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:
When we left off last week, the #hellhikeandraft crew had just landed in Boise. I had driven the shaggin’ wagon (or more correctly, the 15 passenger van) to Boise, to pick up the crew. I was thrilled to finally be meeting the group. Most had flown in from all over the country, only a couple members had driven straight to New Meadows, and we’d be meeting with with them later that day. In preparing for any of ourq hells canyon snake river trip, we meet with our guests the evening before at Roadhouse Java to discuss logistics and answer all the last minute questions. But, this hells canyon snake river trip, #hellhikeandraft proved to be a bit different in a lot of ways. So there I was pulling in to the Boise International Airport, when I saw a group unlike any other, first they all had red teton sports backpacks and second, they all had that wild look in their eyes that could only mean one thing- they were ready for adventure!
We quickly loaded up in the van and set off, heading North, out of the city and into the mountains. We were headed to find this crew some adventure! Two and a half hours and one bathroom break later, we pulled into one of the most gorgeous valleys in all of Idaho, Meadows Valley. We joined with the others at Meadows Valley Motel and went over a couple of housekeeping items, then readied ourselves for the next day. There may or may not have been some wine poured and spirits lifted in anticipation for the great unknown. The crew left bright and early, headed to the trailhead for the Seven Devils Wilderness. It would be the last time I’d se them for a couple of days, I was slated bring in the rafts and meet them in Hells Canyon Snake River. We watched online (there were a a couple SPOT devices on board) as the crew, guided by our own Marshall Minder, Rick Robison and John Welch made their way through the Seven Devils Wilderness. There are many recounts from the crew members on their blogs, and on social media sites so be sure to browse through all of the information, by clicking here.
After three days of hiking, we all met up at the mouth of Granite Creek in Hells Canyon Snake River. And embarked on three days of rafting. Parker and I had arrived with 2 rafts blown up and geared down, we had a paddle boat rolled up ready to go, as well as two inflatable kayaks and a SUP (stand-up paddle board) AIRE demoed the SUP out for us, to give it a whirl for this Hells Canyon Snake River trip. When we landed at Granite Creek, we quickly readied camp so that we could spend some time playing on the SUP and get some appetizers started. We knew the crew would be hungry, tired and thirsty when they arrived, so we got everything ready to go, we couldn’t wait to hear the stories of the trail. After a cold beer and some riverside cuisine:
Spinach/Artichoke dip with Pita Chips to start, followed by
Dutch oven river chicken with carrots and potatoes
Kale/Brusell Sprout salad with a white balsalmic vinegarette
Green beans with sauteed bacon
Homemade dutch oven peach cobbler for desert
My mouth is watering thinking about it. With full tummies and trail stories, everyone headed up the hill to their tents, with visions of rapids dancing through our heads, we looked forward to the next day, rafting the mighty Hells Canyon Snake River. More on the rafting to come next week…
Be sure to check out these pages (I can personally attest to their awesomeness)
Tara Oster (Ski, Toast.)
See you on the river…
It’s Monday again! Doesn’t it seem like Mondays show up without warning and smack you in the face to remind you that the weekend freedom is over? Sheesh! Anyways, here’s what this rafting company was up to over the weekend:
We now have poles in the ground for the new shop! Things are moving along quite nicely, fingers crossed that we don’t have any snow for a bit. Although, Brundage Ski Resort (we can see the runs from our front window) reported 3 inches of the powdery white stuff on Sunday, so it’s definitely happening, old man winter is creeping in to town!
Pretty quiet little weekend, it flew right by us, we’re back to the grind again. Working on our year end reports for our 2014 season, which is always a sad report to file, it means that the season is officially over and on the books. On the bright side, this rafting company is looking forward to 2015, it will be here before we know it!!
Cheers to you with my second cup of coffee for this shiny Monday, have a great week!
I guess it’s my turn to write about the epic-ness that was #hellhikeandraft. I have truly enjoyed every word written about the trip, no not just enjoyed. I have drank up every word, reading slower and slower as each post comes to an end, because I don’t want it to end. Let me back up here and give some framework for what this #hellhikeandraft trip is all about. America’s Rafting Company is fortunate enough to call hells canyon snake river, the Salmon River canyon and the Owyhee River our “office” we have one of the coolest jobs on the planet and to sweeten the deal even more, ARC was also lucky enough to get a backpacking permit for the Seven Devils Wilderness here in Idaho. Our permit (one of two in existence) is an appendage to our hells canyon snake river permit, meaning that if we outfit a trip in the Seven Devils, our exit route has to be on the Snake River.
