4 Myths About Whitewater Rafting

Jul 11, 2014

What you think you know about whitewater rafting debunked

On a river trip, you’re guaranteed to hear tales of legendary boatmen, legendary high water years, and maybe even legendary whipped cream challenges. Rivers have a way of inspiring mythology. And while we’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind about the ghosts in Blacktail Canyon or Bigfoot on the Klamath, here are four myths about whitewater rafting we’re happy to declare officially busted.

1. You have to be an athlete to have fun on the river.

4 Myths About Whitewater Rafting

There’s more to a river trip than the whitewater. Sure, there are Grand Canyon hikes to challenge the super fit and Tuolumne rapids to thrill the most ardent adrenaline junkies. But there is also spectacular canyon scenery to see from the raft on the calm, winding Green River through the Gates of Lodore and bald eagles, river otters and black bears to watch for on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River. Not to mention, peaceful mornings to be enjoyed over a cup of coffee (or cocoa!) while watching the beautiful sunrise no matter where you are.

2. “River food” means hot dogs on sticks and beans out of a can.

4 Myths About Whitewater Rafting

Maybe there was a time when camp food meant one of two flavors: raw or burnt. But one of the greatest luxuries of traveling by raft is the freedom to bring a whole kitchen’s worth of implements along with high tech coolers full of ice and fresh produce.

Forget about canned goods and cold cereal. River trip food is fresh and often locally sourced. On the river, it’s no joke to wake up to hot breakfasts like French toast with bacon, pancakes with fresh blueberries or perhaps even Eggs Benedict, carefully poached and drizzled with warm Hollandaise sauce. At dinner, you’ll dine under the stars on river trip classic recipes like grilled tri-tip or lasagna baked in a Dutch oven. And there’s definitely no skimping on dessert. Just don’t blame us if your pants don’t fit at the end of your trip.

3. All river guides are cast from the same mold.

River guides

If the words “river guide” conjure images of hulking, bearded guys with a wise cracking sense of humor, you’re not wrong. We have those guys around here. But don’t be surprised when you find out your guide is an English literature major, professional dancer, geologist or elementary school teacher. Some guides are soft-spoken, some are hilarious, and some are dainty. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common at all is a boundless enthusiasm for the outdoors.

4. Formal attire has no place on the river.

4 myths about whitewater rafting

By all means, bring your quick drying pants and your sun shirts. But don’t, in a fit of rationality, leave your cheetah print pants or your tutu or your fake mustache at home.

Some call it “flair.” Some call it “dare wear.” Whatever you call it, you might just find that you aren’t adequately prepared for fun without it.

 

Rose McMackin
Rose McMackin is a California native, now based out of nowhere in particular. When not working as a river guide, she can be found kayaking, writing, or blasting Fleetwood Mac with the windows down. Follow her on Twitter: @rosemcmackin.
  • Joslin

    Love this article so much! I couldn’t agree with #3 more, not all river guides are cut from the same mold, not AT ALL. And the best part is you never know what you’re gonna get when you meet ‘em at the boat ramp! Nice one Rose!

  • Joe Sko

    I just started rafting with my girlfriend Sarah ( a long time enthusiast). If it wasnt for the rain here in Oregon I dont think we would ever get wet… lol

    • jackcandobutwont

      That is why the state schools are Ducks and Beavers….ha ha ha