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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:


Whitewater Rafting in Hells Canyon: There’s a storm brewin’

Posted by on 2:38 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Equipment, Rafting | 1 comment

The count down to the first day of fall is on! September 23rd here we come. Our warehouse is pretty quiet these days at America’s Rafting Company, our trips have slowed down considerably, our guides have gone home and we are looking forward to what fall, winter and spring will bring. We’ll have time to reflect on our 2014 whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon and the Salmon River season. We’ll be able to unfold and recount each trip one by one, sharing it here with information about the fishing, the photos and the best of all the amazing people we met this summer. As I type this post, I can see out the office window, there is cloud cover and it looks like rain may be on the horizon, which leads me to think about the storms that we encountered this summer while whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon. It seemed that if there was a storm, it was slated to unleash on our launch date, we didn’t have many whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon trip this summer that didn’t put up with a storm of some kind- whether it was rain, wind or just plain hot, we endured all kinds of weather! What does America’s Rafting Company do to prepare for any and all weather? First we start by listing various layers of clothing on our packing list, it’s important to bring layers when planning a trip in the elements. So, we suggest having everything from a bathing suit, to fleece, to a rain jacket. Most of our trips will only require shirts and shorts during the day and possibly a lightweight long sleeve at night. We do recommenced that a rain jacket be kept out in the day bag so that it is accessible during the day, once in a while we’ll get a thunder storm that can chill you right to the core. We have a saying that ,”there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear”. So, another item that we pack on all of our trips is our parachute, it’s perfect for keeping out the rain and providing much needed shelter from a blazing summer sun. Whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon has brought us many different battles with weather, most of our trips this summer experienced just a bit of rain at night, which sent the guides running to get rain flies on tents in the middle of the night (we don’t typically set the tents up with the rain flies on, as they can get quite warm and block the view of the gorgeous night sky) But, we have had trips that were down right wet and cold, this summer we launched a 4-day whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon trip, the forecast had been clear for the trip for weeks, then right before the guests arrived, the weather took a turn for the worst. Rain and wind were predicted for all 4 days of trip, the day they got off the water- sunshine and summer time! Just our luck. The rain came, the thunder and lightning came and the wind picked up, the parachute was out at each camp, rain flies were attached and rain jackets were sported for the whole trip. The guides and guests were troopers- they didn’t seem to mind one...

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Idaho Whitewater Rafting: 2014 Season, So far

Posted by on 7:09 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Past River Trips, Rafting | 0 comments

Wait a second, it’s July 29th?!? I can’t believe how quickly summer is flying by! They say that time flies when you’re having fun and it can’t be more true during the summer. I wish we were at the start of June again, just creeping into our whitewater trips, but sadly our launch dates are flying by so quickly, I can hardly keep up! I’ve been terrible about blogging and facebooking out Idaho Whitewater Rafting, but I will definitely have a lot to write about this fall once things finely go back to a normal pace. We’ve had a great season so far: lots of big trips, lots of big whitewater and lots of big adventure! We’ve been in and out of the Snake River Canyon 6 times this summer and visited the Salmon River Canyon 4 times! We still have quite a few more trips up our sleeve for the summer and even into the fall. By October 1st, we’ll have our boats rolled up and put to bed after out Idaho Whitewater Rafting season. I won’t drag on and on about our trips, instead, I will just share some of my favorite photos so far of Idaho Whitewater Rafting: We’ve got a 6-day Hells Canyon trip out on the water right now, Parker and I are going to sneak in to join them- they’re having too much fun without us and we can’t stand it. Once we get back, we will welcome August with open arms, it will be a great month! Take me to the...

