So, I've been kicking this idea around for years, and since I've been looking for a post-step-taking celebration style activity, and this looks relatively well priced, this could be the trip. I've done a little research to determine how much it would cost and how long it will take and where it is, and what I have so far is the Kiamichi river.
Basically, on the preordained day, we would set out at o'dark thirty and arrive at the K-River campgrounds in time to start our journey the same day, hopefully arriving in the morning. If this just isn't going to be possible, then we camp at the K-river grounds the night before setting out, but I don't like this because it means we're using food before starting.
When we launch, the nice people at the K-River compound will drive us 44 miles up river, in their nice rented canoes with all our gear packed in them, and we'll set out. 3 or 4 days later, depending on current, paddling, and our pace (such as making camp early so as to sight see or piddling in the morning), we will arrive back at the K-River grounds, probably tired, tanned, and happy, and probably then rent the large cabin, shower, eat a hot meal, get some sleep, and then head back to the city. Or, if time or money is in a crunch, we could head back as soon as we settle accounts with the K-River people.
Along the way, we would occasionally encounter shallows, possibly in stretches of up to 50 feet, which would require us to get out and carry our canoes over them, more of a dragging motion, but still.
Also, we can fish the river, which reportedly has good fishing year round.
We would be selecting camp sites ourselves, there aren't formal, man made sites anywhere along our route until we get to k-river. Therefore, we could stop for the night early enough to set up camp, have a hot meal, and fuck around with getting a fire lit and then dancing in it.
Due to the amount and weight of gear that each of us would require, we would be in teams of 2 per canoe. Since the possibility of capsize is real, what we do is each team packs their own gear and food, but each team also packs extra food, in case one team loses theirs. We would of course be using preventative waterproofing techniques (ziplock bags on everything. twice) but accidents do happen.
Each team needs a tent, sleeping bags, mess kit, clothes, waterproof sunblock (such as bullfrog) bug spray, a pack for their gear, and food for six days. I know I said that the trip itself only lasts for 3 to 4, but with the absolute remoteness of the kiamichi river, I'd rather plan for an extra day on either end. Camp food is somewhat expensive, though US GOV and off brand MREs usually run between 6 and 10 dollars a piece. times 3 times 6 is 144, and that's for a high calorie diet of nothing but mres. Each team also needs to be prepared to purify and store water in 4 1 quart bottles at a time, or there about. I prefer iodine tablets, which are cheap, and are usually calibrated for 1 quart bottles. Depending on what is brought for food, camp stoves may also be necessary.
A bonus choice is for the entire group to merely split the weight of dinner and have a group meal. This is what I would prefer. Breakfast should probably be something fast like instant oatmeal so that we can get back on the river as early as possible. Lunch should probably be in the boats, like sandwiches or something that doesn't demand too much heat. I suppose if we get the small camp stoves we might be able to heat food on the boats, but whatever.
Also, you should plan on wearing clothing that can easily get wet and dry out rapidly, such as swim trunks or board shorts or something, and you should wear shoes that can get wet easily. I have scuba shoes I'd probably wear, but I might get something that's more rigid. You'll need to be able to jump out of the canoe readily in order to launch, beach, and portage as needed.
In addition to the costs for everything above, and any additional items or supplies needed, the boats will cost 60/day, which also includes life jackets and paddles. Figure four days on the river, that's 240 dollars per boat, 2 people per boat, that's 120 dollars each, mandatory and in addition to our food supplies. Food can be as cheap or as expensive as we like, but we should make sure we have plenty and extra, and that weight is divided out evenly.
The big cabin at the campground runs about $90, if it is occupied to too large, we could camp our first/last night in our tents.
The Kiamichi river is about as unspoiled as it gets. We would likely be some of if not the only people on the river during our trek, and the evidence of man's passing (aka litter) will probably be low to absent. Which of course means that we are packing out our own trash. I believe at least raccoon precautions if not also bear precautions are in order. The K-River campground, a few bridges, and some ruins are, to my understanding, the only traces of civilization we'll encounter. We could theoretically ride the kiamichi clear into texas until it either ends or becomes part of something bigger, faster, and more dangerous.
Out of a general mission of precaution, I've planned this trip with the presumption that I am one of if not the most experienced oarsman in the group, and if that isn't the case, that's fine, because I'm not at all comfortable with any class II+ rapids, and have indicated to the people at the site such, and they indicated that this was probably just fine. The nice man told me that he would prefer that I not have to paddle much if at all, and so recommended that we come down either in may or october, though he seemed to agree that there was leeway, and I indicated that we are mostly city folk with some outdoorsmanship background who don't mind some work, like paddling, and therefore our time window is essentially open ended. I suppose the main limitation is our own availability.
I am probably taking step in August now, and will have until mid september off. This is probably the best time slot for me, and though I will probably have another six weeks to two months off after that, it'll be in limbo and I can't count on it.
So, I am inviting all comers, several people have indicated their interest skypewise, but I would like to see if people will elaborate their interests, limitations, or preferences.
edit: I should mention that the above plans are provisional, and for the most part are fully adjustable. If a large group tent, gear, and food store is preferred, or some variation thereof is preferrable to most, or proves the most economically viable plan, then we can do that. I mention team based gear mostly to prevent total disaster from happening in the event of our food canoe capsizing. What I've listed so far is merely a plan, and plans can change.