Nothing says family vacation like a rafting trip on the river. My husband and I met at the University of Oregon and sealed our relationship when we purchased a tent together. That was thirty years ago. While we still camp under the stars, this trip was a four day, Lodge to Lodge rafting trip on the Rogue River with Row Adventures. An adventure travel company since 1979, Row river guides know the wild and scenic Rogue River as well as Huck Finn claimed to know the Mississippi River. Below is a brief overview of our four day rafting trip.
Our River Guides
Our lead guide, Lenore Perconti, grew up in Lewiston, Idaho alongside the Clearwater and Snake rivers. Not only was she confident in her guiding abilities, Lenore was able to keep multiple hula hoops spinning around her neck, waist and ankle simultaneously, (not while paddling a raft) while keeping us entertained both on and off the river! River Guide Aylan Lee is from my neck of the woods in Northern California. I had the pleasure of floating some of the trip in the Huck Finn raft with Aylan at the helm, as his mother, Mary and her travel buddy, Ann, were kicking back and letting him do all the work. It was fun watching the mother/son dynamic on the river, as he often has to field the question, “What do your parents think about your life as a river guide?”
The River Rats
Row does an excellent job of matching guests with trips. On our four day adventure we floated with two
mother of the brides, mother of the guides, along with a Northern California friend, a family of three from Oahu, Hawaii, a family of four from Chicago with their 13 year old foreign exchange student from Spain, a retired Frenchman with an affinity for US-based rivers, a single dad from Tuscon, Arizona with his two teenage daughters and my Southern Oregon born husband. Several members of our band of seventeen river rats had paddled with Row on other river trips designed for young families.
If you want to experience a rafting trip with only your friends, Row Adventures is happy to put together a custom vacation package for 20 that can be a combination of hiking and rafting, lodge to lodge trips or camping and rafting. I’d like to put together a trip with an Oregon winemaker or brewmaster – email me if you are interested. Did I mention that all Row trips include beer, wine and soft drinks, as well as plenty of water? I’ll talk about the wonderful food a little further down in this post.
Rafting for all skill levels
Has it been awhile since you’ve been on a rafting trip? Perhaps the phrase whitewater rafting makes you a little nervous? I’ve rafted plenty of rivers, but I confess that after my second hip replacement I was concerned about staying in the raft. While you will sign a liability waiver before your river rafting adventure, please note that there are several types of rafts available for this trip. There’s rafts for those wanting to actively paddle, the Oar Rafts are rowed by a skilled guide and are ideal for taking pictures or videos of going through the rapids, there’s the Huck Finn which is a classic craft – not too many left in existence and finally the Daring Duckies – 11-13 feet inflatable kayaks for one or two persons.
Wild and Scenic River
On this 45 mile paddle and float through Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rogue River you will certainly see wildlife. While we didn’t see any bears on our trip – I’m sure our constant laughter and water fights gave them plenty of advance notice – we did see eagles, Blue Herons, river otters, mink, fox and snakes. I know I’m forgetting some creatures great and small, but you’ll have to take the trip for yourself to tell me what I’ve left out. We also enjoyed hiking to scenic waterfalls, swimming under waterfalls and, for the adventure travelers in the group, there were plenty of rocks for launching oneself into the river like a cannonball. Don’t worry, the guides require guests to wear their PFD’s (personal flotation devise) when swimming through rapids or jumping off cliffs. Safety is a key issue with all Row Adventures trips – I traveled with Row Sea Kayak Adventures to Baja California Sur in Mexico – and one of the best things about this company is their consistency in delivering high quality, active adventure vacations on all of their trips.
Food on an off the River
For me, a vacation means that I don’t have to make meals or my bed. With the Lodge to Lodge trip, guests are able to let the guides to the heavy lifting, as well as preparing lunches and snacks on the river. Every day we ate lunch at a beautiful location and each afternoon we stopped along the river to have dinner and spend the night at a unique riverside lodge. I’ll be reviewing each of the four lodges; Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge, Black Bar Lodge, Marial Lodge and Paradise Lodge separately, but know that each property is special in its own way. The food is simple, from chicken wraps to deli sandwiches, tuna wraps or pulled pork with daily vegetarian options and always peanut butter and jelly for any picky eaters, in addition to salads. The evening dinners are put on by each lodge and may range from a complete Thanksgiving dinner to barbecue chicken and ribs, followed by tasty desserts. All lunches and dinners include beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks, however, you are welcome to byob, as long as it’s not glass containers.
Arrival and departure
Row will provide a daily itinerary with estimated arrival and departure times. They even offer guests the option of having their cars waiting for them near Gold Beach, should you want to continue your vacation along the Oregon coast. If not, you’ll be shuttled back to Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge in Merlin, Oregon to end your whitewater adventure.
Row includes a packing list on their website, however, I’ve compiled a list of 7 kayaking or rafting essentials that might help with trip planning. As always when camping, don’t forget to pack a flashlight, first aid kit and mosquito repellent. Check the website for current information and pricing. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and follow @RowAdventures.
Need to know:
Rates start at $975 for adults and $895 for youth, not including gratuities. As always, check the website for current pricing. Row specializes in sustainable travel and offers domestic and international trips with an emphasis on adventure travel for families, couples or solo travelers. Would I recommend this lodge to lodge rafting trip? I give it two thumbs up.
If You Go:
Row Adventures (800) 616-1943 http://www.rowadventures.com/
P.O. Box 3862
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83816-3862
Rafting the Rogue River review, photos and YouTube video by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Row Adventures on this lodge to lodge trip, however all opinions are my own.