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White Water Rafting for Kids: When to Go, When to Stay

Posted by on 6:51 pm in Americas Rafting Vacations | 0 comments

Phew! The first day of summer has come and gone and we are well into our 2014 Rafting Season! It’s been great fun so far, I wanted to expand on a question that we get a lot, so I’ve titled this post “White Water Rafting for Kids”. One of the most common questions we get when planning for a trip is about children and white water: What age is appropriate? What class of rapids are ok for little ones? Which river is better for a child? Well, in this post I will answer all of those questions for you! First and foremost “What age is appropriate?” We are licensed by many state and federal agencies, including the USFS and BLM. While there are many guidelines to follow on licensing and boating requirement set forth by those agencies, there is no set age limit for our trips, that is to be determined by the individual outfitter. It seems that industry standard sets the starting age at around 7 years old. That is the guideline that we have chosen to follow as well, although we always give parents the option and ultimately you just need to know your child to make that decision. We have taken children rafting that are younger than 7 and they’ve done amazing, we’ve also taken kids that are older than 7 and the didn’t do so well, they weren’t comfortable with being in the boat, on the water for a full day. So, first we ask if the child knows how to swim and if they are a thrill seeker kind of kiddo. If so, then they are probably going to be great at white water rafting for kids! If they are not comfortable with the water and don’t like amusement park rides, going fast or getting wet, then white water rafting may  be something to hold off on and wait until they are a bit older. The second question we get a lot is about the Class of rapids that are appropriate for children. The main rivers that we run (Salmon River and the Snake River through Hells Canyon) both boast Class III and IV rapids. They are great choices for children. In Hells Canyon there are two large Class IV rapids that parents may choose whether or not their children go down the rapids, as there are nice trails on the river bank to walk down are around the rapid. On the Salmon River, we don’t have the option of walking to avoid the rapids, but if visiting the Salmon River in August, the rapids are more tame than in late June-July when the water is still rather high. So, when planning a white water rafting for kids vacation, give us a call and we can talk about the best time of year to see each river. The same goes for choosing a river that works better for your child, it really just depends on the time of year you are wanting to plan your white water rafting trip for kids. If you are wanting to do an June or July trip, it may be better to choose a Hells Canyon date, if you’re looking at an August date, choosing to visit the Salmon River may be the key. So, give us a call...

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Rafting in Idaho | High Water and Packing for Trips

Posted by on 5:00 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Equipment, Past River Trips, Rafting | 0 comments

The time has come, high water is here and we’re packing for trips!!! Our 2014 Rafting in Idaho season is officially here and we couldn’t be more excited! We can’t wait to get things underway and enjoy the brilliance that is Rafting in Idaho! We’ve had some great seasons in the past, but think that our 2014 season will be the best yet!! Rafting in Idaho can mean different things to different people, for us, it means making a living doing the most enjoyable thing on the planet: whitewater rafting!!! We are fortunate souls in that we can call rafting work! To others, rafting in Idaho may mean camping under the stars, blasting though big whitewater, spending time with loved ones on the river, reeling in a big sturgeon or simply floating down a lazy river. Whatever it means to you and however you spend your time on the water, no time is wasted when talking about, dreaming about or actually rafting in Idaho! This season so far has brought us some Steelhead fishing trips, a couple Salmon fishing trips, an Owyhee River rafting trip. It’s been great and getting better. The Salmon River is raging right now, so far it’s peaked at 67,000 cfs and today it’s running at 46,300 cfs. CFS stands for cubic feet per second. If you were to string a line across the river, 46,300 cubic feet of water are passing that line every second! That’s huge!! That’s a lot of water! In high water season like were are experiencing right now, we see very brown water, often referred to as chocolate. There is also a lot of debris in the water- sticks, mud, etc. All the trees that fell during winter get swept down the mountain during snow melt and fall into the river, then as the river lowers some sticks are left on the river banks and some go all the way out to the ocean, or get stopped by the next dam. Those sticks in the water can be un-safe for rafts and other boats, so if we do float the river during high water we use extreme caution. Our trips are right around the corner, the warehouse is getting packed and we are counting down the days until we are on the river more than we are off. Many fun posts are to come about our trips, our menus, our guides and our 2014 rafting in Idaho season! See you on the...

