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River Blog

White water rafting trip tricks, tips, packing advice, recipes, and general river talk for river trips in Hells Canyon on the Snake River, Lower Salmon Rivers and beyond:


Rafting: America’s Rafting Company Vacation in Review

Posted by on 10:55 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Rafting | 0 comments

This post is more than just a weekend review, it’s a 3 week vacation review. It may be a challenge to get it all in one post, so here goes… Parker and I have gone on vacation together, but it’s always been pretty local- the Oregon Coast is our favorite spot, in fact the ocean in general is our favorite. Being born and raised inland, the ocean forever will be awe-inspiring to me and a little terrifying- it’s so darn big! Anyways, we had been talking about traveling for quite some time and were lucky enough to take a lot of people rafting last summer that had travelled the world so we always asked where their favorite place had been. After a lot of consideration, we knew a couple things: we wanted to go somewhere totally different from Idaho, we wanted somewhere warm (we would be traveling in Febrauary) we wanted good food and to go somewhere that our dollar was strong. That led us to Thailand! We would be able to dive, snorkel, swim, lounge, eat good food and do it on the cheap! Parker got me plane tickets for my birthday last year, so it was just a matter of selecting the location and the dates and we did that early winter and started marking the days off on the calendars. Working for yourself has it’s ups and downs, we dodn’t have to ask for the time off, but worried about being gone for 3 weeks away from the office. We chose to go in the slowest month for America’s Rafting Company and the month that cabin fever seems to have it’s largest hold: February. We set off to Boise on February 10th, met Parker’s mom, aka, Scout’s guardian, in Boise for dinner and handed him off. He was headed to Nevada to run and play at his “grandparents” and we were headed off across the international date line to a land unknown. Our dear friends and fellow rafting guides dropped us off at the airport early on the 11th and we loaded up in the big plane. 2 hours later we were in San Francisco, 10 hours later we were in Tokyo and another 7 hours later we were in Bangkok. We were exhausted and ready for sleep and a shower when we arrived and after a tussle with a taxi driver and finding a room for the night we could barely contain our excitement. When morning came (not many hours later) we set off on foot outside our hotel, hoping for inspiration and some food. We found a coffee and a street vendor with some meat and rice, then decided it was time to pack our packs and head into the heart of Bangkok. We got another taxi to the nearest train station, crossed our fingers and hopped onto the sky train. Soon enough, we were at Hua Lampoong, the central Bangkok train station where we would board a train and head south to the islands. We elected to ride the night train, as it would take about 12 hours and we wouldn’t need a hotel for that night. We were able to reserve a sleeping car for about $8, we had bunk beds, a sink, table and electricity, what more could we need? That was...

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Salmon River Experience: The Forgotten River

Posted by on 6:55 am in Americas Rafting Vacations, Fishing, Past River Trips, Rafting, River History | 0 comments

