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White Water Rafting

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rafting the Classic North American Rivers—Quebec’s Magpie

A mere 375 miles northeast of Montreal lies an immense wilderness in eastern Quebec that modernity has forgotten. Here, the Magpie River snakes through virgin forests of pine, hurtling down Class IV rapids in granite notches, before emptying into the St. Lawrence River. You’ll swim in glacial-carved lakes and dry off on rocks that only moose and bear have sunbathed on. Earth River Expeditions was the first outfitter to tackle the river and features an 8-day ride on the Magpie in August. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/17/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rafting the Classic North American Rivers—BC’s Chilko River

One of the most exciting whitewater rafting runs in North America is a weeklong jaunt down the Chilko River in southwestern British Columbia. Take an hour seaplane flight from Vancouver to 4,000-foot high Chilko Lake. Then let the rollercoaster ride begin. You’ll cruise 130 miles, dropping 3,000 feet through a tumultuous blur of lava gorges and narrow chutes. Looming overhead are sloping carpets of forest and jagged peaks. And, on those rare moments when you slow down, you might find yourself staring at an eagle or grizzly. BC also stands for serious Bear Country, home to 12,000-plus grizzlies.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/16/12 at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rafting the Classic North American Rivers—The Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon

Most folks make the mistake of driving to Grand Canyon, take a peek down at the mile-deep canyon and then leave. To truly appreciate the Grand Canyon, you need to spend some time at the bottom of that hole, rafting on the Colorado River. Whitewater enthusiasts take two weeks off to do the entire canyon run via paddles. If you don’t have that luxury of time, grab one of the six or seven-day motored trips that speed up when the river gets too mellow. That doesn’t happen often because this portion of the Colorado is an adrenalin-pumping Class IV run with some Class V rapids thrown in for good measure. Realize that the water on the river in the Grand Canyon is dam released and ice cold. To get excited for the journey, read The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons by John Wesley Powell. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/15/12 at 11:01 AM
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Rafting the Classic North American Rivers—The Middle Fork of the Salmon River

May is the start of the whitewater rafting season in North America, and since I’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries lately about the best multi-day rafting trips on the continent, I’m going to review the classics this week. First up, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. 

One of the original rivers in the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and a centerpiece of Idaho’s 2.2 million acre River of No Return Wilderness, the Salmon River deserves its reputation as one of the premier whitewater runs in North America. Especially the Middle Fork which boasts more than a hundred rapids in as many miles. What this means is a rip-roaring ride through narrow canyon walls, with glimpses of bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain elk on the shores and eagles and ospreys flying overhead. Once you reach land, you can hike up side canyons, soak in natural hot springs, fish to your heart’s content, or use the time to gather your thoughts.
Outfitters have gone overboard in the past five years attracting clientele to the Middle Fork, featuring wine dinners with a Sonoma County sommelier or learning about travel writing with two pros in the business, Tim Cahill or Michael Shapiro. One outfitter hired a clown to entertain the kids at night. So whatever your interest, there’s a specialty tour for you. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/14/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rafting the Kananaskis River with Rainbow Riders

Riding the Class III rapids of the Kananaskis River surrounded by the towering peaks of the Canadian Rockies is a favorite 2-hour family jaunt in these parts. It’s a rip-roaring ride on glacial-fed waters that will definitely cool you down when splashed. They call that a Canadian Kiss in these parts. I was enjoying that Canadian Kiss wholeheartedly while surfing on a rapid, the waters pouring over me. In fact, I was having such a great time that I didn’t notice my son was tossed out of the raft next to me. Suddenly I hear my wife scream, “Jake, Jake” and a rope being tossed to him by our guide, Cory. Lying on his back, we pulled him into the raft by his life jacket. A decade from now, those snowcapped peaks of Alberta will be a distant memory. But I’ll remember vividly my wife screaming her head off and seeing my son ride the rapids outside of the raft. Those are genuine travel memories.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/17/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Raft the Tuolumne River, California

