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Looking Back at a Memorable 2022

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 most memorable parts was watching our friend Simms flip end over end while training on the Washougal River.

Flipping on the Washougal River
Flipping on the Washougal River

In March, we ran four of our Class IV Rowing Schools from Hood River. These were full of experienced whitewater rowers looking for more safety and rescue training.

International Rafting Federation Guide Training Workshop

We’ve been offering IRF Guide and Trip Leader Workshops for experienced guides for the past three years with our friend Mark Hirst, of Lapin Koskikoulu. In these workshops, we assess guides’ skills and provide training where they need help.

IRF Trip Leader Scenario Debrief Along the Hood River
IRF Trip Leader Scenario Debrief Along the Hood River

The hard skills we assess include raft flip recovery, throw bag tossing, ropework, paddle boating, and safety talks.

Snowstorm on the Owyhee River

We had a full Owyhee River season of five trips planned, but because of the low snowpack, we had to cancel four of them. The one trip we ran had just enough water to float the river, but also had us paddling through a snowstorm.

The Owyhee River Canyon
The Owyhee River Canyon

Although it sounds brutal in retrospect, everyone on the trip enjoyed seeing the majestic Owyhee River in these unique conditions. Michael wrote a blog post about this trip.

A Glorious Illinois Season

Our experienced guides LOVE the Illinois River for good reason! This famous river has challenging Class IV and V rapids combined with spectacular scenery, clear water, and unique botany.

We Found the Rare Kalmiopsis Leachiana Along the Illinois River
We Found the Rare Kalmiopsis Leachiana Along the Illinois River

We felt lucky to run three trips with good water levels and great weather. Our final trip was with land managers and members of the Siletz Tribe, who shared so much with us about the history, botany, and people of this uniquely special river canyon.

Class III Rowing Schools

After our Illinois season, we began our Class III Rowing Schools. The Rogue River is our classroom for and the PERFECT place to learn how to row rafts and catarafts. This was our biggest year yet – we taught 79 rowing students in eight classes.

The Summer Middle Fork and Rogue Season

After a prolific spring season, we began our summer trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Rogue rivers. Because of late spring storms, we ran our first Middle Fork trip at really high water, and we continued with high flows through June.

On the Rogue River, we had a lot of new guides who quickly became a tight-knit family and brought sooooo much enthusiasm to the trips!

Rum Creek Fire on the Rogue River

The Rum Creek fire was started by a lightning strike on August 17th. We had to cancel one trip soon after the fire began, but we worked closely with the BLM to continue running other trips responsibly while the fire was active. Our guides were also hired to move firefighters and supplies down the river.

Transporting Firefighters Down the Rogue River
Transporting Firefighters Down the Rogue River

In general, we think this was a very healthy fire for the Rogue River. It mostly stayed in the forest understory, which means it will hardly be noticeable to river runners.

Return to Bhutan

It was wonderful to return to Bhutan after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. We ran two trips there, including a new itinerary to Eastern Bhutan for a multi-day trip on the Drangme Chhu.

At Camp on the Drangme Chhu in Bhutan
At Camp on the Drangme Chhu in Bhutan

We saw old friends, made new ones, and had a wonderful time in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon.

It was a remarkable season, and I’d like to thank everyone involved — our guests, guides, drivers, and local communities who provide support for our trips.

Originally Published: | Updated on | Categorized under: Office News

Post Author

Zachary Collier

As owner of Northwest Rafting Company, Zach Collier combines international guiding experience in places like Siberia, Bhutan, and Chile with a natural business acumen for systems and logistics. Whether he’s on big water or in the back office, Zach strives to ensure Northwest Rafting Company offers exceptional whitewater and wilderness experiences for guests and guides alike.