We lived like savages, and other tales from the Salt River

Rule No. 1 of a whitewater trip: rig to flip.

We sacrificed a little whiskey to the Salt River at the put-in as a show of respect. Not quite satisfied, she devoured our entire kitchen set a day later—pans, stove, fuel, cutting board, spatula, utensils, dishes, and even a fire pan my buddy was bragging about just a few hours earlier.

The last piece of equipment I remember seeing as I was floating feet first down Mescal Falls Rapid—and there were quite a few miscellaneous items in the frothy mix—was our poor, poor kitchen set, formerly rigged to my boat, now slowly sinking to the bottom of the Salt River like a dying ship lost at sea.

“Feed me!” The Salt River will gladly accept anything you have to offer.

I reasonably expected a disappointed response to my minor mishap. But my buddies actually seemed rather excited by the idea of a primitive wilderness experience.

So we lived like savages.

Forced to be creative, we cooked chicken and vegetables on tamarisk skewers one night. Then we started cooking brats and peppers over a makeshift stone grill the next night, only to get impatiently hungry and skewer every last brat in sight. We used a flat rock as a cutting board, and fashioned a spatula/serving spoon out of a piece of driftwood.

All in all, we made things work. And we had a damn good time while we were at it.

The best part? No dishes. Something to think about next time you’re cooking dinner for the family.