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Author: Nate

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River just above it's confluence with Big Creek

For many, the rugged swath of Idaho contained within the 2.37 million acre Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness is the embodiment of what the Wilderness Act of 1964 hoped to achieve. It is a place where in the space of seasons, free flowing rivers swell and dwindle, wildlife migrates across ranges of untrammeled peaks, and humanity’s trace is limited to a brief echo in a landscape left to exist as it always has. Yet even now as the Frank Church Wilderness stands as… Read More

Scouting Green Wall on the Illinios River

Today, due to the threat of nickel strip mining in their respective tributaries, American Rivers has placed the Rogue and Smith Rivers on the 2015 Most Endangered Rivers List. The following is an account of our expedition to document the effect that strip mining would have on the waterways and communities downstream. Lost and surrounded by vegetation so thick that I could not even fall over, it was hard to imagine the ridge line we were walking is imminently threatened by anything human made. Yet, as… Read More

The Owyhee River cuts a beautiful canyon through Eastern Oregon wilderness

Sitting comfortably awash in Oregon’s sagebrush sea, Rome is the sort of place that takes some determination to get to. My own path to there started in Ashland, Oregon and lasted about eight hours. Arriving near sunset, there was just enough time to unload our boats and catch a glimpse of the Owyhee River as it meandered through the surrounding ranchlands. The rest of our crew arrived the following morning and we were all anxious for the opportunity to explore what is often referred to as… Read More

Lori Turbes | NWRC Guide

We are a little spoiled in the Northwest, and sometimes it is easy to forget that whitewater and the paddling communities surrounding it exist outside of our corner of the country. For example, do you know very much about whitewater in the Midwest? Most people don’t, and maybe in an effort to change that, Minnesota has sent one of its friendliest ambassadors, Lori Turbes, into our midst to help spread news of the northern gnar. Lori’s own introduction to whitewater had her hooked faster than a… Read More

Looking down the Rogue River at Grave Creek

As clouds roll across Southern Oregon, the moisture wrung out from Pacific storms can go on to become several things. Moving inland from the coast, a series of mountain ranges that culminate in the volcanic peaks of the Cascades funnel the runoff inexorably downward. Higher elevations accumulate a snowpack that can linger well into summer, while lowland rains nourish ephemeral streams that disappear as soon as the sky clears. Across the Rogue River’s 5,100 square mile watershed, most of what will become its water arrives in… Read More

Kaela Fox | NWRC Guide

One of the first things you will learn about Kaela is that she has spent most of her life traveling rivers. If you are ever lucky enough to be on the water with her, you will soon find that all that experience leads to more than just clean lines through the rapids. Kaela, with the benefit of a childhood spent on some of the West’s finest rivers, knows more about swimming holes and secret creeks than any guidebook could hope to cover. Since first arriving on… Read More

Rough and Ready Creek flows remarkably clear.

A lot of hope and heartache lies in the weathered ridges that make up Rough and Ready Creek’s watershed. Through them, a blue ribbon sometimes fraught with white, carves its winding canyon. Above the water, the isolated ridge top plateaus are the remnants of an ancient flatlands, the Klamath Peneplain, that once existed here and fostered the build-up of the minerals that have been the source of so much speculation since their discovery in the mid nineteenth century. The laterite soils on the ridges and hillsides… Read More

Chrissy Johnston

The first thing you will notice about Chrissy is her smile, or more specifically, that she always has one. I should add too, that it’s contagious. Whether you are around her on the water, sitting around camp at night, or just life in general, you’ll have a hard time not smiling too. That’s because of something else you will notice about Chrissy. She is good at fun, and makes sure everyone around her is having it too. Born in Oak Harbor, Washington, Chrissy has gone on… Read More

The North Fork Grotto | Photo by Nate Wilson

The adventure of the North Fork of the Smith River begins as soon as you make the turn off of Highway 199 near Gasquet, CA. It should be noted that just because you can drive to the put in, does not mean that it is easy to get there. Do not let that deter you though, the road itself is spectacular with views alternating between occasional glimpses of Pacific waves to your left and a the sea of rugged wilderness rising all around you. You will… Read More

Smoke amongst the trees during the Big Windy Complex Fire

My first encounter with what would become the Big Windy Fire, was in the early morning hours of July 26, 2013. I was woken up by a loud crack, and as my groggy vision came into focus, realized that like many soggy campers before me, the chance I had taken in sleeping out in the open was about to not pay off. As I scrambled to toss what I could in my dry bag, and began the slog across the lawn of Paradise Lodge to the… Read More