Friday, May 31, 2013

100 Degrees? This Weekend!

Middle Fork American Tunnel Chute run
Ok, Mother Nature. Your fun-filled silliness about your weather has been enough.

First we have snow and rain and then nothing for months and months. Then you fool us with 90 degrees in early May and then you surprise us with 70 degrees in late May that puts everyone back in a wetsuit or crawling under the bed covers to sleep the day away.

And now, this weekend. 100 degrees? Possibly, as the weather people predict a very hot weekend for June 1st.

I checked the channel and saw 97 degrees in Lotus, California on Saturday, June 1st. Wow. And, this past week's cloudy, Arizona-like sky cooling down the air temperature until I had to put on a sweater, was just a tease.

Will California remain hot? Who knows? But, what I do know is it is definitely time, puppies, to get your tweets going, your instagram snapping, your fab facebook posting and your bloggys rolling.Time to go rafting. Drive and dive into the mix of the river and socialize with your friends and colleagues. Bring your families together and go rafting with us, too.

This year, the two rivers to navigate this 2013 season are the following:

  • South Fork American River: 21 miles into 2 sections; Chili Bar and/or Gorge run; class 3-3+, 1-day or 2-day trips available; camping, meals, etc; novice
  • Middle Fork American River: 18 miles; Tunnel Chute run; class 3-4+, 1-day, 2-day, 3-day trips available; camping, meals, etc; experienced, or atheletic novices
  • Middle Fork American Lower River: 6 miles; Kid River; class 2-2+, 1-day available; introduction to rafting, kid snacks, beverages; 1pm-5pm (approx); children 3+yrs
  • South Fork American Coloma run: 5 miles; Family River; class 2-2+, 1-day available; river rafting, beverages; noon-3pm (approx); children 3+yrs
As always... See you on the river,
W.E.T. River Trips staff post
~ EL

Friday, May 17, 2013

About Cell Phones

Erm... about your cell phone. When you call us and leave a message from your cell phone while you are driving, here is what we hear: a garble of words that include a cell number that is barely decipherable.

Ooops! Yup. We cannot understand what you just said!

My favorite is the slo-o-o-o-w talker. The one who describes everything in detail about what they want and which river to raft. And, then... the phone number. In lightening speed, the caller says a flurry of numbers slurred together as a single word. Uhmmm... can you repeat that?

We also have many people whom English is a second language. The language accents make the cell number even more unintelligible. Please people. Slow down when you call so we can be sure to get your cell number so we can call back.

This morning, a caller was driving in their car when they made the call to our reservation office. With the sound of the air whooshing as their car sped down the road, a background of noise colored their speech and made it very difficult for us to understand.

A mumble of a voice, and I think I heard "birthday" and I think they said "this weekend." But, the phone number was a blur and (2) of the numbers were not clearly understood. So we tried each number from 1 - 9 and placed them in different configurations in that cell number. Nada. Nothing. Wrong number.

American River Whitewater Rafting

Maybe they will call back... and maybe they won't. Those who do not call back are usually annoyed with us because we did not return the call. With everyone on a cell phone, keep in mind that the clarity of your voice may not be received by the receipient. Instead, we got a lot of wooshing air, auto traffic noise and a garbled voice.

Guess what? There really is a very good reason why we can not hear each other on cell phones. Cell phones cut out the highest frequencies of the human voice. The results suggest that we may be missing the full meaning of what people say when we talk to them on our mobile devices. So says an article in

I do wish I could have that cell phone that can call anywhere in the world from any place in the world. But, until that day arrives, all we can do is hope that our guests are understanding and patient. Slow down when you call! We really want to hear your words and call you right back.