Sometimes I feel like the Salmon River experience is often forgotten about, or Hells Canyon shines a little brighter than the Salmon. Perhaps that’s because of the Hells Canyon’s fame or it’s depth, or it’s elusiveness, I’m not sure. But, that doesn’t mean that the Salmon River experience should be any less talked about or bragged on, but maybe that’s why I love it so much, it’s sort of the unsung hero of river trips. The Salmon River experience is quite different from Hells Canyon. Probably the number one reason the Salmon River experience is so different is the sand! White, hot sandy beaches. It’s a love hate kind of relationship. There is something magical about a beach, then mix that with being in the back country and the fact that you had to take a raft to get there and that beach becomes even more magical! It’s a great feeling when you park the boat on the beach, kick off your shoes and don’t need them again until the next morning. But, the sand can be rather invasive, it will stick to anything and you’ll find sand in at the bottom of your bag long after the trip is over. In fact, just a couple weeks ago I pulled a pair of shoes out that I haven’t worn since fall and had to dump out the sand in them from the Salmon River. I got a kick out of it and I longed for the sandy beaches again- soon enough the Salmon River experience will come flooding back.   Another thing that stands out when I think about the Salmon River experience is the rapids- there are so many class II and III rapids that make the river a great candidate for kayaking! They’re just big enough to get your adrenaline rushing, but not too big that you can’t conquer them and feel like a world class kayaker! There are those class IV rapids that you have to watch out for, but the guides will let you know when they’re coming up and if you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can definitely run them in a kayak!   As the longest running un-dammed river in North America, the Salmon River experience is enhanced even more. Our country was dam happy for many years and built many dams throughout our entire river system. In fact, we (as a country) are now going through some initiatives to break dams down and restore our rivers to what they were. The dams were installed for various reasons, most of which was hydro-power, some were installed for flood control and others installed for aesthetic or recreational reasons. The Salmon River has none. Not one single dam, so when enjoying the Salmon River experience, you can rest easy knowing that the river has flown unencumbered in a natural state. The Salmon River flows into the Snake River and there are dams on the lower Snake that prevent many of the salmon and steelhead from making their runs back to spawning grounds. Some fish do still make it back up, so when you’re lucky enough to go Salmon or Steelhead fishing and catch one, you know that the fish had a very long and exhausting journey. It’s an awesome feat to catch a huge...

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Best White Water Rafting: Reviews, Testimonials, Surveys

Posted by on 7:00 am in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Past River Trips | 1 comment

Recently I got a new pack. I am adamant about the old mantra “You get what you pay for” and I know that holds true for outdoor gear. In beginning my search to find the perfect pack, I had a couple features in mind that I wouldn’t go without, things that make backpacking more efficient for me. I began my search on Amazon- I love to read the customer reviews! I have always been one do my research on a new purchase, especially one that’s going to cost me a bit of money. I am sure that someone searching for the best white water rafting has a similar outlook in mind. They want to read the reviews of past guests, to see what they said, whether it was good or bad, what the company excelled at and of course, was the trip really the best white water rafting? Well, I am here to tell you that reviews are a big part of our summer, we love to hear from our guests when things went well on their trip and even if things didn’t go so well. We need to be sure that we’re providing the best possible trip for our guests. So, we take our reviews seriously and put into practice any suggestions that we get. So, without further adieu, here are some of the reviews that our guests emailed to us this year: From Annie- Seven Devils & Hells Canyon SERIOUS thank you’s to all of you guys. Your warm and spirited zest for life and the river made our trip outstanding! From Amanda- Salmon River I cannot stop talking about it and I am so bummed to be home.  I loved how organized and well planned the whole trip was.  You and Parker have a wonderful company.  I can only hope your guides enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed them. We are already planning for next year and have a few others that want to join! I will keep in touch for plans! Thank you again and I hope you guys have a wonderful summer. From Joe- Hells Canyon Thank you for a great trip, the food and service was beyond compare.  You have an awesome crew. From Marty- Hells Canyon I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the trip and especially getting to know you and Parker. Maybe you shouldn’t tell Parker that second part, you know how he can get! 🙂 It was so great how you all made the trip fun and kept it all safe. The reviews go on, but those were a few that we got this year. So, you can see that the best white water rafting has to be in Idaho (we do have more white water miles than any other state in the lower 48) and we are lucky enough to get so share the best white water rafting with our guests! Take me to the river… Becky...

