BY ABBIE KOZOLCHYK
are raising the stakes, and steaks, on raftingtrips by placing added
emphasis on food preparation and cooking. Nowyou can hone your culinary
skills while also sharpening yourbackcountry chops. New this year,
professional chefs are joiningO.A.R.S. for foodie trips down Oregon’s Rogue RiverandIdaho’s MainSalmon,
teaching rafters how to make dishes suchas pan-seared filet mignon with
Jack Daniel’s reduction sauceand black pepper rosemary broiled prawns
and porcini risotto. Afterspending your morning navigating rapids,
you’ll set up campand work up an appetite with a hike or round of
horseshoes. Guides willalso lead you on a full moon hike if you want.
After dinner you andyour pals can count shooting stars.
Since gourmet meals are more enjoyable when matched with the rightgrape, you’ll get lessons on pairing food and wine. You canbring your own, but O.A.R.S. stocks one of the rafts with an impressivestash of reds and whites.
Prices range from $1,191—$2,995 per person for three tosix-night trips (all meals, instruction, an apron and gourmet cookbookincluded) from June through September; visit oars.com for moreinformation. These are popular itineraries; book at least six months inadvance for 2007.