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Time to get pumped up for rafting

My introduction to whitewater rafting was less than auspicious. If you want to call it nightmarish, even, I won’t disagree with you.

It was on the Rio Pacuare in Costa Rica, where my friend Annie and I were leading a social service tour for a company based in the Bay Area. As part of the prescribed team-building exercises, we loaded our teenage charges into rafts – and in no time at all one of them had her leg in a thigh-high cast.

That was just the beginning of what must be the worst trip ever in the history of do-gooder travel. Another one of our kids nearly ruptured her appendix and, even worse, called her bejeweled and manicured mother to join us in our village, which featured only occasional electrical service. And a full third of our group had to be sent home for breaking various rules, including the one against smuggling drugs into the country.

As you can well imagine, I approached my next rafting experience with some trepidation. But, as there were no high school students or high-maintenance parents involved, it was a much more successful venture, and now I love it.

Happily, the season is almost upon us and you have plenty of options right here in the neighborhood.

To wit: Warren River Expeditions offers five-, six- and 10-day adventures on Idaho’s Middle Fork and Salmon Rivers. They’re kicking off things this year with a lodge-based trip for seniors on April 18. The six-day rafting trip down the Main Salmon stops each night at a back-country lodge, saving backs and hips from nights on the hard ground.

If you like that idea, but you haven’t yet earned your AARP card, just hang on until the July 14 intergenerational lodge trip or the grab-bag version on Aug. 23. Each runs $2,175, and that includes lodging, gear, meals and shuttle transportation.

Those of you who prefer to camp need not fret. You can go as many as 10 days without a shower, although some trips take you close enough to one of the Middle Fork’s hot springs for a bath.

Rafting prices range from $1,600 to $3,175, depending on the length of your trip and the dates you choose.

Warren River Expeditions has plenty more up their collective sleeve, including spring and fall steelhead fishing trips and kayak workshops for beginners on up. The workshops, which last from six to nine days, cost $350 per day. Equipment is included.

Check or call (800) 765-0421 for more information.

Aggipah River Trips sticks to the Salmon – Middle Fork, Main and Lower – for its whitewater and fishing excursions. Most involve camping, although their kind of camping comes complete with fresh foods, regional wines, and Dutch-oven and open-fire cooking. Lodge-based options are available as well.

Aggipah’s rafting trips start at a one-day scenic tour of the Lower Salmon for $75. You also have your pick of three-, four-, five- and six-day outings launching June 2 and ringing in at $1,000 and up.

Steelhead fishing fans can head out for the day or for five, in which case you’ll either camp or bunk in a lodge, your choice. And depending on what you choose, you’ll pay as little as $300 or as much as $2,300.

Aggipah’s fees include most gear (except personal items), meals, transportation and guides.

You’ll find the complete menu of trips at

Or try (208) 756-4167.


Attention, puzzle lovers: The Spirit of Washington Dinner Train – which departs the Renton Depot, follows the shores of Lake Washington and makes its way over the historical Wilburton Trestle – embarks on a new season of mystery and mayhem this month.

Friday and Saturday nights through May 27, the Murder Mystery Train will involve passengers in solving an on-board crime. Actors posing as fellow travelers and a detective will incorporate information you provide about yourself when you make your reservation into the investigation.

The whodunit comes with dinner and dessert, all for $79.99 per person.

There’s additional information at or (800) 876-7245.

Regional events

• Suncadia Easter Egg Hunt, April 15, Roslyn, Wash. The 6,300-acre resort welcomes the Easter Bunny and his (her?) friends for breakfast, crafts and a hunt starting on the 18th green. (; 866-904-6300)

• East Idaho Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo, April 21-22, Idaho Falls. See 120 experts from all over the country tie their flies, and hone your skills at tying and casting workshops. (; 866-365-6943)

• Scraps and Threads Annual Quilt Show, April 28-30, Eureka, Mont. The Lincoln County Fairgrounds hosts demonstrations, vendors, a boutique and a tearoom. (; 406-889-5935)

• Elliott Bay Tug Boat Race, April 29, Seattle. Work boats parade along the waterfront before the race gets under way. Watch aboard the Steamer Virginia V, a National Historic Landmark Vessel. (; 206-624-9119)


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