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Showing posts from December, 2011

Dressing for River Rafting Success

Of all the questions we are asked in the office by those new to river rafting, the one most asked is "What should I wear?"

It is a fair question and the answer is difficult to pare down to just a few short sentences.  Rafting in the state of Washington is decidedly different than rafting in many other regions because our rivers are fresh from the alpine lake elevations of the Cascade mountain range.  This means Washington rivers do not flow lazily for miles and miles warming up in the sun before spilling white over rocks and drops on your favorite white water rafting stretch.

This means Washington rivers like the incredibly beautiful, yet challenging, Wild & Scenic Sauk River tumbles out of the Glacier Peak Wilderness area borne from one of several glaciers.  It means the white water we play in was Cascade snow pack only a half-dozen hours earlier.

Washington rivers are notably cold.  Washingtonians can be relatively impervious to the biting chill of their local waters, but…

Selecting a River Rafting Outfitter

Spring, white water rafting and absent-minded teens in love are all just around the corner and, even though in Washington, our lust to ski has barely been whetted, it is not too soon to give some thought to hiring a river guide for your next corporate retreat, family vacation or youth group outing.

Websites, brochures, splashy advertisements and affiliations are - obviously - where you want to start looking, but, when it comes to river raft trips, do not overlook recommendations from friends, as well as the initial phone call gleaning valuable insight to the 'culture' of the outfit you are considering.  Be aware of a few glaring no-nos you should never hear from the person on the other end of the line.

1.)  Safety guarantees.
2.)  Crowing about an immaculate safety record.
3.)  Claiming they are 'the best' of anything.

First of all, moving water is inherently dangerous.  It does not matter if it is the mildest float or the wildest ride - rivers come equipped with hazar…

Jim Fielder - Washington River Rafting Pioneer

Jim Fielder was, as they say, larger than life.

The former middle school teacher, beloved by many, and former white water rafting outfitter, envied by even more, lost his life recently due to poor electrical wiring and a flash fire.  He lived on Queen Anne hill in a house handed down to him by his mother.

The Queen Anne News reported that he was also a former screenwriter and novelist of true crime stories.  I know he had published a book or two, and I know he wrote an insightful article about Mary Kay Letourneau for a women's magazine, but I don't know if I would characterize anyone who has been published as being 'former'.  Once a writer, always a writer.

Jim Fielder owned Zig Zag River Runners from the late 70s through the early 90s, and that is how I know him.  But the last time I saw him, he was haunting a Queen Anne coffeehouse, absorbing information and scheming about subject matter you could sink your teeth into.  He was long past his white water outfitting day…