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I got started in river rafting in high school, I was 15 years old and turning 16 in a few months, that May I was invited on a river trip on the Yampa in Dinosaur N.M. on a training trip with Adventure Bound on a five day trip, I never even knew what a river trip was about. I was asked if a I wanted a nice summer job after the trip, I said sure but I would have to quit my job at the grocery store, hard decision, right. My training that summer was a first-aid class, CPR certification, drown-proofing certification(swimming a mile, staying afloat for an hour) than dragging a person across a swimming pool 12 times. Than boat repair and equipment building, from oars, frames, coffins T cargo boxes, wooden floors, nothing was commercially available. Patching material was acquired by cutting up the floors that we removed from the 33 ft. military pontoon's, glue was N7, painted the boats with a silver rubber paint and outboard motor repair. Than my training was done on 28 ft. to 33 ft. pontoon's rafts and 30 ft. J-Rig's, we motored and rowed both. Cat, Deso, Yampa, Ladore, Green and WW were my training grounds. No motors on Yampa and Ladore, though. That's how I was introduced to river rafting and I have never grown up sense. Most of us were teenagers taking down Doctors, teachers, sports teams, etc. down beautiful rivers. Ya, college, training and job got in the way but still guided in my off time though. My passion for river rafting is still with me till this day.
 

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Well 30 years ago I was newly divorced with a 9 yr., saw an ad in the paper for a canoe club starting up. Ended up meeting my future sweetie there. Guess you could say it went down hill from there: flat water canoe, WW OC2, WW OC1, got rid of flat water canoe, discovered car wasn't big enough for gear and boats for 2 adults & 1 kiddo-got SUV, did honeymoon on MF Salmon in WW OC2, C1 for kiddo, 2nd WW OC2 as wore first one out (kept 1st one), became good buddies with a family who just got a raft, got rid of C1 as kiddo grew too tall -6'2", discovered that August permits on Main Salmon were easy to get and rafting family loved to tag along, 3rd WW OC2, gave away original WW OC2, replaced WW OC1 with new one, rafting family pulled a GC permit, sweetie canoed GC-my boss wouldn't give me the time off, kiddo graduated from college-got rid of OC1, still pulling permits and having a grand time with rafting family. Sold 1 of the remaining WW OC2's. We're slowing down-darn. This summer is the first that rafting family & us haven't been on a river. I LOVE rafters, they carry all the stuff!!
 

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I got my buddy a job teaching skiing in the fall, he took me for a "leaf peeping" trip down the upper yough (4-5 technical rowdiness) in his raft as a thank you. I was instantly hooked, got a job running rubber the following spring.
 

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Oh man. I made the jump from drift boats. 15 years ago, the Coast Guard moved my family to the very Northern Part of coastal California. Always a fisherman, I took up salmon and steelhead fishing on these western rivers with a vengeance. The shape of the dories and the skill of the oarsmen (and women!) called to me and a season later I landed my first dory: a Boulder Boatworks drift boat. I fished it hard for several years until one winter I saw guides fishing out of small rafts and frames when the water got super low.

The guides often didn鈥檛 use boat ramps and simply drug their rafts and clients down embankments and over rocks. When we couldn鈥檛 launch due to low flows, those dudes went. I bought an NRS Otter with fishing frame and had a blast. The next summer, we began making family overnight trips. And then and then and then......we now have 3 rafts, are part of a permit party, and my family has become that weird family in the neighborhood putting trips together and cleaning boats and gear in the driveway.

I wouldn鈥檛 trade it for anything
 

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Got too fat for kayaks
I had kids and needed an option to still go on the river without leaving them at home.

19 years later, I'm still kayaking, but put in a lot more raft (and now dory) days than in the little boat.
 

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Oh man. I made the jump from drift boats. 15 years ago, the Coast Guard moved my family to the very Northern Part of coastal California.
I was stationed at Group/Airsta Humboldt Bay a few years back (now Sector Humboldt Bay). Good times in a beautiful area!

I got started in rivers when I was just a wee lad. My dad had been into rafting since he was 13, and he said once I was able to pass the swim test at the local swimming pool I could start going rafting with him. My best childhood memories all revolve around river life.
 