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River Rafting Idaho: New Gear for the 2014 Season

Posted by on 1:01 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Equipment, Rafting | 0 comments

Phew, summer is just around the corner, almost time for some river rafting Idaho! We are  down the days until we are on the water again! We’ve kept busy at river camp (our warehouse) in order to pass the time. It seemed as if we were in the dead of winter and summer was so far away, we didn’t need to hurry to catch up on anything, we had plenty of time to work on gear, get new ordered and finish up a couple of home improvement projects. Then one morning we woke up and Spring had quickly faded to the end of May and here we are, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and we are headed out to see Hells Canyon in the morning! Woohoo! So, in order to prepare for our 2014 river rafting Idaho season, we had to make some big purchases this year. First and probably most exciting, we purchased some new AIRE boats! Parker was able to stop by the factory in Meridian and watch part of the production. It was an exciting day for America’s Rafting Company, knowing that a whole bunch of rubber was on it’s way to becoming so pretty-darn-good-looking boats! We even had AIRE place our website on the boats, that way everyone on the river will be able to read our web address and they’ll surely want to do a trip with hellscanyon.com next year! A second purchase we made was our BRAND NEW VAN (imagine that in a Bob Barker, Price is Right) voice. Ok, so it’s not brand new, it’s only new to us, which is basically the same thing, right? In the past, we have hired shuttle companies and/or shuttled guest’s vehicles around to the take out. Which is costly and inconvenient, so Parker spent the better part of the winter on Craigslist (that man can find some deals on Craigslist!) and finally landed on a Ford Van with a brand new motor, it’s in great shape and has very low miles, it was perfect! We headed down to Boise on a rainy afternoon and picked the beauty up. I have written about some of our adventures in the van, but not actually the purchase of the van. So, this season, we’ll be able to pick up our guests at the hotel the morning of the trip and head down the road, all excited and rearing to go river rafting Idaho! Woohoo! (this post is filled with a lot of woohoo’s) We have gotten some more new gear, which I will share about next week, right now, I am off to finish up some last minute touches on the river kitchen in the guide house. Then pack for a quick Hells Canyon trip tomorrow. River Rafting Idaho is the best! Happy Memorial Day Weekend! See you on the...

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Whitewater Rafting in Idaho: Visiting the Clearwater, Lochsa and the Selway

Posted by on 2:24 pm in About us, Americas Rafting Vacations, Backpacking, Rafting, River History | 0 comments

Last week, I posted about our visit to the Clearwater, Lochsa and Selway, so in this week’s post, I just wanted to finish that up and talk about a couple more things. Whitewater rafting in Idaho is definitely a must for us (especially since we do it everyday) but, we truly love every aspect of it and especially love exploring new rivers. Seeing those three rivers and getting to know more about them, has definitely gotten our wheels spinning. We are so excited to get back up there and spend some time whitewater rafting in Idaho! While we were on our road trip, visiting some great areas of whitewater rafting in Idaho, we stopped by the hatchery. It was a great time of year to be there, they had just released some chinook salmon into the creek near the hatchery and had some more fish in the tanks that they would release this fall. It was great to see where they came from, how many fish they were releasing and what a great quality facility they have! In the picture of the tank below, the little black spots are salmon, the tanks were huge and there were about 40 of them all filled up like that one with little salmon! The other thing we learned, while we were checking out other areas for whitewater rafting in Idaho, was about the great trail system along the Selway! The Selway River is one of the most pristine in the country! In terms of rafting, the USFS only allows 1 permit to launch per day, compare that to the 4 permits per day on the Snake River and 7 permits per day on the Middle Fork! The chances of a river trip coming across another river trip are very slim! The chances of drawing a permit to float the Selway are even more slim. But, backpacking along the well developed trail doesn’t take a permit, so it’s a great way to see the river, although some may consider it a lot less exciting. Here’s a photo of the trail system along the Selway River: Whitewater rafting in Idaho is never a bad choice, no matter which area you choose! Come see America’s Rafting Company to get into the back country and visit Idaho’s premier river canyons! See you on the...

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Whitewater Rafting in Idaho: Visiting the Clearwater, Lochsa and the Selway