It takes an adventurous soul to sign up for a Hells Canyon Snake River rafting trip, but it takes an intrepid soul to embark on a multi-sport, backpacking and rafting trip with America’s Rafting Company into the Seven Devils Wilderness and through Hells Canyon Snake River country. This trip is not for the faint of heart. Climbing to one the highest peaks in Idaho (He Devil of the Seven Devils Wilderness sits just under 9,500 feet of elevation) and then descending into Hells Canyon Snake River, the deepest canyon in North America is an adventure to say the least. America’s Rafting Company knew that marketing this multi-sport trip could prove to be a challenge, as there were more moving parts and the participants on the trips needed to have grit and determination to make it through the elevation changes, the sore feet and the class IV rapids. The rewards and bragging rights that come after a successful completion of the most epic of epic trips are worth every step.
I digress, let’s get back to #hellhikeandraft and how it came to be. America’s Rafting Company was brainstorming ideas one chilly morning last winter, huddled around the wood stove in the shop and enjoying a morning brew, distracted by social media and checking up on our twitter feed. We had gotten a new follower, Adam Nutting with Hiking the Trail. Queue the lightbulb over the head, Parker had a great idea, contacted Adam and that was where #hellhikeandraft came into play. Parker had let Adam know about this permit that we held and proposed the idea of gathering a crew of awesome social media/blogger/outdoor gurus and putting on this epic trip. Adam hit the ground running and hand picked the crew, got some awesome gear sponsors lined up and Parker began the preparations from the outfitter side. Soon enough, September was here and the crew was landing in Boise:
Tara Oster (Ski, Toast.)
More to come on this epic adventure next week!
See you on the river…
Hello! Hope you all had a great adventure some weekend! Here at ARC headquarters, things are still quite busy, despite the season. Fall is typically our busiest behind the scenes season, as we are busy tying up loose ends from the summer. We get all of our equipment put to bed for a long hibernation into winter and finish up outside projects before the snow flies here in Meadows Valley.
This Idaho Rafting Company was busy this weekend, working on a new boat shop (we are at max capacity in our current boat shop) so a new one is going up! We have had a lot of rain over the past weekend, so we’ve been trying to squeeze in some time outside in between the showers. The boat shop is all flagged and marked, holes will be drilled this week for the poles and progress will continue! The weather forecast is going to be chilly, but dry, so fingers crossed we can make some progress on the shop this week!
We were able to escape the boat shop for a bit and take a drive up the Salmon River to see some fall colors and take a couple little side hikes, the weather was perfect and the drive/hike was just what we needed- we really miss the rivers when we don’t see them for a couple weeks, so it was time to check in and ogle some whitewater! Here are a couple shots from that drive:
Say the word vacation around a group of working adults and they may mumble about how they need a vacation or can’t get a vacation, and then they’ll likely conjure up images of palm trees and sandy beaches, or a trek through Europe, or sipping margaritas in Mexico. Vacation can mean so many different things to different people. It’s not often that vacation conjures up images of brisk whitewater, inflatable kayaks and dutch oven cooking. But, to us those images are the ideal vacation. Just like any vacation, a whitewater rafting vacation can be restorative, adventure some and energizing. It can mean re-kindling a flame, re-connecting with grown children or reminiscing with college buddies.
When asked what a whitewater rafting vacation is like, it’s hard to narrow it down into a couple concise sentences when conversing with a new acquaintance. It’s hard to put into words the meaning of riverside coffee, or sinking your feet into the sand and chatting with your better half, splashing in the water with your children. There are no rules (other than a couple safety topics) there are no bosses or emails or cell phones or traffic jams or anything that may cause stress. There’s just you, your river crew and comrades, the gear and endless opportunities to get to know yourself again, contemplate the meaning of life and just exist in the moment.
Perhaps my most favorite concept on a whitewater rafting trip is the concept of time, or lack there-of. I am often asked what time will we be on the water each day- what time will we eat, etc. While we do keep to a pretty general timeline on the river, there really is no set time, other than river time. We eat when we’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired and drink when you’re thirsty. We move at the speed of the river- there is no rushing the Snake or Salmon River, there is only existing within the confines of the river canyon, and exist we do.
