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Showing posts from February, 2012

River Rafting: The More Things Change. . .

Rivers are not static entities.  They change their courses.  Occasionally, their courses are changed for them.  These changes may be subtle, dramatic or incremental.  River rafters need to take heed of this.  Rivers that are young geologically, like the Sauk and Suiattle Rivers near Darrington, Washington, can be altered significantly from one season to the next.  Rivers such as the Wenatchee and the Methow tend to change at a slower pace.

Landowners on the Suiattle,  may have riverfront one year, an island the next and a riverbed the year thereafter.  Three years later, their riverfront property may be the opposite bank from which they started.  A while back a magnificent and powerful winter storm sluiced a hundred thousand cubic feet of roiling water down the Sauk River valley and wiped away log jams and recreated channels that had been there for decades.  The negative effects of that flood, which silted in many of the rapids, have only recently begun to recede.  Now, the …

River Rafting Brings People Together

I grew up in Dallas, Texas, about as far from a river rafting adventure as you can get in the continental United States.  My first river journey was by accident.  I blithely selected a college in Arizona that put great value in outdoor recreation, and as freshman orientation my first month in school, they randomly sent me on a 30-day Colorado river trip.

I do not recall reading the school's mission, but, after spending a month in the back country of the Southwest on a muddy river with a dozen people I didn't know, sleeping under a field of stars every night, living off freeze-dried rations, hard-tack crackers and peanut butter, hiking the red rock canyons when we weren't floating the river, I am guessing they figured wilderness travel was an overall net-gain for society.  You learned things about one another and your fellow traveler that would take decades to learn in the 'real world'.
River rafting recreation and leisure time activities. My father was a…

River Rafting Classifications: A Primer

Leavenworth, Washington

So, you want to take the family on a river rafting vacation but you are slightly nonplussed by how rivers are rated.  What does the rating of a stretch of river where they conduct white water raft trips indicate?

Like hurricanes and earthquakes, the higher the classification the rougher the ride is going to be.  But there are some nuances.  Sit tight and allow me to explain.

The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale goes to Category 5 and, for all intents and purposes, so does the International Scale of White Water Difficulty.  There is a Class VI, but it is considered unnavigable.  Or, at least, not navigable by a normal passenger-carrying craft without a very high likelihood of a fatality resulting.

Ninety-eight per cent of all river trips happen on Class I to Class IV stretches of river.  I don't have any evidence to back that up.  I'm just reasonably certain that is the case.  As hurricanes get more powerful and destructive as they move from Category 1 to Cate…

Leavenworth River Rafting in May

Leavenworth, Washington

As a year-round resident of Leavenworth and as a river rafting guide on the Wenatchee River since the Carter Administration, I have a pretty good notion about both of those topics.  (Rafting and Leavenworth - not the Carter presidency.)

It is still the middle of winter in the Bavarian-themed village and all of the businesses are still strung with their Christmas lights, but it is not too soon to be thinking about river rafting on the Wenatchee River, or river rafting in general.

If you have a party large enough to fill a raft - six to eight people not including the guide (and that does include children big enough to wield a paddle) - you will want to make your reservations in advance.  Especially if you want to catch a prime weekend date in May or June, or your preferred date falls during one of the festival weekends.

Package lodging and rafting deals are available through Sleeping Lady Lodge and Conference Center.  Sleeping Lady is located two miles from Leave…

Meet Your River Rafting Guide

River rafting guides are like a box of chocolates.

Well, they are like a box of chocolates in that you never know what you are going to get in terms of specific personalities, but they are also like our almost famous and favorite cast iron Dutch Oven recipe - chillaquiles.  Sometimes referred to as Mexican lasagna.

Steady as rain, as far as their concern for their clients and their safety-first attitudes, but, depending on the guide chef, full of a variation on a theme.

River rafting guides can be young or old - I'm sorry - green or weathered, trim and fit or slightly doughy and sloth-like, neatly trimmed or scruffy and unkempt, concerned about their appearance or completely unconcerned about their appearance.  In other words, they come in a wide range of physical packages.  Long gone are the days of guides reminiscent of fur trapping mountain men like Jeremiah Johnson.

The guides who work for Orion River Rafting come to the river from all walks of life.  Drawn by their enthusiasm …