Posted by on 2:31 pm in Americas Rafting Vacations | 0 comments

Idaho has more whitewater river miles than anywhere in the lower 48. Perhaps that’s why white water rafting in Idaho is an item on many people’s bucket list. Here at America’s Rafting Company, we are fortunate enough to run a couple of the major rivers in Idaho: the Snake River through Hells Canyon and the Salmon River. We, of course also run the Owyhee River and backpack in the Seven Devils, but most of our river miles are on the Snake and the Salmon. Just like many of you, we have a bucket list too! On our bucket list is comprised of traveling abroad, acquiring other river permits, visiting Alaska as often as possible and most recently: whitewater rafting the upper Selway River. We had never visited the Bitterroot Mountains, but have been dying to make a trip up there. It’s only about 2 1/2 hours away from base camp, so I’m not sure why we’ve put it off for so long (well, in our defense, we have been staying pretty busy white water rafting in Idaho) I can now say that seeing the Bitteroots and all that they hold, was well worth the wait. So, we hopped in the new van with our pooch and some sleeping bags and hit the open road. The weather was supposed to be great, a little rain here and there, but sunny otherwise and we had a couple days to spare. Maybe it was the final stretch of cabin fever that made us look for a getaway. Whatever the reason, I am thrilled we went! We had so much fun and can’t wait to go back! We headed north on 95, through Riggins, Whitebird and eventually turned in Grangeville and traveled towards the Clearwater River. Without any true plan or itinerary, we were free to do what we wanted at our own pace. We spent some time exploring the Clearwater and watching people fish, it was a little rainy that afternoon, so we decided to keep on trekking in the van, out of the rain. After following the Clearwater for quite some time, we came to the confluence of all three rivers: the South Fork of the Clearwater, the Lochsa and the Selway, the rivers are merged into a migty force and become the Clearwater River. The confluence was quite amazing! After spending some time exploring there a bit, we decided to head up the Selway River to Selway Falls…. I will finish this post next week and talk about the trails, the Falls, the Steelhead and the magic of it all! See you on the...

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Guided Steelhead Fishing in Idaho

Posted by on 8:00 am in Americas Rafting Vacations, Fishing | 0 comments

Idaho has some amazing fishing opportunities, from our world record tiger musky, to one of the best sturgeon fisheries in North America, we have a little bit of everything. As much as I would love to list and talk about all the species in our creeks, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, streams, and ponds; I better stick to just one for the time being. The fish of much mystery and discussion that I refer to is the illusive Idaho Steelhead – thought to be one of the most challenging of sporting fish. The Idaho Steelhead These beautiful creatures that have navigated from the ocean, through 8 man made dams, and miles of river are not for the faint of heart. Catching one takes time patience, . . . more patience, . . . and  did I mention patience? 🙂 Skill is also required but some days I think it could be chalked up to just pure luck – the right time, place, and lure all have to align. Not to mention the tides, horoscope, full moon and and some days even the color of your shoe laces. But landing one of these beauties after makes all of it worth while – a challenging catch is a well deserved catch. This Spring’s Steelhead Fishing season has been a bit of a challenge for us, our runs weren’t as high as we would typically like to see. The early high and murky water has made the water less than desirable for Steelhead Fishing. Idaho Steelhead Fishing with America’s Rafting Company Here I am going to give you slight insight to how America’s Rafting Company pursues one of Americas most sought after anadromous fish.  Where to start? Well I guess with the boat. The boat that we use for Steelhead Fishing in fall and winter is typically a 17’ aluminum drift boat. Drift boats are preferred for many reasons but the main reason is the create less drag on the water making back stroking while side drifting a bit easier for the man on the sticks. Rafts can be used, buy they tend to stick to the top of the water which moves faster than the water below the surface, making for more of a backstroking challenge. Our boat of choice is Hyde they are an Idaho Based company and provide excellent service. For rods we have teamed up with TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters) in my opinion, these are the best rods for the money and are backed with a no fault warranty. As an outfitter their warranty is a saving grace, I just wish they would cover the rods that mange to slip right out of a clients hand into the bottom of the river! 🙂 Their casting and spinning rods have been designed by Gary Loomis – enough said! For fly fishing TFO offers darn near anything under the sun. As for reels, its hard to go wrong with a Shimonno. And as for what to put on the end of that line . . . well you’ll just have to book a Steelhead Fishing trip to see. But, if you’re lucky enough to read this post, I will even give you a little insight on different steelhead fishing setups. Showing you my secret holes on a map, well, that is where...

