We've just returned from another trip with Northwest Rafting--this time with a group of 12 friends and family on Oregon's Rogue River. I did not think it possible that this year's trip could match last year's--but it exceeded every expectation in every possible way. I am absolutely impossible to please but this team does it time and again. They are the gold standard.
But let me explain:
Organization: superb. Communication with the office is consistent, clear, and timely. There are no surprises in terms of cost, itinerary, what to bring, what to expect. We had some novice rafters on this trip and it was tremendously reassuring to them.
Safety: These guys are sticklers which is what you want on a river. Obviously they are all expert oarsmen/women. They can read water, read weather and assess situations that could turn tricky quickly and accurately. My husband has kayaked and rafted almost every river in the Northwest and when illness prevented him from personally leading our trips Zach Collier was the person he trusted to do it right.
Guides: There really aren't enough superlatives to describe Northwest Rafting Guides. We've had six or seven different guides with Northwest and each and every one of them is outstanding. They set a new standard for service: no request is too much trouble, no effort too great. Besides rowing, setting up camp and making wonderful meals they have fun doing it. You have the sense that there is nowhere else they would rather be, nothing else they'd rather be doing than taking care of you while sharing the river with you and your group. They anticipate every request, and spend the day making it the most fun for you and your group in a way that exceeds every expectation. They've been great with our kids and with our teenagers as well as with the older and aging! They are intelligent, funny, fun and also great teachers.
Which brings me to kayaking.
Two years ago our son did whitewater kayak instruction while on the Rogue with Northwest. JR, the teacher, was truly gifted. Seeing Max go down the Rogue with confidence and skill this year was amazing.
Who Should Go: Really, just about anyone. They are terrific with highly skilled rowers (my husband and his best friend) to complete novices. This year we had 12 friends and extended family. We ranged from in age from 15 to 68, fitness levels ranged from outstanding (the teenagers) to pudgy (me), but we all shared a spirit of adventure. Our novice rafters are planning next year's trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
Another word about the food: How do they do it? From the morning call to coffee and french toast, bacon, fruit salad, to the wild salmon and rice pilaf; from the chocolate fondu to the bananas foster; from the fajitas with fresh and flawless guacamole...I could go on.
Our family has been enriched by rafting: We've been on many trips in the Northwest, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Southwest and Africa with and without guides. And our guides for the most part have been good. But as I said earlier, Northwest has set a new standard.
If you go, you will be rewarded. It's just that good.
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