Trying something risky takes courage, but if you’re convinced that it’s right for you, the risk can pay off with adventure. This week, I’ll take you on an adventurous Grant’s Getaway into dangerous waters on a river that’s just off Portland’s doorstep.
When folks ask me about rafting or kayaking options close to home, I never hesitate to recommend a look at the Upper Clackamas River. It’s but sixty minutes from Portland, so it’s an easy day trip and scores of campsites can be found in this part of the Mt Hood National Forest near Estacada.
Recently, I joined a hearty group of water-lovers who gathered along the river to celebrate their passion for adventure on one of the most exciting stretches of whitewater rivers in Oregon.
Many in the small party were pros who guide for a living and take to the water with the ease of a water otter – our trip was to be a warm-up training run for them when they compete in the upcoming Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival that’s slated for May 15-16.
It’s an incredible adventure that you should never try alone, and I was lucky to join this group of pros who’ve a passion for running whitewater. We were dressed for the occasion in drysuits, gloves, booties – plus, helmets and Type III PFD’s to take advantage of a rare sunny break in an otherwise soggy spring season.
New this year to Oregon rivers is a mandatory PFD rule for all river runners: all Class 3 or higher whitewater rivers (rivers are classified on a scale of 1-6 with 6 being un-runnable) boaters must wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) at all times. In addition, the PFD must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Type I, III, or V personal flotation device
It’s also important to remember that Class 3 Rivers like the Upper Clackamas are not for beginners. Boating safety is critical! The river is so strong and conditions can change so fast, the experience requires a breadth of whitewater knowledge and experience that only a professional guide can provide.
The Clackamas River rapids will cool you off, lift your spirits and even take your breath away for their awesome power.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.
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