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Author: Zachary Collier

Whitewater Rowing on the Hood River

Whitewater rafting is a sport that has changed my life, so I am particularly interested in helping others work on their whitewater skills in a responsible manner. To facilitate learning, I created a rowing course and curriculum in 2006, which we originally called a “recreational guide school.” Since then, we’ve learned a ton about how people learn about and improve their whitewater rowing, river safety, and river rescue techniques. The following is a progression to consider while working on your all-around whitewater rafting skills. First, Learn… Read More

Rafting Tappan Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

We had a successful 2020 season and are excited for 2021. Wee want to do everything we can do to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 on our trips (while of course we can’t eliminate the risk entirely). Important Note: Our COVID-19 protocols may become more or less strict based on updated guidance from the CDC. We will update this web page and send our guests a pre-trip email if there are any important changes. Here are some ways we are working to provide enhanced sanitation and… Read More

Inflatable Kayaking on Rough and Ready Creek

I have many favorite rivers, but Southern Oregon’s Illinois River is my actual #1 favorite. Its most commonly rafted section is a three to four day expedition with numerous Class IV (and one Class V) rapids. Beyond world-class whitewater, the Illinois River carves an unspoiled and amazingly beautiful canyon through the remarkable Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The Illinois River is famous for its clear water, stunning scenery, and botany. It’s also a refuge for salmon and steelhead, as it is one of only two river systems in Oregon… Read More

Western Azalea in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Our trips on the Chetco River begin with a 10 mile hike from the east side of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness to the Chetco River at Carter Creek. From there we paddle 19 miles across this vast and dramatic federally protected wilderness. One of the best parts of these trips are seeing the many rare and endangered plants while we are hiking and paddling. The uniqueness of the botany is due in large part to the serpentine rocks and soils of the area. These serpentine soils lack… Read More

Chana Dorje, bodhisattava of power

Chenrezig, Manjushuri, and Chana Dorje are three of the most important figures in Mahāyāna Buddhism. They are, respectively, the bodhisattvas of compassion, wisdom, and power. What is a Bodhisattva? Bodhisattvas are beings who have attained enlightenment, allowing them enter nirvana. Out of compassion for others, they have chosen instead to continue suffering in order to to help others attain enlightenment. Bodhi means enlightened and sattva means being. Therefore, Bodhisattva translates as “enlightened being.” They are commonly referred to as gods in Western culture. The Dalai Lama… Read More

Hiking on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Still looking for that perfect landscape photo or Instagram selfie? The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is a great place for photographers to hike and capture sweeping vistas of the vast Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The Middle Fork Trail follows the first 80 miles of the river from Boundary Creek to Big Creek, allowing for access to countless river views and side trails. You and your camera might like these suggestions for hikes that hide some breathtaking landscape and selfie photo moments. Mile… Read More

River Rafting Safety Kit

Disclaimer: Northwest Rafting Company receives a small commission when you click some of the links on this page and purchase items through Amazon. Whitewater paddlers should carry safety kits and obtain safety/rescue training – especially on rivers that are Class III and harder. Safety kits (also known as “wrap kits” or “pin kits”) contain equipment that can be used to unpin rafts, rescue trapped swimmers, and/or transport people and gear around dangerous rapids. A few years ago I wrote an article about the heavy duty outfitter… Read More

River Training Equipment

Disclaimer: We receive a commission when you click some of the links on this page and purchase items through Amazon. Personal Floatation Device (PFD) A PFD (commonly known as a “life jacket”) is the single most important piece of safety gear you own since it helps keep your head above water. Beyond comfort and style, there are a few other things you should consider: Choose bright colors, such as red, orange, and yellow that make you visible to a rescuer. Get as much flotation as possible… Read More

Throw Bag Practice

In March 2019 we are offering an International Rafting Federation (IRF) Guide Training & Education (GTE) workshop. In this article IRF instructor Mark Hirst answers a few of the most commonly asked questions. Q: What is the IRF? A: The International Rafting Federation (IRF) is the international body that represents the sport of rafting and river conservation around the globe. It also organizes the rafting world championships each year. The Guide Training & Education (GTE) program operates from within the IRF. The aim of the GTE… Read More

Paddle boat in Green Wall Rapid

A few rapids loom larger than others when river guides tell tales around the campfire. Here’s a list of the biggest rapids from a river guide’s perspective – in alphabetical order. Not big enough for you? If you’re an accomplished kayaker or extreme rafter, you’ll want to scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a round-up of rapids that are bigger, but not commonly discussed among river guides. 1. Blossom Bar (Rogue River, Oregon) You don’t get to be known as “the most… Read More