Along Highway 55 on the way up to McCall, the North Fork of the Payette River becomes especially violent at a group of rapids called Jacob's Ladder. It's world-class whitewater that attracts expert kayakers from all over the world, including many who partake in the North Fork Championship
There aren't many brave souls who would take anything other than a hardshell kayak down this stretch of potentially-fatal Class V+ whitewater, but on Aug. 1, a group of river folk took the river on in a very different sort of vessel: the Creature Craft
The Creature Craft is basically a raft with an inflatable roof, so it can tumble down the river without ever flipping over and tossing rafters into the water. The craft was created by Darren Vancil
and his team in Grand Junction, Colo., after Vancil was overturned in a conventional raft on the Colorado River and sustained a dislocated shoulder, numerous bruises and abrasions, and a "damaged ego." His inspiration came from a hand-made version of this idea in Russia.
On the video below, you can see just how well the Creature Craft worked on the North Fork. The action gets real good around 1:30.
This was part of the Creature Craft Guide School, an annual training trip down the North Fork of the Payette.