Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2011

River Rafting Rescue 101

Rivers are cold in the state of Washington. Gushing down the slopes of the North Cascade mountain range, westbound toward the Salish Sea and eastbound toward the Columbia, Washington rivers are the result of melting snowfields, diminishing glaciers, brisk Pacific Northwest rainfall and subterranean cold water springs. Meanwhile the Skagit River has all of those factors plus it is water spilled through turbines released from the depths of a very deep and very cold Ross Lake.

For those specific reasons, it is not unusual to be wearing neoprene throughout the white water season in the grey and mossy Pacific Northwest. Even on the Skagit in August.

And when the river is running high in the spring from snow melt, not only is the temperature of the water frigid (prolonged exposure to 70 degree water induces hypothermia - as I can attest to on a pleasant afternoon without a splash jacket on the Pucon River in Chile) it is moving rather fast. 'Swimmers', as we call persons overboa…

"It Has Never Been About White Water"

The other night, before a host of old friends, employees and curious onlookers at Orion River Rafting's 33rd Anniversary bash, in the midst of a speech, which was really just a 'word from our sponsor', I confessed that, for me, it has never been about the white water.

And, if you note that my wife works her fingers to the bone as an emergency room nurse, aiding, abetting and enabling our business, you would also realize it has never been about the money either. (You might also take note of the decrepit equipment we nurse from season to season to arrive at the same conclusion.)

I became a river rafting enthusiast by accident.

I enrolled in a liberal arts college in the early '70s that believed outdoor experiences were integral to the health and well-being of a Socratic student. Freshman orientation was one month in the wilds of the American Southwest. It just so happened my month was spent rafting the Green and Colorado Rivers.

What I took away from my experience flo…