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Author: Zachary Collier

Veil Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

This has been a rough time for the world. We are one small business among many that is struggling to keep our guides employed and continue to do what we love to do. Below are some quick updates followed by longer updates about how this is affecting our guides and staff. Our office is open so please call or email with any questions. We are looking at trip cancellations on a trip by trip basis and are waiting for stay at home orders to be lifted… 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

Much of my guiding career was spent working with my friend Vladimir Gavrilov on California’s Tuolumne River. Vlad lived in the Soviet Union before moving to the U.S. in 1991 and explored many of its whitewater rivers. I joined him in the Sayan Mountains of southern Siberia for a commercial trip the Kaa-Khem River in 2001. After that trip I wanted to see more rivers of the former Soviet Union. After watching some of Vlad’s videos from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan I decided it was time to… Read More

Kayaking on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is so well-known that it is simply referred to as the “Middle Fork.” It has jaw-dropping scenery, world-class fishing, hot springs, great camp sites, and wildlife. Whitewater kayakers appreciate the continuous whitewater punctuated with a few big rapids each day. There are also some great play spots and tons of catch-on-the-fly surf waves. What to Expect Beginning at the Boundary Creek Launch Site, the whitewater is continuous and challenging through Pistol Creek Rapid at mile 22. Below Pistol Creek… Read More