We’ve done several whitewater rafting day trips in the last few years, but this was the first 4 day camping trip we’ve embarked upon, in the Rogue River wilderness area in Southern Oregon. With dam-regulated water flow, there’s good whitewater all year, so it’s one of the prime rafting spots in the Pacific Northwest.
We signed up on an Echo trip, and this turned to be an excellent decision. The whole trip was well organized, the guides highly professional, knowledgeable and immense fun, and the food of unexpectedly high quality. The perfectly rare tritip steak and garlic mash on the second night was an incredibly well cooked highlight, and there was always more fresh and tasty food than we could collectively eat. In fact there wasn’t one dull meal, and the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables kept flowing for the whole journey.
I spent all but one morning in a kayak, and Jan anchored the paddle raft all trip. There were some really fun Class 3 and 4 rapids, but apart from the second morning when all the kayaks got dumped at either the Tyee or Wildcat rapids, there were very few spills.
The notable exception was when the first raft through the Class 4 Blossom Bar lost an oar and flipped. Everyone swam out fine and only a small amount of equipment was lost, but it was an anxious time for all of us sat in the kayaks and rafts above the rapid. My kayak frontman Bob and I eventually ripped the rapid in a wild, partly backwards, very uncontrolled ride, through some boiling whitewater and serious waves. A real hoot.
All the campsites were wonderfully situated, and swimming in the warm river at the end of the day was a delight. Fueled by a few beers, the odd glass of wine and on the last night too many Riveritas, the evening social scene was also extremely entertaining. The guides, always full of amusing stories, silly games and extravagant pink costumes, made sure there were few dull moments.
And there was plenty of wildlife around. Bald eagles were everywhere, occasionally fighting for fish and territory with ospreys. We saw huge salmon, dead and alive, snakes, lizards, deer, and two bears. The first bear encounter was very funny, The poor thing was rightly terrified by our guide Travis who, dressed in pink pyjamas, accidentally stumbled on it while walking along a cliff above Blossom Bar. It was a very amusing moment that helped relieve the tension while we waited for the flipped raft to recover.
It was a smiling, suntanned and slightly stinky mob who arrived at the take-out on Saturday afternoon after 4 action-packed days on the river. It would have been hard to have had a much better time