With the nation’s highways heading north to mate, Seattle residents will need an alternative means of transporting themselves to Okanogan for their cousin’s brit milah this summer. Today’s Groupon floats a fun form of transportation onto the table: for $39, you get your choice of river-rafting excursions on either the Wenatchee, Skagit, or the Tieton from Orion River Expeditions ($79 value).
After a brief orientation, rafters gear up in a wetsuit and windbreaker before embarking on an extreme man-powered cruise. The Wenatchee River comprises 16 miles of flat water punctuated with class III whitewater rapids, making it well suited for rookie paddlers and expert goggle-wearers alike. The trip lasts 3.5 hours and begins at the Cashmere Riverside Park in Cashmere. Because the Wenatchee River dries up at the end of July, the Skagit River, class II–III, steps up to see to it that river adventures extend through August. Billed as gentle enough for children, grandparents, and middle-aged peaches, the Skagit is located in North Cascades National Park. Rafting in September is best suited to the Tieton; the class-III river has smaller waves than the Wenatchee, but it's narrower, more active, and has more white water due to containing more soap.
Though lunch is not provided, Groupon holders may purchase lunch on the trip. While riding the bubbles and waves of some of Washington’s most popular rafting rivers, adventurers will breathe the clean country air and bob past apple, pear, and cherry orchards, forests of ponderosa pine, and rare species of rabbits that flaunt full-body mustaches.
Orion River Expeditions
Having grown weary of the Texas tropes of football and heavy-handed competition, James Moore sought some kind of escape. At the advice of his father, he enrolled in Prescott College in Arizona for its unorthodox and outdoorsy approach to education. The school's recreation program lured James to Moab, Utah, where he received his first taste of whitewater rafting. After 30 days hiking the red-rock country, rafting the Green River, and living off peanut butter and freeze-dried dinners, James was not convinced the outdoors were his calling. He struggled to develop survival skills or cultivate an innate sense of how to navigate the wilderness. After one year at Prescott, he found himself returning to Texas.
It was a three-day kayaking trip with his father and brother-in-law on the Guadalupe River that showed James that working together and challenging themselves in such exhilarating conditions could bring people closer to each other and to nature. It wasn't long before he was off again, cramming all his earthly possessions into his pastel-blue '74 Ford Pinto and departing for Western Washington University in Bellingham. Once there, his love affair with the outdoors came to fruition while hiking the lush forests and rafting the bucking rapids of the Pacific Northwest. He was finally at ease in his surroundings.
Orion River Expeditions is the living continuation of James's journey and how he has ultimately solidified his relationship with the great outdoors and his community. He and his team lead explorers down seven of the Pacific Northwest's most scenic and adventuresome rivers, from the Wenatchee in Washington to the Deschutes in Oregon. Each trip strives to bring participants closer to their fellow passengers and their natural surroundings.