trip in 2010.  That was the year I was crowned Grandpa of the Year.

grandpaLast fall we spent five days at Disneyland with our grandchildren.  It was a great experience, but it didn’t compare to our experience on the river.   The grandkids were always busy riding in a raft with kids their age, inflatable kayaking with me, stand-up paddle boarding beside the raft, or kayaking with the guides.  At camp they played beach games, built sand-castles for their tiny pet fish and learned a number of card games from the guides.  I think it had something to do with guides specifically assigned to entertain the kids (Kid Gurus). The amazing part to me was that the I could have an adult  conversation on the raft, enjoy a quiet drink at camp, or take in the wilderness experience, but still had an amazing bonding experience with the kids. No crowds, no screaming kids, no discussion about where to eat, no looking for a parking spot, and no long lines.  We saw bears, bald eagles and mountain sheep on nearly a daily basis.  One evening,  two large male mountain sheep hung around camp so long, I thought they were going to join us for dinner.


IK-dad-and-son I am thinking about the Middle Fork in August.   I get all of the above, plus a Blue Ribbon trout fishery. Think about it, I get credit for showing the grandkids a wonderful time, while I relax and catch some trout.  Hopefully their parents don’t read this… I might lose my title as Grandpa of the Year.”

-Grandpa Berney