Travis Winn has dedicated his life to fighting a battle he knows he won’t win: keep China’s rivers flowing free. Through he can’t control the outcome, he’s learned to appreciate the process—sharing the joy of running rivers with the Chinese people. Continue reading →
Embrace beginner-ness. It’s the humorous failures along the way that make the smallest victories stand out. As a professional guide, Emerald seeks those small victories in her fly rod and reminds us, we all have a story of beginnings.
The lace to my wading boot snaps in half.
“Fuuuuuuu…” I moan, eyeing the gray mass of clouds moving down the canyon in my direction. I make quick “should I bail” calculations in my head. I decide the need for my body to stand in river outweighs the proximity to negative temperatures and limited remaining hours of daylight.
In late April, four overworked friends from Portland, Oregon, bust out of their cubicles for an overnight float down the Lower Deschutes River.
As I merge onto the Sunset Highway at five o’clock on a Friday, rush-hour traffic is already stacking up. I swerve into the left-hand lane and begin to think through my packing list. Like usual, my plan to get everything ready the night before didn’t happen. I managed to pile gear in the basement but didn’t actually pack it. Now we’re leaving in an hour and I’m staring at brake lights until the horizon.
They say a caged rat can be trained to navigate a maze for food. The rat can memorize the route, but when the food is replaced with a five-foot drop, that rat will run right off the edge without stopping. Psychologists call this a behavioral script. It’s doing things without recognition or control, and I’m weaving through traffic on autopilot.
The Grand Canyon is a trip that everyone should take, at least once in their lives. Hopefully you’ve already experienced it. The huge, seemingly endless views from the rim, the sound of the breeze whistling through a raven’s feathers as he glides effortlessly above, the inspiration you feel when you gaze into something so grand, so timeless, and so amazing.
In the final episode of leg three of the Wizard’s Eye Expedition, Tyler Bradt and crew say goodbye to Madagascar. A wingsuit accident forces Taylor to leave the trip, and the boat sets sail for South Africa with a fresh crew. Wildlife, kiteboarding and a little surfing in Port Elizabeth bring this leg of the Wizard’s Eye to an end. Continue reading →
Every February, as summer begins to warm the Southern Hemisphere, kayakers, rafters, and river lovers trek to the Futaleufú Valley in Chile. Paddlers battle for style, finesse, and speed. Locals mingle and share their culture with tourists. All leave with a new appreciation for free-flowing rivers.
Among the mountainous regions of Northern Patagonia, lies one of the most well-known ‘big water’ rivers in the world. The riverbed, consisting of massive rock and the steep gradient, creates the level of whitewater one would expect when staring up at the Chilean Andes. Turbulent hydraulics and mile-long rapids made of sapphire water create an experience thrill-seekers from throughout the world crave. Every year the Southern Hemisphere rotates its way a little closer to the sun, and it seems that the violent flow of the river pays homage to the wild geography of the Futaleufú Valley. Along with the sunshine, paddlers embark on their own pilgrimage to play amongst it.
With no on-the-water experience, professional photographers, Joe and Ben, attempt an overnight, open-water, sea-kayaking trip. Cameras in tow, the two learn what it takes to accomplish a paddling and photography trip around Washington’s San Juan Islands.
This past fall I had coffee with a stranger. His name was Ben Matthews, and like me, he spent his time traipsing through Wyoming and the west capturing life with his lens. A couple hours later, jittery with too much caffeine and potential adventures brewing, Ben and I had not only hit it off, we were planning a trip together. As if planning a trip with a complete stranger wasn’t crazy enough, we both agreed on the main stipulation for the trip: we had to get outside our comfort zones. Both of us were professional photographers without much on-the-water experience. The rest is history.
In August 2015, seven children under the age of ten and their moms traveled across the globe from their hometowns in China to raft world class whitewater and experience the love we have for our rivers right here in Idaho.
NRS sat down with co-owner of Last Descents River Expeditions, Travis Winn; filmmaker, Will Stauffer-Norris; and Travis’s longtime friend and collaborator, Adam Elliott, to discuss starting a rafting company in China, the fate of China’s last remaining free-flowing rivers, and the making of the film, Salween Spring.