Deschutes River Rant: SAGE - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-20-2013   #1
L Knapp
 
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 27
Deschutes River Rant: SAGE

We had a run-in yesterday with SAGE guides on the Deschutes and I gotta say, I was pissed! It was Monday, so theoretically there should be lots of space on the river, but apparently the Deschutes is not big enough for some egos. We were out for a three day float from Warm Springs with another family, then us and our ten month old baby and two year old toddler. Well, we get down near Harpham Landing and there are commercial trips launching. We wait for them to get ahead of us, but the last raft of a about twelve of them is taking forever, so we head down the river. Well, in the tail waves of Wapinitia, I head someone yell "No Brakes" and look behind me, and there is this jackass guide with a stupid smile on his face two feet from slamming his fully loaded paddle raft into my cat! Yeah, the whole river is available, and he decides it would be fun to go ramming a cat with two babies in it. Can't do anything to avoid him that fast, and he slams into us. I swear at him and point out my kids, sitting up on the cooler with my husband. He says he couldn't see them, doesn't apologize. Paddles off trying to make a joke out of it to his customers, who look uncomfortable. I throttle my temper and sit tight in my raft...

We walk the kids around Boxcar, take them out at Maupin and drive down to meet the raft at Sandy Beach. I get there and despite the fact the beach is HUGE and there is one commercial trip actually taking out, the outfitters have the whole ramp filled with their trailers and busses. I ask a shuttle driver if their trip is showing up soon, you know, sort of "hint, hint, everyone else waits in the parking lot for their trip to show up, yours isn't in sight and you've got your bus parked ON THE RAMP, plus two trailers." She blows me off, so I back my rig down between theirs. Pesky, I know, but we aren't going to wait for them to show up. And of course, they did show up while we were there, the guides are super mouthy and rude, calling us names, bumping into us and being aggressive. What company? Oh, SAGE again.

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Old 08-20-2013   #2
 
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Up shites creek, Colorado
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Sorry about your river issues, but kudos for taking not one but TWO little ones on an over nighter!
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Old 08-20-2013   #3
 
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portland, Oregon
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we usually do just Warm Springs to Harpham. Overnight/Launch at Mecca Flats. Do a layover near North Junction.

you get to take out at Harpham around 3-4pm --- the time there is nobody there. You avoid the fun rapids but also avoid the jackasses at Sandy Beach takeout.

I guess your option works too but you really need to camp down below Buckskin and get on the river early if you want to miss all the commercial traffic on the last day ...
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Old 08-20-2013   #4
swimming
 
Tacoma,Wa, Idaho
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I have been on the Deschutes 3 times. It is one river I never need to go back to. The water is Boring!, nothing but riff raff out of Portland and 5000 boats to bumper car with all day. Everyone gets hyped over some little rapids that are on the river and it is basically a burnt waste land. I have NO idea why someone would even go there over the other Oregon options.

The Cluster F at the boat ramps are the worst I have ever seen anywhere, The outfitters customers block every slot on the ramp and just sit there. Also why do people rig there freaking boats on the ramp over there?? drive the trailer in the water , launch the boat and you are clear in 1 minute , pretty damn simple. I saw someone pull up to the ramp black a open slot and start airing up his raft on the ground. DOUCHE
They can have that place
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Old 08-20-2013   #5
L Knapp
 
Portland, Oregon
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I will add to this that I just talked to the owner of Sage, and he was a stand-up guy about it. Said he would address it with the guide, and that yeah, he probably does need to remind his shuttles about staking out the ramp at Sandy. He's a local to Maupin and sure doesn't want to own a company with a bad reputation. Then again, the Deschutes needs more than just one polite outfitter... Like most popular ramps, it would take airport curb police to straighten out some of those ramps.
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Old 08-20-2013   #6
L Knapp
 
Portland, Oregon
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One more addition, which I think pertains to a lot of pissed off boaters. I emailed the Prineville BLM, who manages this section. I described this incident, and got a very sympathetic and "we will not let this pass" sort of response. If you have similar complaints, you might try the same. I looked up the manager of the Prineville BLM unit's email address, should you have occasion for it, let me know.
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Old 08-21-2013   #7
 
Southern, Oregon
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I have mixed feelings about the guided trip thing. On the lower rogue between July-August foster bar ramp is a loser from noon on. They have it and I don't even try to get anything other than the rocks north of the ramp. Primary larger camps are the same way. They send runners in the early morning and they are gone. What sucks is when some of the former none primary spots start getting filled (upper wildcat/ river right up from Missouri etc). I get it but I don't want to hear bitching (which I have) when a private group does a layover at one of the good spots. It was it is and I get it in the summer months. Never had any major problems on the lower with any of the guided trips (always polite), just frustration when they are at a camp you haven't seen them before.
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Old 08-21-2013   #8
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Missoula, Montana
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Just a basic blanket statement here: there are at least 2 sides to every story.

In addition, we private boaters need to remember when we bash outfitters that outfitters exist to service the public. This is the same public, like you and me, that "own" our public rivers. People that go on outfitted trips are just people without gear or the knowledge/skill to do it on their own. So even though the employees of the outfitter were apparently rude and unprofessional (far to common), the outfitters are not the root of all evil. It is not their fault that they bring loads of people down the river. If the river trip were not in such high demand by the general PUBLIC, there would not been long flotillas of commercial boats.

In general, people are rude, selfish, and ignorant. In addition many river rafters lack the skills to read water and lack the skills and knowledge to slow a boat down while rafting. That "guide" in the boat that rammed the cat certainly was a goon and probably deserved a slap across the face with a wet neoprene glove for endangering the children. My point is that outfitters are not the root of all evil and the ones to blame for every digression of polite decorum that happens on the river. In fact, it sounds like this outfitter man'd up and took responsibility and hopefully will fire that shitty guide and shuttle driver.
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Old 08-21-2013   #9
 
Ashlandistan, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duce View Post
I have mixed feelings about the guided trip thing. On the lower rogue between July-August foster bar ramp is a loser from noon on. They have it and I don't even try to get anything other than the rocks north of the ramp. Primary larger camps are the same way. They send runners in the early morning and they are gone. What sucks is when some of the former none primary spots start getting filled (upper wildcat/ river right up from Missouri etc). I get it but I don't want to hear bitching (which I have) when a private group does a layover at one of the good spots. It was it is and I get it in the summer months. Never had any major problems on the lower with any of the guided trips (always polite), just frustration when they are at a camp you haven't seen them before.
So Duce do you have any solutions to these issues? Personally I think it is a shame the way the boaters on the Rogue are hyper competitive in regard to camps. I would be very grateful for a mechanism to take the stress out of finding a camp, particularly below Paradise. My current solution is to only guide lodge to lodge trips and only do four day private trips, which only helps a little.
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Old 08-21-2013   #10
L Knapp
 
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Having formerly been a raft guide, I actually like seeing outfitters on the river. It's just a shame when you have to use the name on the side of the raft to complain about them. I haven't done the Rogue during the height of summer, only the off season, so there is my solution to that river, although it's not a perfect one. In the case of the Deschutes, the ranger probably needs to police the ramp better, hence my getting in touch with the ranger.
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