Snaking through the central Sierra Mountains, the Tuolumne (pronounced Too-all-uh-me) has the perfect starting point, the glacial-fed headwaters of Yosemite National Park.  From here, it’s a wild three-day ride on Class IV rapids through an isolated canyon.  We’re talking about thrilling drops, technical maneuvering through chutes, and intense paddling around churning holes. Once you’ve had your fair share of screaming on whitewater, you can spend the latter part of each day lounging in a placid swimming hole. Reputable rafting outfitter, O.A.R.S, has a slew of three-day jaunts going out in August including two trips that feature wine tasting. Trips start at $609 per person and include guides, food, and tents. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/21/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Whitewater Rafting in British Columbia

My first attempt at video blogging or vlogging. Tell me what you think! I'm off to Bermuda next week, back on May 23rd. Have a great week!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/13/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rafting the Green River in Colorado and Utah

Roaring 44 miles through northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, the Green River is one of the most desolate runs in the States. The Class III whitewater snakes through rarely seen Dinosaur National Monument, where red walls rise sharply to some 2,500 feet to effectively block out civilization. In its place, you’ll find one of the largest concentrations of endangered peregrine falcons in the States, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. John Wesley Powell explored the Green in 1869 and was so impressed with the river that he gave the most exciting rapids names like Disaster Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile. Adrift Adventures features a four-day run on the Green during June and August. Cost is $785 for adults and $250 for kids ages 6-12. Also ask about their Jurassic Journey and Rock Art and Rafting options, which add an extra day to the trip before heading down the Green. Jurassic Journey takes you to Dinosaur Quarry, where dinosaur bones have been found. The Rock Art package visits several sites near the Ute Indian Reservation to view southwestern Indian rock art. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/12/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia

Five hours west of Washington, DC, in the heart of West Virginia, families go whitewater rafting on West Virginia’s New River. Bordered on both shores by lush oak, hickory, and black cherry trees, this Class III-IV waterway cuts through a gorge of sandstone, shale, and coal, bumping into rapids with names like Surprise and Greyhound Bus Stopper. Minimum age is 10 years old. The truly intrepid rafter should take their chances on West Virginia’s Upper Gauley. This adrenaline-pumping Class V run drops 650 feet over a twenty-seven mile course. Located in Beckley, West Virginia, on the New River Gorge, Class VI-Mountain River has been taking shrieking families down the rivers of West Virginia since 1978. They also offer canopy tours and lodging in cabins.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/10/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Whitewater Rafting Explorer, Richard Bangs, Leads a Trip to Bosnia

Sobek Expeditions, founded by Richard Bangs and John Yost in 1973, almost single handedly put the sport of whitewater rafting on the map. They were the first outfitter to descend Chile’s Bio Bio River and Zimbabwe’s Zambezi River, now considered classics.  In 1991, Sobek merged with Mountain Travel to form one of the premier adventure companies in the world. Yet, Bang, author of Rivergods, a collection of essays on thirteen first descents, refuses to rest on his laurels. He always seems to put together one kick-ass trip each summer and this year is no different. Joining forces with George Wendt, owner of O.A.R.S., Bangs is returning to Bosnia, which he calls the last great authentic place.

In his own words: “The Bosnia we know from images of the war—the bombed and bullet-ridden buildings, the scars from the 1,200-day siege of Sarajevo—has kept from view a Bosnia we don’t know, a place where nature has been bighearted with its gifts. The country hosts one of the two greatest tracks of primeval forests in Europe, unmatched biodiversity, daunting mountain faces yet to be climbed, deep gorges yet to be traversed, wild rivers with water so pure you can cup your hand to drink, some of the highest concentrations of wildlife, and perhaps the last highland tribes of semi-nomadic people on the continent. In many ways, Bosnia today has what the rest of the world has lost. We rafted there last summer—and what we discovered was a stitch of river stretches so unspoiled, so stunning, so exquisite and exciting, that we could not resist returning.” The date is August 25-September 1, 2011, and the price is $2990 per person. Call Carrie at 800-346-6277, ext. 4786 to reserve a space.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/12/11 at 01:00 PM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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