Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
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.
Housed at the bottom of the roaring Willamette Falls, which comprises the confluence of Willamette and Clackamas Rivers, eNRG Kayaking's on-water shop and docks serve as the home base for instructional excursions in kayaking, rapids rafting, and standup paddleboarding. Head instructor Sam Drevo also helps those more experienced in watersports to attain a swift-water rescue certification or an ACA instructor certification, required credentials to shake hands with most river deities. Sam watches over all levels of kayakers with experience earned through years of competing, including a ranking as the world's sixth-best freestyle kayaker in 1998 and a first-place win at the Ford Gorge Games' Outdoor World Championships in 2001.
When Sam is not leading tours around the falls or down segments of either river, he guides extended expeditions to other northwestern and foreign waterways. His 16 international aquatic excursions have taken paddlers to rivers on four continents, through countries such as Canada, Costa Rica, Thailand, Laos, China, India, and Botswana. Sam and his staff aim to protect the rivers through eco-friendly exploration and sell a range of kayak models to help others to similarly respect the ecosystem or sneak up and tickle unsuspecting bass.
The seasoned head guide of Oregon River Excursions and the McKenzie River are worthy adversaries. Armed with 10 years of guiding experience and secure rafts, he leads groups down through portions of the river's churning rapids on full-day excursions. On trips, rafters come ashore for a fully catered lunch or to test whether their arms have turned into flippers yet.