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Owyhee River Rafting: Artifacts, Sheds & Portaging

Posted by on 2:57 pm in Americas Rafting Vacations, Rafting | 0 comments

Here at America’s Rafting Company, we take people rafting for a living, but also love to go on our own rafting trips. Usually we are able to take Spring and Fall rafting trips and squeeze in one or two Summer trips. In the Spring time, we especially love to take Owyhee River Rafting trips. Parker and I grew up in Northern Nevada, so rafting the Owyhee is right in our backyard, relatively speaking. Ok, ok the Owyhee River is a whole lot closer to Winnemucca than the Snake or the Salmon River. So, taking a long weekend to enjoy an Owyhee River Rafting trip was a lot more feasible for us. Now that we live in Idaho, we are much closer to the Snake and the Salmon River, we don’t get to go Owyhee River Rafting nearly as much as we used to. This year, the guys were able to squeeze in an Owyhee River Rafting trip, this past weekend, and they has a great time! The water on an Owyhee River Rafting trip can be a bit of a challenge, it is an early Spring run-off river, meaning that as soon as the snow melts, the rafting is on and you’d better hurry, or you’ll miss it. At least, that’s been the case in recent years with lower than normal snow fall. So, this trip was planned to be a lower water trip, the guys were prepared for lining boats and at worst, maybe having to portage some rapids. They ended up portaging more than anticipated, meaning they un-packed everything on the boats by hand, walked it down river below the rapid, then either had to disassemble the boat itself, or push, pull and pack it over the rocks, trails and whatever else may be in the way. Typically, an Owyhee River Rafting trip does not turn out that way. In fact, when the guys headed out on the trip the river was flowing at well over 1500 cfs, the morning they launched it dropped down to 1300 cfs and by the time they got off the water, the river was flowing at 700 cfs. That’s a serious loss of water, it happened much more quickly than the guys thought it would. Looking back, I think they may have held off on their Owyhee River Rafting trip. But, of course anytime spent on the river is not wasted time. The guys were very likely the first humans to be in the river canyon this year and they caught sight of some amazing artifacts. In Oregon, it is illegal to take or unearth any sort of Indian artifact. With the rain and snow over the winter and no one walking around the camps, the guys were able to spy some arrowheads sitting right on the surface of the sand, a pretty cool sight that not many get to see. They also found some sheds along the river bank. It is legal to take them, or at least rearrange for a great photo, like they did here: All in all, it was a great Owyhee River Rafting trip- one for the record books! See you on the...

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Rafting Idaho: Quarterly Newsletter

Posted by on 7:03 pm in Americas Rafting Vacations | 0 comments

Dear Friends, We are checking in now that 2014 is 1/4 of the way through! It amazes me how fast time flies! We’ve had a whirlwind of a winter at the warehouse and are looking forward to Spring. Lately we’ve had a TON of rain here in Meadows Valley. That rain has led to some local flooding and rising rivers. The Salmon River is running at an un-seasonably high level right now! But, in between that rain, we’ve had little snippets of warm weather, which has got us itching to drag the boats out of storage and put some river miles between us and the warehouse. In fact, we’ve got an Owyhee River trip in the making right now- we may be seeing that river canyon by week’s end. In other news, we are looking forward to our 2014 season! We are booking up quickly. We have some pretty cool trips on the books so far. Namely, a wine tasting trip with Idaho’s own I. If you are interested in a Hells Canyon Snake River trip and love wine, than this may be the trip for you! Another exciting trip we are working on is a fishing clinic, set to launch late September. We are honored to have made the acquaintance of Dr. Rick Williams, Owner and Master Caster at Idaho Angler. We’ll cover all kinds of fishing tips and tricks and work on Spey Casting. Hells Canyon is the perfect river for that, as it is so wide and features some great beaches for a make-shift classroom. More details on that to come. This winter we spent some time improving our guide’s quarters- we completed an additional 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a fishing room complete and might just have enough DIY spirit to complete a couple other projects before Summer hits. Our winter also brought some exciting winter adventures: skiing, snow-shoeing, ice fishing and even a little Steelhead fishing. We are in the middle of the Steelhead Season now, but with the water levels so high, things have been a little dicey. We’re hoping that with the warmer dryer forecast predicted, the river will go back down and we’ll be able to nail some Steelhead! As always, we are constantly looking to grow our client list, so please forward this on to your contacts and if you know of a group that may benefit from a Rafting Idaho Trip, let us know! In the past we have worked with organizations such as the Boys Scouts of America, troubled youth groups, among others. We have a great passion for being outside and splashing in the cool river water- and we want to share that with you! Mention that you received this newsletter and get 15% off your trip !!! See you on the...

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