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Salmon River Rafting: Romance on the River

Posted by on 7:00 am in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Past River Trips, Rafting | 0 comments

Happy Valentine’s Day, ya’ll! Did you know that a Salmon River rafting trip can be just as romantic as a fancy dinner in an expensive restaurant? I would argue that any date spent outside is sure to be more memorable than one spent in a tired movie theater or same old restaurant. But, maybe that’s just me, good thing I’m shacked up with an outdoorsy dude. One of my favorite Salmon River rafting trips that we’ve done happened a couple years ago and it had some very special circumstances surrounding it, which made for an amazing trip!   I was contacted by a relative wanting to buy a gift certificate for a newlywed couple. They were to spend their honeymoon in McCall and the gift certificate was a gift for them. We talked the relatives into buying them a candlelight cruise, rather than just a typical 1-day rafting trip. It was so fun! The newly weds had been spending their honeymoon week mountain biking, hiking and dining in the great town of McCall, their Salmon River rafting trips was one of the last things that they were going to do before heading back home and starting their life together as a married couple. We met them at Hammer Creek Recreation area late in the afternoon, rather than our normal 9 am departure. The couple floated and fished, hiked and swam- they even jumped off the log! It was a great afternoon, then when the sun was thinking about setting, we found a great spot for dinner, set up a table on the river’s edge and served a four course meal- it was fabulous! So, whatever you do on this Valentine’s Day- be sure to spend some time outside with your Valentine. A little fresh air and sunshine is sure to set anyone in a good valentine-y mood! I don’t have plans today be Salmon River rafting today, but if it were a little warmer, I probably would! Take me to the...

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Rafting Company: Weekend in Review

Posted by on 6:42 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations | 0 comments

Well, it was one of those quiet not too exciting weekends for this rafting company, and you know, I am totally ok with that! We have a trip coming up (more details on that soon) so we spent some time getting prepped for that and working around the warehouse. We know that this is very likely the calm before the storm that is summer, so we’re soaking it up and enjoying! America’s Rafting Company will soon transform from office work and gear repair, warehouse updates and shop building to a full throttle all summer rafting company! We are looking forward to a great season and hope that dreams of summer are starting to trickle in for you too!! From this rafting company to you, have a great week!!! Take me to the...

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Adventure Trips: Hell Hike and Raft 2015

Posted by on 5:48 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Backpacking, Past River Trips, Rafting | 1 comment

On of our favorite and most unique adventure trips happened last September. It was a trip that we had been looking forward to all season and it was one of the last of the season- a great note to end on! The adventure trips that I’m talking about was #HellHikeandRaft. It was a trip that I detailed over the course of 2 blog posts (click here and here for those). The trip was also documented by some very epic adventurers who we are proud to now call friends and Alumni! During last year’s trip, Adam, Scott and Parker put their heads together and it was decided that there would be another #HellHikeandRaft. From this awesome pilgrimage through the back country of Idaho, grew another idea that came to surface in the name of Epic Social Adventures. The guys behind Epic Social Adventures (Scott and Adam) were on that first of many adventure trips to come! We are excited to be on this journey with them and look forward to seeing where it will go from here. Back to #HellHikeandRaft 2015- the plan is definitely on course. We have dates picked out, they’re sandwiched in between other adventure trips that will comprise the best month for backpacking and rafting in Idaho: August! Announcements of new and incoming adventurers are being made and we couldn’t be more excited to meet each person and take them deep into the back country. There is no better way to become close friends in such a short amount of time than a trip into the wilderness, and this adventure trips is sure to make social media friends into real life confidants. It’s pretty neat what happens in the wilderness- inside jokes are made, countless laughs shared, cheers recited and all the while adventure looms around each corner. Our adventure trips are a magical way to spend 6 days, this crew has no idea what they’re in for and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Now, come on August, let’s get these adventure trips underway. Be sure to follow along on our facebook page to see the crew announcements! Take me to the...

