Summer rafting: Riding the wild Rogue River

Summer rafting: Riding the wild Rogue River

Rafting and boating options abound on the Rogue River, from leisurely floats to white-knuckle whitewater adventures.

On the upper Rogue, the town of Shady Cove is a top destination for rafters with their own gear or those who want to rent a raft or inflatable kayak for the day.

Rental companies typically shuttle customers upstream to just below a fish hatchery near Lost Creek Dam to a put-in point on the river. About three hours later, customers arrive back at Shady...

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Go with the (low) flow

Go with the (low) flow

GOLD HILL — One of the wrinkles Rogue River boaters may discover during this year's summer rafting season involves the aptly named "Monkey Fist" rock that comes into play when rowing down the famed Nugget Falls.

Guides steering from the rear of rafts normally have their customers row hard in front as they slide just over this chunk of basalt that's barely under the river's surface. While doing so, it gooses the guide upward in the rowing seat. The up-front customers get their...

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Rafters speed down the rampaging Rogue River

Will Volpert, Aaron Lieberman and Hunter Connolly say they're not crazy. They just wanted to experience the full force of the Rogue River, which raged at flood stage by the time they got done with their 4 1/2-hour express raft trip Saturday afternoon at Foster Bar near Agness.

It's typically a two- or three-day excursion in summer, covering 35 miles.

They even arrived before their shuttle driver, as they careened down the mocha-colored, frothing, log-laden mess of a...

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Surf City

Surf City

As last week's warm rains pounded Southern Oregon, Medford's Ryan Allred and his gonzo kayak buddies of yore kept a close eye on the Bear Creek stream gauges to see whether Medford would once again turn into Surf City.

The normally staid and largely polluted creek is usually not much of an attraction for world-class kayakers, whose main obstacles are drowned shopping carts and escaping without a case of Hepatitis C.

But when the water roars like it did Saturday, Bear Creek's...

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Whitewater cowboys

Whitewater cowboys

SUPs are the new whitewater fad on the upper Rogue River.
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Efficient paddling is not an accident

Efficient paddling is not an accident

Anyone can move a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard over the water, but precious few have savored the joy of paddling efficiently.

When you see paddlers zigzagging up the Thorofare to Spokane's Upper Priest Lake, bumping into logs and frittering away calories, they probably don't have a clue that there's a better way.

Most of us figure we learned everything about paddling at summer camp when we were 9.

Even Brook Swanson had that mindset, to some degree.

"My...

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