A List for Hearing Resources
  1. on Why We Can't Hear :
  2. Yahoo Answers on Cell Phone Hearing :
  3. Ask What I Can't Hear You on the Cell Phone :
  4. Hearing Loss in Musicians :
  5. Hearnet, A Non-Profit Info Source for Musicians and Music Lovers :
  6. Oracle ThinkQuest on Phone Etiquette :
  7. ReviewGist on Best Cell Phones for Hearing Impaired of 2013 :

Written by: ~ EL on Staff for W.E.T. River Trips
Thanks to, Yahoo Answers,,,, Oracle Education and Reviewgist for their help on "A List for Hearing Resources".
Photos by, Northwestern University, and WET River Trips on Flickr.
Uuuuhhh... ok everyone, can you hear the whitewater rafting guide when he says "Paddle Forward!" ? (excuse my grammer...)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Exercise, Let's Walk!

May brings warm weather, and the thoughts of summer vacations. Thoughts of hiking with your family, rafting with the kids, camping with multiple generations and exploring and enjoying California's landscape of beauty, nature and life are paramount now.

group rafting trips with wet river trips
W.E.T. River Trips on South Fork American

We are all getting older. The knees ache from skiing, the back is sore from those past years of playing basketball or soccer. Or maybe you were a runner pounding the pavement in those Nike's. Or maybe you just never really exercised before!

Why do we bring this up? We want each of our guests to enjoy themselves completely on our whitewater rafting trips. How can you enjoy this sport even more?

If you are planning a river trip this summer, start now. Get off the couch, push away the chair from the computer desk and turn off that tv. You got to start walking. What better way to enjoy your time with us than to prepare with your family.

Active Seniors Rafting!
Multiple generations enjoy rafting!
Every evening before/after dinner, gather everyone in the family together and announce that you will all be walking together for 15 - 30 minutes each day. The days are long so there will be sunlight until 9PM. Make it fun. If you have little ones, they will enjoy the "I Spy" game where everyone has to be on the look-out for something special designated by the leader (Dad or Mom).

If you are cajoling teens, tell them to bring their cell phones, and that they can either talk to friends or check their text messages as they walk. Pssss... once they start walking, they will talk to you, the parents. I guarantee that. Just imagine sharing the day with them. Listen to their stories. You will gain huge insights to their daily teen lives.

Family exercising and walking together
And, for you. Hold hands with each other. The warm embrace of a warm, friendly hand does so much good for your spirit. You will enjoy those walks. And your body will thank you. You will drop a little weight, you will gain stamina, and you will be ready for your whitewater trip.

No more excuses! Enjoy your life with your family, and your life will be a blessing of love and joy. And, believe me, you will be ready for anything!

Canyon on Middle Fork American
Written: Staff of W.E.T. River Trips
Photos: of family walking
Photos: W.E.T. River Trips in Flickr

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Northern California Rafting Trips - Spring 2013

Hello Boys and Girls... Heffe wrote this one!

I once again had the opportunity to go on another W.E.T. River Trips sponsored rafting trip to the lost corner of California. Just about every year I have been employed by WET we have made to pilgrimage up to Northern California. Sometimes we go to the Smith River drainage, sometimes we go to the Trinity drainage, sometimes we go to the California Salmon drainage, and sometimes we go to them all. We always charge hard and get on more rivers then days in the trip. This is no easy feet, but is accomplished by a very knowledgeable captain, Steve.

California Salmon Paddlers

This year was no exception, we met at the warehouse on Monday morning. I wasn't sure who was coming along, but was greeted by Logan, Danger Dave, and John C. We packed the van with all the the equipment necessary for a three day camping, rafting trip with the strong possibility of rain. The van was loaded and ready to go, with only two more real stops before we would be setting up camp at Nordhiemer camp ground. One of those stops is of course the grocery store, for food and a small bit of fire water. The other stop is of course Petro, the ceremony stop made by whatever W.E.T. trip travels north past it. We were pleasantly surprised when Steve received a phone call from one of the new trainees, Daniel. Daniel lived near Petro, and would be more then willing to join us on our trip north. We all were also pretty stoked, because having Dan along meant there would be three paddlers, instead of just two.

