2White Water Rafting (!!!) with High Desert River Outfitters in Maupin
First off, I want to kick myself. We went white water rafting and I somehow managed to take ZERO photos of the river. None! Nada! Zilch! I can hardly believe how lame that is. I mean, I wasn’t going to take my camera on the river-trip itself, but still….I’m feeling pretty silly right now.
Deep breath. Okay. On with the story (sans river photos).
Ever since moving to central Oregon my husband has wanted to go rafting on the Deschutes. We’ve done several float trips in Alaska but have no white water experience, so I did a bit of research and booked a 1/2 day trip as his birthday present.
We started our day with an AM roadtrip to Maupin. In our family AM roadtrips always include doughnuts, coffee, & chai tea to go; you’ve got to have your traditions. 🙂
I was excited for this trip, but also a bit nervous. If you’ve ever been in an Alaskan river you’ll know that the water there is cold. Beyond cold. 36 degrees all summer long cold. So while the air temp was a delightful 80 degrees at 10am, i was nervous about the water temp. And about my kids falling out of the raft. I’m a worrier, what can I say?
We arrived in Maupin (very cute little town, pop 400ish) 1/2 an hour early, so spent a bit of time exploring. There had been a Breast Cancer fundraiser a few days before and the local bridge was decorated with hundreds of bras. How can you NOT love a town that decorates bridges with bras?
After getting checked in & fitted for life jackets, we loaded up on a bus with about 20 other rafting clients & drove toward our launch site. As we bumped along the dirt road I chatted with a guide about his lack of rafting experience & inability to swim 😉 , as well as terrifying tales of rapids (which he pointed out along the way) & rattlesnakes (Nova wanted to know how often they get in the river….she is terrified of creepy animals in water and since there are no river sharks, she focused on the possibility of running into a snake). I definitely appreciate a guide with a wicked sense of humor.
I arrived at the launch site slightly freaked out by the size of the rapids we’d passed. Was this going to be a fun family adventure, or were the kids going to spend the day drenched and miserable?
And then they started handing out paddles. Wait! We have to row the raft? This was WAY different from our previous river float experience. Hum. What exactly had I signed us up for?
We found our guide and our raft & climbed on board. I was still nervous about about the water temp and my kids falling in the river & having a miserable time, but as soon as I sat down I noticed something under my seat…a PBR! It was at this point that I knew that everything was going to be okay, this trip was going to be great. (The PBR wasn’t actually supposed to be in the boat, but hey, can you say bonus?)
So we settled in for the ride, enjoying the scenery and all the ducks and geese floating along with us. What a perfect day to be on the river! Then the first rapid appeared.
Our guide told us it was time to paddle, so we paddled as fast as we could, building up speed and bringing us closer & closer to the foamy brew. Soon we were in the thick of the tumultuous waves and it was time to stop paddling and hold on for dear life. As we crashed into the first wave I quickly glanced behind me to make sure the kids were okay (& still in the boat). All was good so I faced forward again just as water began to pour over the front of the raft & a wave slammed me squared in the face.
As soon as I caught my breath I couldn’t stop laughing. This was freaking amazing! Nova had relaxed & Vega couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone was cheering. And despite what the guides say, the Deschutes River is NOT cold. 56 degree water is perfect.
The rest of the trip was similar. Float a bit, paddle into the rapids & slam into waves. Our guide was amazing at keeping us slightly freaked out about what was just around the bend, and we all took turns “riding the bull”….sitting on the bow of raft hanging onto a harness as we plunged through the smaller rapids. Vinny even hopped out of the raft and floated down the river on his on for a bit. The water was that nice.
If you are ever looking for a bit of adventure in your life, I highly recommend a rafting trip. Best (family) activity EVER. I guarantee we’ll be back again.