Parker Arrien grew up rafting through whitewater rapids on the Snake and Salmon Rivers with his family, feeling the crash of waves and the force of the water pulling him forward. As an adult, he knew it would be impossible to ignore his desire to seek outdoor adventures, so he founded America's Rafting Company with his wife, Becky, to share this exhilarating experience with others. His adventures take people whitewater rafting down canyons, fishing for steelhead in the winter, backpacking in the immense wilderness of the Seven Devils Mountains, and making excursions on the Idaho rivers. Participants can expect enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides on all adventures.
In 1805, Lewis and Clark ventured down the Salmon River in dugout canoes carved from hollowed-out trees. They were enormous crafts— up to 40 feet in length and 3 feet and diameter—but they could barely navigate even calmer stretches of this river, not to mention the rapids. That's a testament to the power of the Salmon River, which regularly has Class III rapids, as well as a testament to how much boating technology has improved. Today, thankfully, it's easier and much more fun to attack this wild whitewater in a smaller craft. Yellow Jacket River Guides has an experienced team that directs rafting tours and camping trips on and around the mighty Salmon.The company has three types of watercraft: large oar boats, paddleboats, and inflatable kayaks. “If you’re not comfortable in the water, you can ride in the oar boat where the guide steers," says owner Alison Steen. "If you’re ready to try something more intense, the inflatable kayaks are a lot of fun.” Both trips begin with a chartered jet-boat ride upriver; the three-day Treasure Valley Weekend Getaway will go about 25 miles up, and the four-day Whitewater Escape ventures by jet boat about 80 miles from the launch point in Vinegar Creek. The four-day Whitewater Escape also concludes with a 25-mile jet boat ride through a final stretch of un-floatable water. The two excursions are virtually identical, with the exception of their lengths and a few different stopping points. Both trips will start downriver, and groups will break camp each night on white sand beaches along the waterway. Typically 10–12 people make up each group, but groups can be as large as 24. Everyone can enjoy a late start to the day to let the morning chill pass over and to catch the season finale of a hilarious dream sequence. Soon after, you can spend a few hours paddling with plenty of downtime for swimming, hiking, and fishing."It’s not a cookie-cutter trip where everyone has to do the same thing," says Steen. "Only half the day is spent on the river, so there’s a lot of free time. Some people want to go on a strenuous hike, others want to sit and read, and some just want to take a nap. It’s very customizable.” The area is prime for bird watching; also keep an eye out for moose, big-horned sheep, and deer.In addition to their mastery of Idaho’s first-aid and rescue training requirements, Yellow Jacket’s guides are well-versed in interesting facts about the land. Along the way, they’ll point out where to spot Sheepeater Indian pictographs and historical pioneer homesteads. They’ll also point the way to the all-natural hot spring. At each day’s end, as campers finish up a hike or take a nap, guides will preside over the campfire to craft a gourmet meal made from savory meats and locally grown vegetables. The meal changes each night, but a highlight of the trip is Saturday’s luau on the beach, where groups will dig into a feast of polynesian pork tenderloin with a tropical salsa, stir-fried veggies over island rice, watermelon, and a dessert of pineapple upside-down cake.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Nestled on a sloping, well-manicured hillside, Ste. Chappelle Winery transports visitors to a gothic chapel in France. Rows of grapevines intersect with the stout, picturesque building, which houses a tasting room equipped with tall archer’s windows on all sides. There, 20 varieties of wine are uncorked by resident oenophiles, splashed into awaiting glasses for sampling or dyeing mismatched neckties. In the warmer months, crowds gather with blankets and bottles on the lawn for live music events, held as part of a summer concert series.
A fully operational winery since 1987, Sawtooth Winery was once under the care of the Pintler family, who had used their parcel of land as pasture for years. But the rolling, south-facing hills were a bit too robust to be limited to one use, and in 1982 15 acres of grapes were planted. Today, Sawtooth is one of the largest vineyards in Idaho, and those same vines produce the plump grapes destined become one of the eight wine varietals crafted onsite. Those wines have garnered Sawtooth a variety of honorable accolades and press, including a Winery of the Month designation from the Idaho Wine Commission.
A home garage was never going to be enough to contain The Terror's Estate. From these humble origins, the haunted house grew and eventually expanded to become what it is today: a full-scale indoor attraction complete with cinema-quality sets, professional lighting effects, and creeping fog. Groups of friends or family members can slowly inch their way through the narrow hallways and the macabre rooms featuring a variety of unsettling accent pieces, including chandeliers made of grinning skulls, walls scored with supernatural scratches, and long-overdue library books. Strobe lights and hidden scares are throughout The Terror's Estate, waiting for the perfect opportunity to startle passersby and elicit a chorus of screams. The haunted house remains open September 16 through Halloween until midnight seven days a week, providing a late-night adrenaline rush for anyone willing to brave the fright-inducing rooms.