The WET van pulled into Cal Salmon Nordhiemer camp at 5:30, after road scouting some of the larger rapids on the Nordhiemer run. The weather being unsettled and wanting to enjoy the evening we decided to not put on the river. We all enjoyed a pleasant evening of a pasta dinner and a very small portion of fire water. (WET office staff says "lol!")

The next morning came early the smells of breakfast cooking, and coffee. We put on the river early with the hopes of heading all the way down through the Ikes section of the Klamath River.

The last time Jon and I had run this section flows were in the 5000-6000cfs range, everything looked much smaller, several rapids above a rapid called airplane turn, Jon gave me the signal (arms out stretched like an airplane). He thought the next one was airplane turn, it was not, nor was the next one, or the next. Airplane is not usually one of the rapids I scout on this run, but after watching several fully loaded oar assist rafts come through and flip (at higher water), we were very concerned about this other wise benign rapid. After a short scout, I stayed to take pictures, while the raft consisting of Jon as the all powerful guide, Logan, Danger Dave, and New guy Dan picked the best line of attack. Jon came in with a left to left movement, dropping the front left corner deep into the pocket, stalling the raft long enough to move everyone from there seated positions, throwing Dan and Danger Dave into the water. The first two swims of the trip out of the way.

We continued down river not stopping to scout again until we reached one of the biggest rapids on the California Salmon on this section, Cascade. There is a hiking trail in on river left, so Steve was there to take pictures and judge the performance. After a very short scout for me it was off to river right to have a better look at my favorite line in the rapid, a simple boof off the center/center right line. I like this line because the angle Steve is able to take pics is one of my favorite pictures. I picked my line peeled out into the eddie and sent myself off the 10 foot ledge, into the soft landing below, a near perfect line. I really enjoy a good scout followed by an exact performance of what you had in your head. I eddied out below and waited for the raft. I decided to stay in my boat in case any carnage came floating down. The raft pulled out into the current, had the perfect right angle for the entrance lateral, quickly charged away from the wall with a few powerful stokes from the boys, the raft was in the clear. I think it was one of the smoothest lines I have ever seen run at cascade.

Below cascade are a few fun but insignificant rapids, before you reach Freight Train. In my opinion Freight Train can be one very intimidating rapid. After a very long scout and a small break, I decided it was time to run it. I pulled out into the current, and was sent hurdling along towards my fate. I had picked a good line but still felt out of control, nearing the bottom the crux of the rapid I was stalled out on my stern and no longer really had control of where I was going to end up. Once the bow of my kayak had settled down I was on top of the coffin rocks I had been trying to avoid from the top, but to my amazement I just slid right over the top of them. Having escaped with my pride, it was the rafts turn. Once again to my amazement Jon has picked another nearly perfect line down the biggest rapid on the section of river. After Freight Train things tames out a little bit and turns into a very enjoyable class 3 section of river called Butler. We all had very clean fun lines in this section.

The choice was made at lunch a little earlier in the day to continue down the Cal Salmon all the way to the Klamath river. Once on the Klamath the flow goes to almost 5 times the level you have on the Salmon. You go from a fairly low flow rafting to big water. There is two very large rapids on this section of the Klamath. Big Ike, and little Ike. After a short scout at big Ike the boys decided they were going to run the meat of the rapid. We discussed how big the hole was, and decide from this vantage point it was a little bit over six feet trough to top. I ran through first skirting the biggest part of the rapid and was still very surprised how big the waves were, I would say they were in the 8-10 foot range. My thoughts quickly turned to the boys in the raft, did they really want to try and plug a 10-foot hole? At this point there is no way to communicate with them as they are already just about to enter the meat of the rapid. As they neared the top of the hole it looked as if they were on the verge of surfing back down the face, just as it looked like it was all over their fearless leader, yelled “paddle bitches” thus saving the raft from flipping and sending everyone swimming in the cold brown water. The rapids after big Ike down and just fun large waved rapids. After about 15 minutes of flat water we were all very relived to catch site of the W.E.T. van parked on shore. After more then 25 river miles, three different sections of river, and countless memories, we were all very stoked to get into some dry clothes and maybe a firewater or two.