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Idaho Whitewater: Weekend in Review

Posted by on 10:02 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations | 0 comments

Idaho whitewater most likely conjures up images of rafts, rapids, river, canyons, and the great outdoors, right? Wrong. Idaho whitewater is so much more than that! When thinking about Idaho whitewater, you have to think about it as a liquid flowing, constantly changing entity. The behind the scenes of what it takes to get that Idaho whitewater there and how you got there to see it. In order for Idaho whitewater to become what it is, we need snow! So, this week’s post is all about the snow (not the bass) We rely on our snow packs to fill the rivers of Idaho and provide that much needed whitewater throughout the summer, and year-round. All of the  rivers will ideally flow year-round, not just in the Spring and Summer. That means we need A LOT of snow! This past weekend, our hometown celebrated just that- SNOW, and winter in the form of a 10-day (it’s still happening) long Winter Carnival. This year marked 50 years of Winter Carnival for McCall! We attended the opening ceremonies on Saturday- there was a parade, snow-bike race, monster dog-pull, vendor court, and the list goes on! My most favorite part of Winter Carnival is the snow sculptures! Artists come from all around and are commissioned by local businesses to build their most creative sculpture from snow and ice! It’s absolutely astonishing what these guys and gals come up with and how big some of the sculptures turn out! Some of my favorites this year were the 30 foot tall snowman, Olaf and Sven and a little airstream camper! There were over 30 sculptures altogether. We were lucky enough to have some family in town, so we of course took them on tour to show off all the snow and winter we love and adore. Soon enough, those sculptures will melt and run into the streams and tributaries, then all the snow will melt and become what we know and love: Idaho whitewater! Now get out there and play in the snow! Take me to the river…...

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Rafting in Idaho: A to Z

Posted by on 7:00 am in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Rafting | 0 comments

So, I decided to do an A to Z post, all about rafting in Idaho. It may get a bit quirky and I hope give you a laugh or two, so here goes… Rafting in Idaho A to Z A- appetizers- served nightly B- Babe the Big Blue Gear Boat- she makes it on almost all our trips C- counting down the days until river season D- delicious food E- everyone will enjoy F- fun G- gear, a lot of gear H- hot weather- makes that river feel oh so nice! I- rafting in IDAHO- more whitewater miles than any other state in the lower 48 J- jump in the boat, or into the water K- kayak, inflatable or hard-shell, they’re all perfect for the Salmon River L- liberating, jumping off sturgeon rock is liberating M- marshmallows, roasted around the campfire N- no shoes, no shirt, no problems! O- oars to get us down the river P- paddle, paddle, paddle Q- quick, the trip goes too quick R- river, of course S- sturgeon, some of the biggest fresh water fish are caught in Hells Canyon T- tents! or not, your choice U- universal fit life jackets V- views, some of the best views on the planet! W- whitewater X- Y-you, the trip wouldn’t be any fund without YOU! Z- z shaped tan lines on all the feet of your river guides Well, there you have it folks, that is rafting in Idaho, A to Z. Except X. I could use some help on X, if you can give me a great idea for the letter X I will gladly mail you a hellscanyon.com sticker! Leave your idea for Rafting in Idaho, the letter X in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!   Take me to the river…...

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Idaho Rafting Trips: The Adventure Mobile

Posted by on 6:40 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Equipment, Past River Trips, Rafting, River History | 0 comments

