A girl stands frozen at the edge of a cliff 35 feet above the Klamath River. A group of friends, each of whom has already made the exhilarating plunge into the water, shouts words of encouragement. Slowly, the girl releases her fear and jumps from the cliff's edge, spending a few seconds in midair before splashing safely into the river and experiencing a feeling of great peace and accomplishment.For the staff of Kidder Creek Rafting Trips, it has been a decades-long journey in their effort to bring moments like these to life. In 1976, Richard Jones founded the nonprofit Christian organization, setting up shop in Scott Valley amid the Marble Mountain Wilderness region. Initially a horse camp, the organization grew over the years to include more adventurous activities such as rock climbing or the less-popular rock leaning. Despite the growth, the business has always retained its primary focus: to help young people step out of their comfort zones, experience new things, and grow in their faith. More than 35 years later, the horse camp still welcomes kids into its classrooms, onto its trails, and into the arena to practice horse gymnastics. Rafting guides, all of whom have completed Kidder Creek's guide program, lead exhibitions down the Klamath River's scenic waters, which are sprinkled with class III and IV rapids. These experts occasionally pause to play rafting games, hike to waterfalls, and exchange family photos with Bigfoot while encouraging others to try new things.
Though Will Volpert founded Indigo Creek Outfitters in 2011, his river-touring experience began much earlier. As a kid, his parents ran an outfitting business in Salmon, Idaho, where salmon guides would stay with them for the summer. During six-day rafting trips, he learned the ways of river culture and fell in love with fishing and navigating rapids. Today, he shares his expertise with families of all experience levels, leading whitewater trips on the Rogue River and building custom vacations in Oregon and Idaho. For a bit of local flavor, the staff also organizes walking tours of local restaurants and tastings at nanobreweries.
Just off Redwood Highway, some of the world's most impressive predators?none of whom are native to the Northwest?prowl 10 acres of grassland. The Siskiyou Mountains may surround us, but clearly we're not in Oregon anymore.
Okay, technically Great Cats World Park is still part of Cave Junction, but its residents (affectionately called feline ambassadors) come from all over Planet Earth?the African savanna, the mountains of North America, and the deepest parts of the South American jungles. More than a dozen species of rare and endangered felines live on the park grounds, and these cats carry a responsibility as big as their paws: to educate the public on the importance of wildlife conservation. The spectacle of a 500-pound predator certainly makes a compelling case, even when it's not wearing its glasses.
Tarri, a white tiger, currently weighs in as the park's biggest resident, though African lions Shakka and Zulu aren't too far behind. Tours take park visitors right up to the enclosures of these and other big cats, where keepers try to bring out the cats' natural and instinctive behaviors. Other species, such as the Ocelot and the clouded leopard, are smaller in size but no less majestic in stature?especially to any mice asking for permission to squeak freely.
Whether they climb through trees or prowl the savannah, the cats here have all grown accustomed to life in the public eye. Professional photographers often document the animals at the park, and many of the cats have been featured on TV programs such as The Late Show with David Letterman.
Jerry's Rogue Jets does not take river tours lightly. The company employs a staff of Coast Guard-certified jet-boat pilots who navigate tours through the federally protected Rogue River Canyon. The route includes a turbulent, 12-mile stretch that the company has exclusive commercial access to. Each of the company's voyages takes place on a boat custom made by Wayne Adams, a direct descendant of the Adams family that homesteaded the canyon in the 19th century. Once they board the boats, passengers embark on one of three round-trip tours that aim to integrate adventure, nature, and comical, unscripted narration.
The calmer 64-mile Historic Mail Route follows a path that Jerry's mail boats still use to deliver mail each day. The 80-mile Whitewater Excursion and 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater adventures extend into more tumultuous waters. All of the tours—which throughout the years have attracted guests such as Jimmy Carter, Meryl Streep, and Clark Gable—include a 90-minute meal stop to keep passengers from filing their teeth until they are sharp enough to eat river rocks.
Tucked just south of the Chetco River?s rushing waters, the championship course at Salmon Run boasts its own aquatic artery, which wends along ryegrass fairways, passing sandy bunkers and challenging doglegs. Players soak up views of forested slopes as they face off with the course?s signature island green, whose watery surroundings and treacherous sand bunker demand the precision of a veterinarian surgeon operating on the world?s last unicorn. To gear up for the course?s myriad challenges, swingers can warm up at one of the driving range?s 10 hitting stations.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course * Length of 6,274 yards * Course rating of 72.1 * Slope rating of 132:m]]
Equipment: Precor, Rogue Fitness, Hampton Fitness
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Number of Staff: 5?10 people
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Enjoy your workout and a tasty Kill Cliff recovery drink.