Best of the OARS Blog 2015

Our readers have spoken and these 10 posts are the most read, liked and talked about articles of 2015 from the OARS blog. Catch them for the first time, or dive into your favorites again.

Chilko River Rafting

1) 10 of the World’s Most Notorious Whitewater Rapids – How do you choose the world’s most notorious rapids, when arguably, there’s an infamous rapid on every great whitewater run on the planet?  Well, to us, it comes down to the rapids that leave lasting impressions and hook people on rafting for life.  They’re the incredible rides we never forget.  They’re the rapids where legends are made.  So we polled some pros, and these ten whitewater favorites made the cut.

2) America’s Most Exclusive Lodge? The Answer Might Surprise You… – One of the hardest reservations to snag in the U.S. is probably not what you’d expect.  Because here’s the thing, the place we’re talking about—which offers bunks and rustic cabins at best—is definitely not luxurious.  But it does offer something that no other lodge can compete with, location, location, location. Nestled along the Colorado River, some 5,800 feet below the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, there is no other place quite like Phantom Ranch.

Phantom Ranch | Photo: James Kaiser

3) A Love Note From Your River Guide – You may think you were just another person on your river guide’s boat this summer, but you meant more to them than you know. You weren’t just a random person in a silly orange life jacket. You were a fellow rafter, a friend. Here’s what your guides really thought of you.

4) Fill Mead First: A Plan to Reclaim Glen Canyon – Explorer John Wesley Powell called it “a land of beauty and glory.” Edward Abbey wrote that it was “a portion of earth’s original paradise,” and Wallace Stegner considered the Glen “potentially a superb national park.” Now, an innovative plan hopes to make the case (again) for draining Lake Powell and restoring Glen Canyon to its former glory.


5) First Women of Whitewater – If you’ve gone rafting lately, there’s a good chance that you had at least one female guide, if not an equally balanced crew of men and women on your trip. But according to Louise Teal’s book, “Breaking Into the Current,” it was a man’s world in the early days of commercial rafting. Luckily, a few remarkable women were determined to guide and helped change the face of commercial whitewater rafting. These are some of their stories.

6) Why Women Need to Get Outdoors With Other Women – There’s nothing like a much-needed girls’ trip to recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with friends. And for the gals who prefer a hiking trip over a day at the spa, there’s nothing better than an active adventure. Here’s why…

Why Women Need to Get Outdoors With Other Women

7) The 5 Best Whitewater Carnage Videos on the Internet – Some of the best raft flip videos are the result of Average Joes standing in the right place, at the right time. This compilation features a few of the best whitewater carnage videos on the internet.

8) John Blaustein: Photographer & Grand Canyon Original – While guiding dories through the Grand Canyon, photographer John Blaustein documented one of the most exciting periods in river-running history.  Blaustein shared with us some of his most harrowing guiding stories as well as some exciting new features from the third edition of his timeless photographic book, The Hidden Canyon.

Cindell Dale running Hermit Rapid. Photographs by John Blaustein

9) Rafting Pioneer George Wendt: A Story of Family and Conservation – There are some people who have found their passion, their purpose in life, and they work tirelessly to share what they love with others.  OARS President and Founder, George Wendt, is one of those people. Watch the story of a man with a pioneering spirit, steadfast determination and a family rafting company with a commitment to conservation at its core.

10) The 5 Best Whitewater Lodges in the World – These lodges are destinations in and of themselves, but their proximity to world-class whitewater rafting makes them all the more drool-worthy. Here’s a rundown of five of the best whitewater lodges in the world.

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