I hope that you’re able to experience the best vacation on the planet with us, a whitewater rafting vacation.
America’s Rafting Company floats the Snake River through Hells Canyon, the Salmon River and the Owyhee River in Oregon. We are often asked what the difference is between Snake river rafting and Salmon river rafting. There are many aspects from each river that can make for a very different experience on the water. The Salmon River Rafting trips that we offer are set up in a similar fashion to our Hells Canyon Snake River trips, so today we’ll point our the major similarities and differences.
Salmon River rafting trips require the same kind of boats that the Snake River does, our inflatable rafts are made by AIRE and they are great quality, they get us down the river in style and class. We love working with AIRE- they are a local Idaho company with great vision and customer service! We have very similar equipment in terms of camping and cooking, and most all of our gear is the same for our Salmon River rafting trips and our Snake River rafting trips, but there are a few very different aspects of the two rivers to point out:
First, the Salmon River rafting is lined with sandy beaches! White, pristine sandy beaches. Whereas the Snake River has more rock/gravel bars. The reason the Salmon is full of sandy beaches is an interesting fact: the Salmon River is the longest running river in North America without any dams. That means all the snow melt and run off carries a lot of dirt and debris, which floats down the river and gets deposited along the river banks. On the Snake River the same concept is happening: the sand is running down into the tribuataries and into the Snake, but the Snake is a dammed river. The sand is instead getting trapped above each of the three dams leading into Hells Canyon. Eventually the sand and silt will become too much of a problem and the reservoirs (Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoirs) will need to be dredged to rid them of the sand.
Secondly, the other major difference in the two rivers is the history. The Snake River canyon is lined with homesteads and mines from decades past. The Salmon River was used and inhabited primarily by the Nez Pearce Indians and Chinese miners. There aren’t many old homesteads or cabins along the lower Salmon River. So, if you’re a history buff and interested in seeing old cabins, equipment and homesteads than the Snake River would be a great choice for you!
Thirdly, the Salmon River and the Snake River vary in their directional flows and the way the sun rises. It’s a very peculiar thing, but the Snake River in Hells Canyon actually flows from South to North. The Salmon River primarily flows from East to West. This has a large impact on the summer days. In Hells Canyon, when the sun rises and sets, you have a lot of cover from the canyon walls. Whereas the Salmon River gets sun very early in the day and it sets very late in the day. So, a trip where swimming and sun bathing is a priority- we suggest the Salmon River.
The scenery and terrain in Hells Canyon and in the Salmon River canyon are similar, they run parallel of each other for many miles and are in close proximity to one another.
The whitewater is superb and comprise many of the miles of whitewater that contribute to Idaho being the state with the most whitewater miles in the lower 48. America’s Rafting Company is fortunate enough to get to visit both river canyons on a regular and when asked what our favorite river is- well, you’ll just have to come out and meet us in person to find out!
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 bit, they understood that Mother Nature has her own agenda and all we could do was get our gear out and brave it!
The other extreme weather we encounter more than rain or lightning is the extreme heat- there are some whitewater rafting in Hells Canyon trips as well as the Salmon River rafting trips that the temperatures will reach 110+! We prepare for the sun just like we do the rain, we encourage lots and lots of water during the day, the sun zaps the moisture right out of your body when it’s that hot. We always have sunscreen at the ready and promote it’s use each and every day, the parachute also comes out to play- offering some much needed shade during the peak hours of the day. When we’re on the water, most people are in the river more than in the rafts- we get plenty of swimming, jumping into the cool clear river is most refreshing on a hot summer day. The great thing about being on the river: there is not a shortage of water, whether it’s icy cold in a water bottle and cool and clear to swim in, a whitewater rafting trip is the perfect place to be when temperatures soar!
Most of the time, Idaho’s summers bring us gorgeous blue skies and warm temperatures during the day and clear night skies for all the stargazing you can muster at night.Once in a while, we’ll get some adverse weather. America’s Rafting Company prepares for all of it and will ensure that the proper gear is packed and at the ready, no matter what Mama Nature has in mind!
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!
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 and we can weigh the options for each choice with you to be sure that your white water rafting trip for kids is an adventure you will never forget!
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!