Many of you may know the adventure-mobile, some more personally than others. If you’ve been on Idaho rafting trips with ARC than you’ve taken a lovely and entertaining ride in the adventure-mobile (15 passenger van)! The ride in the adventure mobile is quite different on the way to the river than it is on the way home from the river. On the way to the river for one of our Idaho Rafting Trips the adventure-mobile  is full of excitement and anticipation, the conversation is light and introductory, strangers getting to know each other, likely thinking, “what in the world am I getting myself into?” Then we make the last crest over Hells Canyon Dam (if on a Hells Canyon trip) and our passengers get to see the river for the first time- the river, not the reservoir that we have been travelling along the whole way so far. Trying to explain to first timers that the river is there, below the miles and miles of water is like telling someone that underneath the color black is a whole spectrum of other colors. It’s hard to imagine where the river once was, until you make that last stretch over the dam and see where the real river is, the white water, the water’s edge, get a glimpse of what Idaho rafting trips are all about. It’s so hard to imagine what the reserviors have taken away until you get to see what is left. But, I digress- back to the adventure mobile!! When the adventure mobile is coming back home after one of our 3 or 4 day Idaho rafting trips, the conversation has turned from small talk to reminiscing and laughter, those guests that were once strangers are now friends. They’ve been through the deepest or second deepest canyon in North America and loved every second, they’ve shared laughs and memories, they’ve fished side by side, they’ve eaten at the same table. There have been many connections made on Idaho rafting trips that last a lifetime. The adventure mobile transcends strangers into friends and will turn around to do it again the next week. The adventure mobile is so much more than a means of transportation for a bunch of travelers, it’s a means to adventure and memories, unforgettable vacations and new friends. The life of ARC’s adventure mobile during the summer is just that- full of adventure! Then, the summer winds down and the adventure mobile gets a thorough scrub down and check up. Then she’s parked at ARC’s headquarters and is left to wait, count down the days until summer rolls around again. Here are the latest pictures of the adventure mobile, she’s covered in snow tucked in nice and tight for the rest of winter. Waiting for the song birds of Spring to signal that summer is on it’s way.   Does she look a bit lonely? Join ARC on one of our Idaho rafting trips this summer to get to know the crew and more importantly the infamous adventure mobile!!! Take me (and the adventure-mobile) to the river…...

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Idaho River Rafting: where’s the bathroom?

Posted by on 5:59 pm in Americas Rafting Vacations, Equipment, Rafting | 0 comments

One of the first phrases I learned in Spanish as a freshman in High School was: “Donde esta el bano?” Where is the bathroom? Such an important phrase when travelling abroad or in an unfamiliar place. When nature calls, you had better know where you’re headed and in a timely fashion. The same goes for an Idaho river rafting trip. We get a lot of questions from our guests before the trip, what kind of clothes to wear, how big are the dry bags, etc. The question that we are asked the most frequently is: what are the bathrooms like? It’s a very valid concern for many and we want to be sure that guests are as prepared and comfortable as possible before embarking on a 4 day Idaho river rafting trip deep into the back country. Some of the funniest conversations I’ve had with guests preparing for their first trip with us have been about the bathroom facilities. I have gotten all kinds of questions and painted pictures for people about what the bathroom will be like. Before they ask the question, they’ve often already thought of what kind of facilities will be available. I’ve had a guest assume that we would carry large port-a-potties along with us. We’ve also had people assume that they’d just be told to do ALL their business in the river. Or that there would be flushing toilets at all the camps. If it has to do with bathrooms in the backcountry, we’ve heard it and wanted to write this post to set the record straight. “Pack it in, pack it out”, “Leave no trace”, “Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints” these are mantras of America’s Rafting Company when it comes to our back-country philosophy. That means the same thing for human waste as it does trash and recycling. If we bring it into the river canyon, then we need to take it back out. America’s Rafting Company supplies the cadillac of river toilets, called the Johnny Partner. We want to provide the best quality up to date and safe gear on the river and in camp, that includes our toilet system! Our Johnny Partners are even equipped with an Oak toilet seat! We take great pride in our toilets. The bathroom facility is always set up with a great view of the river- sometimes it’s one of the best views in camp! Always private and secluded, but open to the air to provide the maximum freshness and breeze. The toilets are set up to provide toilet paper on a toilet paper holder, a.k.a. screw driver, wet wipes are available for hands as well as hand sanitizer and a waste basket. The wishy washy (hand washing station) is in camp with running water and bio-degradable soap. It’s really a plush experience that will leave you pleasantly surprised by the luxury afforded in a back country toilet. The toilet tanks are sealed up when camp is packed up and taken to the SCAT machine after the trip is over. There are two SCAT machines in the state of Idaho, and they are of course conveniently located near the take out for the river. The machine that we frequent is in Riggins, ID on the way home from the river. It’s essentially a large...

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