Adam Ball literally grew up on the water—he can’t remember ever not living next to it, and most of his fondest memories involve being on the water with friends and family in some way. “If I go for three or four weeks without being on the water, I don’t feel right,” he said. Through happenstance, Adam’s passion for the water transformed into a business. After discovering paddle rafting, he started taking out whoever would go with him: friends, coworkers, friends of coworkers who had a cousin who knew this guy who said his mailman mentioned something about wanting go rafting. Then people started calling to book group trips. And thus Adam became a business owner.
Today, he and his team of experienced guides take adventurers out onto North Santiam River, which drops 27 feet per mile as it races along the Cascade Mountains. Guides prepare guests for the Class II and III rapids—sporting nicknames such as Rock & Roll, Upper and Lower Escalator, and Jaws—which provide safe yet challenging obstacles for passengers of all skill levels. The river winds past sights that range from canyon walls to opulent homes. Wildlife sightings abound, such as osprey that swoop to snatch salmon, river otters that lounge on the shore, and duck and geese that ride alongside the boat through the rapids. A local rottweiler also makes regular appearances, lumbering down to the shore to bark and solicit lunch money.