Last summer I joined some friends for a river trip in Idaho. It was one of those “bonding” summer trips that you will never forget. My friend, Eric Schrader (Junk Yard Jeans), is an Idaho native and has been riding the river for over 20 years. Luckily he has his own raft, which saved us thousands of dollars in guide fees. Eric invited a few of his designer friends from Los Angeles, Nathan “Nacho” Cabrera and Dr. Romanelli, who I had heard about for a long time via mutual friend Dan Weisman (manager of Wale and Mike Posner). I invited my friend Ed, who unfortunately is “out of the country” for a while. This was the beginning of many great friendships. Because of this trip I ended up shooting a pilot on Eric Schrader, which I co-created with Dr. Romanelli, Andy Weiss, and Rob Weiss. Its been a long journey, that started on a the river.
Starting in Boise, we drove 2 miles north to McCall, and stayed the night (4 hours of sleep – hardly a night). We woke up bright and early at 5am, and drove to an hour and a half north to Riggins, where we dropped off the Van, and all loaded into Eric’s tiny pickup truck “Frankenstein”. After a 30 min high speed burn up the dirt road on the side of the river, sitting in the back of Frankenstein, and on top of our raft/equipment, we arrived at our load in equipment.
Our journey begins:
It was the end of June on the Salmon River. While most of the lower 48 would consider this summer, its the end of spring for most Idahoans. The temperature was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but the water temperature was still below 50 degrees. This made an interesting transition from raft to water, and vice versa. Since it was our first day on the river, we took our time. While Edward any myself enjoyed some Old Crow Whiskey, the rest of the crew worried about sanity, sobriety, and goals in life. After all, we were drinking bottles of $8 whiskey out of plastic jugs.
This is about the time when Dr Romanelli decided to throw out some of his famous “what ifs?”, beginning with “Hey Nacho, what if you took a great white shark and dropped it in this river, what would happen?” you can only imagine the conversation that ensued ..
About half was down the river we came to a 50 foot bridge….yes I said 50 feet tall. This is where Dr Romanelli yelled out “Lets jump off this bitch”, a silly attempt to make us believe he actually would. Apparently this bridge us normally 70 feet tall, but because the snow was melting in the mountains, the water level of the river was at an all time high. I guess we lucked out. Eric, who i mentioned before has been riding the river for over 20 years, has jumped off of this bridge when it was 70 feet, so 50 feet was nothing to him. He climbed up the mountain side to the top of the bridge, and without hesitation, jumped off. Behind him, Romanelli stood on top of the bridge for about 30 min, looking down at the running river below. Every 5min he would look down at us, all looking up at him with anticipation, and say “IIIIIII DONT KNOW BRO, IIIIII DONT KNOW”. Ed, being “whiskey drunk” called him a pussy, ran up the mountainside barefoot, and jumped off the bridge. I have always had a fear of height, and have never been able to cope with it, until now. It was one of the biggest rushes of my life, and also imperative to me overcoming my fear of heights.
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