W.E.T. River Trips, California whitewater, CAL Salmon River, Klamath River, class 5, rapids

After a short drive we all arrived back at camp. Once again Steve made us a quick satisfying meal of chili stirred together (with) mac'n cheese also called chili mac. The weather had once again held off for us and we were able to collect a small but acceptable amount of fire wood. At the Nordheimer Camp there is a herd of wild horses. Right before it got dark we were able to spend sometime petting the older horses. Once the horses were well-watered it was time to enjoy another river evening around the fire sharing the days embellishments.
The next morning at was a quick breakfast, and an even quicker team effort of breaking down camp. We all knew we had a big day in front of us(well at least the half of the group that had been up this way before). We were on the road and make a quick stop off in Happy Camp for some ice cream and morning snacks. With a little more then an hour and half of driving in front of us we would be at the put-in for the Scott river at about high noon.

The section we did on the Scott is a very enjoyable class 4 section. There are several large boulder gardens, with quite a bit of read and run class 4. There are 3 bigger class 4 rapids on this section. This day on the Scott was my day to guide the raft, and let my good friend Jon safety kayak. After running several fun read and run rapids we came upon the first large rapid, called White house. After the scout it was quite clear, the easiest and safest line was down far river right, with slight left angle. W Punching through the second smaller hole at the bottom with a good amount of speed. The line was fairly straight forward but if we did find ourselves off line there would be a good amount of thrashings for everybody. Jon was the first to push off, as we were still getting settled in the raft. I worked the raft around a fairly shallow entrance and down the left side of the river, finding the tongue through the first hole, getting a couple good paddle stokes in from the boys, and raft boofing the second hole into the pool at the bottom, where I expected to see our friend Jon C waiting in his kayak. Instead I couldn't see my friend, then a few seconds later I see him, at first I think he is getting his monthly bath in, turns out I was wrong. My good friend Jon had taken quite a beating in the second hole, and was trying to swim after the missing paddle. He gave a the signal that the paddle was floating down stream somewhere and we were off to chase after the missing gear. We were lucky enough to find the paddle in the next rapid called Thompson creek, where Logan made a super good grab of the paddle at the last second as the raft and paddle were just about to float apart. We waited for a short while, as we walked the paddle back up to the winded Jon C.

We were quickly back on the water enjoying several other class 3 and 4 boulder gardens. Not to far down river the sky darkened, it looked like the sun was going down. Then it started small hail at first, then slowly the hail got bigger and bigger until it was slightly bigger then a marble. We paddled quickly hoping to see the take out soon. Before we know it we were at takeout, where just as fast as the hail had started it stopped and once again the sun came out. We quickly loaded up the gear and changed into warm dry clothes. We also watched the swimmer of the trip drink his ceremonial booty beer. We were on the road home with several hundred miles separating us from the warehouse parking lot. We made a quick stop in Yreka for 2 large pizzas. Back on the road we made great time home with Steve behind the wheel. We arrived in the warehouse parking lot about 9:30pm. Having driven several hundred miles and rafting three different rivers in two days, I am pretty sure everyone had a great time.

W.E.T. River Trips, California whitewater, CAL Salmon River, Klamath River, class 5, rapids
I always look forward to these trips up north with the WET boys. A big thanks to Steve and W.E.T. River Trips for leading us on another journey to the lost corner of California!

Jeff Heffe
Director Of Good Times at W.E.T. River Trips

Thanks Heffe for a story well-told! We liked the part about the wild horses...
WET River Trips office staff
Photos by W.E.T. River Trips