Aug 12 | Return to the Pecos

by Robert Field

Adirondacks - BDuchesneyWinding through the rocky desert of southwest Texas, the Lower Pecos River is home to vast landscapes, unique wildlife and infamous flash flooding. Forced to abandon their first attempt down the river, the father-and-son duo return with Robert Field to finish a trip they began two years ago.

Bert points to various spots along the cliff where waterfalls had formed all around them that fateful morning. I struggle to keep the camera pointed at him. I’ve read about and heard the story a dozen times, most recently during the seven-hour car ride to the Texas desert five days ago, but I realize I haven’t truly grasped the enormity of what happened. Now, looking up at the sheer 200-foot cliff face that forms the Lower Pecos River’s eastern bank, the terrifying reality of what my two companions had experienced comes to life.

I snap out of my thoughts when I hear Daniel ask through the satellite phone: “When is the system going to hit?

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Jul 29 | No Better Place to Be

by Ian Fodor-Davis

ThreeRivers_JBoling_031714_-9497The Illinois River has always been on Ian’s list. When handed the opportunity to run the Illinois earlier this year, Ian jumped. In a mere 50 hours, the Illinois River captivated and inspired him, challenged and humbled him, and reminded him of the basic reasons he’s drawn to water.

Working in the outdoor industry offers me the opportunity to get on the water with friends and customers often. In full disclosure, I probably get the opportunity more frequently than I should. Better yet, I jump at the opportunities more frequently than I should. Either way, through the years I’ve constructed two lists: my backyard favorites (the ones I return to when the levels are up and the to-do list is short) and my wish list.

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Jun 16 | Wedgie Waders: A Beginnings Story

by Emerald LaFortune

Emerald Headshot 2Embrace 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.

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Jun 9 | A River for the Working Stiff

by Tim Gibbins

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.09.31 PM 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.

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