October 17th, 2006


Oregon: Running the Rogue River

Man. What a trip. It was definitely rich in experiences.

The Rogue River has two sections, a recreational section, and a wild and scenic section. For parts of the year, the government limits it to 120 people per day on the wild section. And you've to pay a permit. It has rapids all the way to a Class 5, where at least one person has died. The river was soo sooo beautiful.

I saw otters, mallard ducks, a pair of bald eagles on the top of a tall pine tree. They eyed us, probably wondering if we were edible. I saw the great blue heron, a lizard with a neon bright blue tail...

It is hard to beat the beauty of fog among pine trees. Like someone run the diffuser tool in photoshop.

I was disappointed and didn't see black bears.. but other groups did.

I kayaked several riffles, class II and also class III rapids. My cute guide, Matt, didn't allow me to do any of the class IV or crazier class III rapids. However, the class II rapids I ran were actually harder because of the low water levels. There were rocks, and pools and eddies, and waves that I occasionally hit sideways, the coldness of the water shocking me as it hits me.

For most of the harder rapids, I was in the raft with my guide navigating.

However, there was also lots of flat water, and when I got lazy paddling in my kayak, I got into the raft, and Matt paddled me. Like I was in a gandola in Venice.

Day 1 and 2 were beautiful. Though day 1 got colder at night. Day 3, it rained. This was good for the fishers and hunters, but it sucked for me, as I was cold cold cold. My gear was inadequate. And I was too miserable to kayak, so I stayed all soggy in the raft. And I usually don't like the sun, but on that river, I find that the sun is your friend.

When I'm running the rapids, I forget that I was cold or tired. Instead, it was one of the funnest and most thrilling experiences of my life. I loved it. I even found myself whistling and even humming.

Nature calms me. And reminds me that I'm alive.