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Author: Zachary Collier

Landslide at entrance of Hells Half Mile

On the evening of August 2nd, 2023 heavy rains near the Boundary Creek Launch Site on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River triggered several landslides (aka “debris flows” or “blowouts”) that blocked the river. These landslides brought trees down to the river which floated down and created several river wide logjams. Debris flows are the result of intense microburst storms that occur over previous fire scars in steep terrain. Last August several of these landslides occurred at Ramshorn Creek and Spike Creek blocking the river… Read More

Oar Raft Maneuvering Terminology

This article contains terms we use in our whitewater rowing schools. Although some of this is specific to rowing oar rafts, the terminology is consistent with paddle rafts and kayaks. Ferries Ferry (or “ferrying”) is a general term that describes moving laterally across the current. This occurs when being positioned at an angle (“ferry angle”) to the current and moving at a different speed than the current. A Ferry Angle is the angle between your boat and the current that causes lateral movement across the… Read More

At Johnson Point on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

I look back at the 2022 season with so much pride. This was our 14th season, and I’m so proud that we were able to continue running authentic, professional, and memorable trips. This was our busiest year yet, with 62 trips on 10 different rivers. Here are some of the highlights: Rowing Classes in Hood River Our season began in February with private rowing courses here in Hood River. We ran these courses on the Hood, White Salmon, Klickitat, Wind, and Washougal rivers. One of the… Read More

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

Whitewater paddlers should carry rafting 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 safety kit we bring on our multi-day commercial trips. For day trips with paddle boats or catarafts I bring a slimmed down… Read More