Visit Arizonas Salt River Canyon in the early spring, and youre likely to see more folks from Durango than you would walking down Main Avenue in the summertime. The 60-mile wilderness stretch of the Salt River has traditionally been an annual blessing for many Durango residents looking for a break from the chilly, bleak days often found in between seasons. Last week, the Salt was running at a strong 2,700 cfs and offered a few lucky local permit holders the opportunity to experience this river and the desert in its prime.

Victor Longinotti tries unsuccessfully to shake hands with a
saguaro cactus after a long day on a raft. Scott Japhet drops into the famed Quartzite Rapid ...
backwards. Several boaters dig into a nice warm meal at the end of the last
day. Tony Mieley throws a front loop in a hole along the Salt River
near Camp 2. Cheap, yellow and plentiful. Stephanie Milner wanders through a field of incienso in the
hills above the river. Scott Japhet drinks a beer from das boot as punishment for
flipping a passenger-filled raft in Overboard Rapid. No river trip is complete without a loyal canine. Here, Posey
the playful pit, gets a little curious about the camera. Boaters rig the rafts under a grove of cottonwoods on the last
morning of the five-day trip.