This time last week I was heading out to the Rogue River, ecstatic to be participating in the Class III Rowing School. And now, after five days of rowing a variety of different crafts down the illustrious Rogue, eating delicious food, camping under a brilliant starry sky, and meeting some incredible people, I am a happy camper.
What a great experience to be able to try so many different boats – to get a feel for what kind of oars or oar rights you like, what size boat you like, how heavy or light you like your boat, etc. I rowed rafts, catarafts, both heavy and light, without rights, and with pins and clips. We had generous donations of oars from Sawyer and boats from Sotar – thank you so much for lending us such awesome gear!
In my brief time so far in Northwest Rafting Co.’s office I have gotten a definite sense of the high quality trips we run. But it wasn’t until I experienced one for myself that I truly realized how much work there is to do and how organized and competent the guides have to be (and are!) For the rowing school they not only do the normal duties (cooking, cleaning, setting up the groover, rigging boats, giving mini history lessons etc.) but they teach lessons, answer questions, and give great advice to the guests all week long – and with shining smiles on their faces the entire time. They work together as a well-oiled machine and it was appreciated by all.
The Rogue itself is an astounding river and we had the perfect weather to enjoy it in all of its glory. Blue skies and sunshine, osprey, great blue herons, and bald eagles soaring up above, and plenty of whitewater filled our days. During the flatwater sections we could sit back and relax for a minute, converse with our fellow boaters, and soak in the surroundings. We took side hikes to gorgeous waterfalls, went to see an old miner’s cabin on Whiskey Creek, and saw Zane Grey’s cabin. There is such an abundant history in the area and the guides were so knowledgable and excited to share all they know.
Apart from the sheer beauty of the Rogue itself, one of the most striking things I witnessed was how much people opened up by the end of the trip. On that first night guests were tired and a bit quiet. By our last night, however, no one was shy – friendly banter, joking, and nothing but smiles. I felt a sense of nostalgia already settling in as people were preparing to head back to the daily grind. But even that didn’t stop us from enjoying the trip to the very end.
Now I’m back in the office feeling all the more dedicated and excited to be able to share this experience with our guests. A trip down the Rogue River is an incredible way to appreciate the natural world while making memories that will last a lifetime.