Guide Talk: Why Idaho Rafting is Better Than Anywhere Else
Bram Role, an Idaho native, has been with OARS for 16 seasons. And most of that time, he’s stayed close to home, sharing his love of Idaho’s rugged wilderness with others. We located Bram several days into a trip on the Main Salmon, wearing a purple skirt. We got him to talk about the skirt, as well as what makes Idaho such an ideal rafting destination, especially for families.
What do you love about Idaho?
I love a lot of things about Idaho. In terms of the rivers specifically, I really love the free-flowing aspect of the Salmon River. And everything that goes with that—huge chunks of wilderness, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. There’s a lot of wild land and intact ecosystems. It’s got a real element of wild still left in it. And that obviously adds to the beauty in many ways.
What’s your favorite Idaho trip?
It’s impossible to have a favorite. You take the Salmon, for instance. You have the Middle, Main, and the Lower Salmon, and they’re all very different. The things I think that sets Idaho rafting apart from other places are the clear water, the warm water. Big natural sandy beaches everywhere, especially on the Main Salmon and Lower, and that wild environment that is going on. This is Idaho. This is wild. This is the real deal.
What do you think OARS clients love so much about Idaho trips?
Well, the majority of trips that we do here are family trips. It just doesn’t get any better than warm water, sandy beaches, and the whole gamut of whitewater depending on the time of year. Basically, if people want to be relaxing they can do that. If people want to be active in the duckies they can do that. And usually it seems to be a really good bonding experience.
OK, I have to ask, are you wearing a skirt right now?
It turns out I am. We had a costume party last night that was a lot of fun. Evidently, someone did not make it back to the costume bag with their skirt and this beautiful little purple necklace. So I just had to put it on.
How else do you entertain clients on the river?
Really it’s just hanging out with people, having a good time, talking to people. It adds a huge dimension to the trip to learn about people’s lives.
What about glow bocce?
Glow bocce has hit the scenes hard. It’s a super fun game to play out here. You can start right after dinner and have these sparkling little glow bocces all over the place and get a real fun competition going on, especially with kids. Kids just love it.
What’s your all time favorite rapid to row?
The first 25 miles of the Middle Fork [Salmon] is just absolutely fantastic. It’s constant action, flying down through there, making moves left and right. It’s a lot of fun.
Get more of this interview. Watch below…