We had enough of city life in California and began our search for a better life in the deepest canyon in North America. Hell's Canyon, Idaho, was where we discovered the absolute bliss of throwing ourselves into nature and enjoying the best American Whitewater Rafting with the amazing people who hosted us at America's Rafting Company.
Why American Whitewater Rafting is the escape you need
The phrase “daily grind' is thrown around more times than anyone could possibly count. It's become so much the norm that it's almost lost all meaning. As a nation, we've become accustomed to seeing everything wonderful though the screen of a phone. Collectively, our nation seems to want to feel something without being able to make a real connection to anything.
We so desperately NEED a connection to something, because it's part of what makes us feel whole.
I have discovered that very connection can be experienced in an amazing American whitewater rafting adventure. On the back of a slithering body of water cutting the very border of the two best Pacific Northwest states in America's deepest canyon, you'll find an escape that leads to a deeper understanding.
This was literally my first American whitewater rafting experience EVER. As cliché as it may sound, this was one of the most profound experiences I have ever had as an adult and as a parent. It put EVERY massage or spa experience I have ever had to shame. I literally felt the toxins of “modern life” wash away from my body and mind.
That's saying a lot, as I did it while fighting the power of the Snake River for good portions of the day in a place so remote our only connection to the “real world” was a satellite phone.
Finding the Best Whitewater Experience
America is the land of plenty and there is no shortage of opportunities to explore the outdoors. I've met people from all over the world who came to experience all that our lands have to offer, from hiking to camping and everything in between.
If you want it all, you can have it in the American whitewater rafting scene in Idaho. America's Rafting Co. has put together the best combination of whitewater rafting, hiking, camping, learning, and even eating you could possibly fit into an NRS self-bailing raft.
The owners, Massachusetts transplants Lauren and Jarrett, are absolutely wonderful. Lauren puts together the meals and operations as Jarrett primarily mans the oars, tour, and friendly crew. This couple are not only in love with each other, but with the American outdoors. It shows, as they take their guests through an amazing journey.
Facing the Fear
There's no way around it, this is a challenging and sometimes possibly scary trip. I mean, with the steep rocky edges of Oregon and Idaho's banks, you literally have to ride the river through whatever it has to offer. Fortunately, Jarrett and Lauren are great at safety, prepped with all the gear you might need, and they take the time to walk you through all the important and significant points of concern.
Jarrett has ripped forearms from being a rafting guide AND a stone mason, so that alone will put folks at ease. He was patient with the boys when they were worried or curious, and made sure to take the time to make them feel safe and let them have fun.
Lauren, of course, was also amazing. As a married man, I could tell she ran the show. She also made food for the trip that was SO good you could hardly fathom how you were eating it in the middle of nowhere.
Gourmet Meals in the Outback
If there is one thing Americans love, it's food. The whole world can agree on that, for better or for worse. But no one says we only like to keep our amazing dishes in big cities. American Whitewater Rafting is no exception. As a matter of fact, the great crew of America's Rafting Company makes eating gourmet anywhere look easy.
Everything was prepared by the crew for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They even took into account dietary restrictions and special considerations…for other people, of course. My boys and I? We ate EVERYTHING. Including the fish we caught on the river, which were prepared by the crew.
Wild Figs, Apricots, Grapes, and Overeager Fish
One thing I really appreciated was Jarrett's knowledge on many of the things we drifted by and encountered. I never knew there was so much history along the shores of a river. I learned that homesteaders and American pioneers planted fig trees, apricot trees, grapes and other assorted fruits along the shores of the river so they could have fruit to eat as they worked their way through the canyons. It was all part of planning ahead.
Of course, with all the rarely-disturbed fish living in the river, there were PLENTY of food options to choose from. The fish were so eager in fact that we (well, the boys) were catching them faster than Jarrett could select them for dinner. They were almost jumping in the boat.
American Whitewater Rafting is about Playing, Exploring, and Relaxing
The boys certainly wasted no time jumping OUT of the boat when they had their chance. There were plenty of chances! A big part of American whitewater rafting is enjoying everything along the drift. We spent three perfect days on the water. For three perfect days, we enjoyed the cool and refreshing Snake River.
Olin and Elich also spent about 12 hours manning the oars of the raft. Jarrett was more than willing to oblige, though obviously he would have done it himself had the boys not been so excited to get to work. They begged to either fish or man the oars more than I've EVER heard them request to play video games.
I was also happy to discover that Jarrett had a number of locations to stop and explore along the way. A number of homesteading settlements, trails, even petroglyphs strewn about the canyon. Who knew there were so many hiking opportunities while American whitewater rafting?
The rock formations of Hell's Canyon were absolutely fascinating. I even learned that a portion of the canyon was on a fault line… you know, just like in California. Totally nostalgic. Honestly, love geology and this was a wonderful place to go. Jarrett pointed out a ton of cool basalt rock formations along the way and we talked about the formation and change of the river over time.
Did I mention there was more than one way to get down the river? While the “grown ups” in the other rafts jumped off a large rock in the middle of the river, Elich used what he learned in the safety brief to enjoy a little feet first solo river floating fun. I joined in as well. Until we got to the larger rapids again, that is.
Camping in the Wild!!!
With no roads to bring in tourists or other travelers, the camping situation was absolutely gorgeous. No tent was too close to another. There was nothing to speak of when it came to light pollution, and the stars became our only night lights. This is the very definition of fresh air. After a long day on the water, a belly fully of amazing food, and plenty of shore fishing to boot, this was the perfect way to end the day.
How to Book? All Safety
If you are interested in American whitewater rafting, this is a great time to go. With current health and exposure concerns, America's Rafting Company has gone to great lengths to ensure safety. For the time being, if you'd like to book a trip, they are doing so in groups of four. You can bring more people (friends and family) but they are grouping reservations by boat so as to keep strangers apart. This means your group of 4 or less gets your very own guide for your trip!
Have you gone American whitewater rafting? How was your experience?