Nicole Smedegaard

Oregon Assistant Manager
Where did you grow up?

Rogue River, Oregon

Where do you call home now?

Eugene, Oregon

Year started at OARS?


What’s the best part of your job?

The river.

Tell us about your favorite rapid, hike or camp and what makes it special

My favorite part of the Rogue is Mule Cr Canyon Rapid. I’ve been on a lot of rivers and never seen any quite like it! When you make it through the narrowest surging eddy, coffee pot, and pass a surprise waterfall tucked into a grotto, Stair Cr Falls, you can see a beautiful spire of rock jutting hundreds of feet into the sky on river left, Pinnacle Peak. I like to get my passengers to try and guess the name of the peak as we float by.

Do you have a lucky charm or special river tradition?

I’m religious about tightening my stanchions (the metal arm that holds up the brass oar lock) before entering the class 4 section. It’s also traditional to wear clothing with flowers on it for Blossom Rapid. Lastly, I have a mantra I repeat to myself when entering difficult whitewater, it goes “I move slow and steady, but I feel like a waterfall.” It’s a lyric from “Slow and Steady” by Monsters and Men.

What can you not live without on a trip?

Well if I’m going to be logical here…WATER !

Fun fact, special talent or favorite guiding memory

I am learning all the names of the local flora and fauna. My favorite is Lampropeltis zonata, or California Mountain King Snake. There is a population living at Whiskey Creek. They copy the bright warning color of a coral snake, but are harmless. My favorite memories are all of my fellow river folk, especially my coworkers, showing off their special talents! Some can play the uke, some can do the worm…they are all very talented people.

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