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I was stationed at Group/Airsta Humboldt Bay a few years back (now Sector Humboldt Bay). Good times in a beautiful area!
heck yes IDriverRunner! I thought I won the lottery when I got orders to A/S Humboldt (2005-2009 AMT2). Yeah Eureka kinda sucks, but the outdoor rec in the area was superb. Flying up and down the coast was the best. I scoped out a lot of good fishing holes from the door of the helicopter while 鈥渨orking鈥. We live in Bend, OR now. Still in the CG reserves (MST2). Most fall/winters I still make it down to the Trinity to chase steelhead
 

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heck yes IDriverRunner! I thought I won the lottery when I got orders to A/S Humboldt (2005-2009 AMT2). Yeah Eureka kinda sucks, but the outdoor rec in the area was superb. Flying up and down the coast was the best. I scoped out a lot of good fishing holes from the door of the helicopter while 鈥渨orking鈥. We live in Bend, OR now. Still in the CG reserves (MST2). Most fall/winters I still make it down to the Trinity to chase steelhead
 

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Back in the 90's I dropped a friend off at River Runners by Buena Vista to start his training to be a guide. I visited him on weekends and we'd take his dad's Avon square back down Brown's after work. A couple of years later I bought a cat and started running Brown's on my own. As the years rolled by I bought more boats and ran more rivers. Now I have enough river gear and boats to outfit large multi day trips.
 

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I started ww kayaking in high school. Mid way through my sophomore year in college in Alabama, I dropped out and moved into a friend's garage in California. Slinging pizzas was fun for a few months, then I was encouraged by a former teacher to call one of the rafting companies on the Kern. I spent the $400 I had saved up slingling pies on guide school. The following year (1995), a big fat El Nino broke the drought and Bigwater on the Kern indelibly seared the passion for ww boating (in any craft) into my soul.
 

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In 1961 a 14 year old could get a 6 HP license for a motorcycle. A friend and myself did just that and bought 2 bad ass 6 hp monster motorcycles. I got a 98cc Ducati and he got a 150 cc Honda with a restrictor so it was 6 hp. The immediate freedom to travel, do stupid things and have fun was difficult to handle. So in a natural progression of stupid ideas, we decided to buy a surplus raft, two paddles, a pump, two canteens, a pup tent and two army surplus blankets. It is so long ago I cannot reminder the total cost, but it was not much. We both had read Tom Sawyer so we ready to raft a river. $10 for gas (24 cents per gallon) and we could go anywhere. A loaf of Wonder bread, jar of Peter Pan peanut butter, a jar of Concord grape jelly a map of Colorado and we were off. That decision was one of the most expensive decisions of my life. Many boats, much gear and a ton of trips later I'm still at it. For my 59th year of rafting this summer I rowed Smith, Green (labyrinth), Green (Deso) and the Main Salmon.
Since I raft with some people even older than me, I think it is safe to say, rafting is like sex, once you start, most people will prefer not to quit.
 

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Because of Bighorn's post, got me to re-fire old brain cells. So this is an update to my first post.

Back in my wild youth-1974-1976, i was attending DVC JC in the SF Bay area. Got in with a group where we bought the original Sevylor Tahiti IK. Hauled them up the Stanislaus R, above the camp 9 run. pre-dam. Actually packed everything in a good 8 miles or so, and would set up a base camp for week during the summers. And had a delightful short section we could run over & over again. Boy were we stupid, no PFds or helmets. Ripped the bottoms out on rocks, patched the rips & then used a quality air mattress for the floor . First self bailor? Then we bought a used raft, didn't have rigid floor or thwarts , and successfully ran the Camp 9 run a couple times before trashing it. And yes by then we had PFD's (kinda). Graduated from DVC, moved to Humboldt County. Then there was about 15 yrs of no rivers in my life.

It's neat to learn that there's a fair number of CG that had been based here. My second WW OC1 was sold to a CG , I think he was the "moral-recreational officer" for a while.
60469
 

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One June in the late 1980s I realized I had seen my kayak buddies more than my wife and daughter.
Bought my first cat and did some family boating. Still at it 30 plus years later, but now with my grandson. And my Class V buddies! Sold my kayak long ago but keep buying lighter and smaller cats.
 

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My first raft trips were somewhere in the early 1970s Grande Ronde River Raft Race, sponsored by the Veterans Club at the then EOC, now EOU.
Because of that, my first ovenight trip was when a friend got a permit for Hells Canyon, and since I had experience (?), I was given a boat to row, somewhere in the early 1980s Been hard at it since.
early raft.jpg
 
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