Q: I recently purchased a couple of recreational/flatwater kayaks that my family has enjoyed playing with at Quinns Pond, Lucky Peak and other places like that.
As a novice with this type of boat, I have stuck to true flatwater, however, Im curious if these types of boats could be taken safely down the traditional floating section of the Boise River between Barber Park and Ann Morrison?
Ive floated the river in a tube many times before and remember that there was at least one small diversion dam that could cause problems.
I appreciate your thoughts before venturing out there and getting into trouble or damaging the boats.
RICHARD, via email
A: I love canoeing the Boise River and consider it a great river for learning to paddle in moving water.
But, its still moving water and takes some paddling skills. There are steep diversions, brushy banks and bridge abutments that can get paddlers in trouble.
Although thousands of tubers and rafters float from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park each summer without trouble, theres something a little different about being in a canoe or plastic kayak.
Im probably going to get razzed on being too serious about the Boise River, but here it goes anyway. Im going to act like a nerdy old grandpa, but better safe than sorry.
Ive seen flatwater kayaks on the Boise River and the paddlers have not had any trouble.
But still, Im going to give you some perspective as a canoeist who doesnt want to wrap his canoe on a bridge abutment or tree limb.
When I first started floating the Boise River in a canoe about 35 years ago with the kids and dog, I was a beginner paddler.
I took a lot of care in running the river. Id always portage the first diversion. Its the one about a mile downstream from Barber Park.
I dont know how many beginner canoeists have told me how they were surprised by the first diversions force, and got swamped and flipped. If you dont hit the slot the right way, you can have problems.
Portaging the diversion isnt bad on the right (north) side of the river, except watch out for poison ivy.
The second diversion is just a bunch of rocks in the river and theres a small slot at about center right.
The third diversion is another fairly steep drop with some waves that can swamp a canoe. Theres a preferred slot at about center right with some waves that will go over your bow.
Ive seen a couple of canoes swamp and sink on this diversion while I was surfing it.
You can easily portage the third diversion on the right at the top of the canal that leaves the river. Dont go down the canal. Theres a concrete diversion at the Warm Springs Golf Course. Also, watch for poison ivy in the area. Its lush and thick.
The abutments on the West ParkCenter Bridge can be tricky because of the swirling waters pushing up against them. You want to stay away from them for sure.
The next obstacle is the Broadway Bridge. I remember seeing a raft wrapped on one of the abutments.
The area from Municipal Park downstream through Boise State University has some really brushy banks and braided channels, and youll want to stay in the middle of the river if you can.
The key to the Boise River, and any river, is to keep your eyes looking way downstream and know whats coming so you can make your moves well in advance.
The Boise River has been running slightly high for summer flows, around 1,500 cfs. The current is strong and fast. The river temperature is also 52 degrees. These are all things to consider.
If you could follow a paddler who knows the river, all the better.
You might also hike the section of the river and look at the obstacles before planning a float.
I love canoeing the Boise River. Its an incredible float for canoeists and kayakers.
Ive also swamped a canoe on the river. Youve just got to be alert and know your limitations.
WARM LAKE LODGE
Q: I have not heard any updates in a while about the Warm Lake Lodge.
I know that it was closed for a time. Have you heard anything about it being reopened?
I really enjoy having two lodges up there to grab an extra bag of ice or a burger in between fishing spots.
CHRIS CARLSON, via email
A: Warm Lake Lodge, 25 miles east of Cascade, is expected to be up and running again in the near future.
Id like to get it up and running in its old glory, said Ryan Cole, a Boise physician who purchased the lodge.
He wants to renovate and repair the lodge and buildings and is working with the U.S. Forest Service. The lodge is located at Warm Lake and is on National Forest land.
Cole hopes to get a few cabins fixed up in time for the snowmobile season and have a full opening in time for next spring.
Our goal is to make it a 100-percent family friendly place, he said.
Meanwhile, North Shore Lodge, which is also located on the lake, is open year-round with cabins, a cafe and a small country store.
More information about North Shore Lodge can be found at northshorelodgeidaho.com or by calling (208) 632-2000.
WHAT ABOUT RVS?
Q: Great article (Uncrowded campgrounds, July 12). Just wondering if these downriver campgrounds are RV accessible.
We have a 34-foot motorhome.
MARYANN, via email
A: Your best bet among the downriver campgrounds, northeast of Stanley off Idaho 75, is Mormon Bend.
It has been renovated and can handle your large RV. It is also paved. Its 6.5 miles from Stanley.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors