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You won’t find dramatic waterfalls on the Rogue River itself, but ice-cold creeks (right) serve as small tributaries and provide spectacular views. Even without stomach-churning drops, though, OARS guides and Troop 223 Scouters preach safety to the Scouts. As a Class III river, the Rogue features opportunities for a passenger to fall out around every turn, so safety gear is a must. Before shoving off on the first day, guide Roberto Carrera helps check Alex Brown’s helmet and personal flotation device (left) for a proper fit. Once they are under way, guide Eli Helvey (previous spread, center) helps steer the raft and gives the guys on-the-fly paddling lessons.


ducks that float in a bathtub. Despite their innocent-sounding


nickname, though, Duckies can be difficult to maneuver. “On other trips,” Helvey said, “we tell people not to ride in them with their significant other. In fact, we call them ‘divorce boats.’”


BEFORE LAUNCH, Helvey and his team of three guides checked that everyone had securely fastened their PFDs and locked their helmets in position. Only then were the Scouts allowed to step into the paddle raft, each of them grabbing a red-and-yellow paddle and taking a seat along the edge of the craft.


The guides split the adults into


three groups that boarded the larger boats, where they simply rode while the guides worked the oars. A daily rotation schedule ensured the oppor- tunity to experience the paddle raft, where the Scouts—most making their first rafting trip—began a hands-on education in river physics. First lesson: Three paddlers working together on each side of the raft works better than six individual, out-of-sync paddlers. After just over a mile, the guys got the hang of paddling and navigat- ing, and by then the headman was ready to reward their efforts. “Who’s hungry?” Helvey asked.


Several hands shot up, and he directed the rafts to beach at a shady spot below a large concrete bridge that marked the end of civilization and the


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