The Lure of the Lochsa
was my first time rowing the Lochsa River but I’d
been a passenger a few times before and knew what it
felt like to flip over in Lochsa Falls. I was determined
to take the challenge on my 16'
River Cat rowing from the front with passengers
giving me support from behind.
my ATB Wetshoes
locked in between the rails of the frame yoke and my
in place on the oar grips we set off hoping to stay
in our seats. The first few rapids cleared the butterflies
out of my stomach as I warmed up on the sticks. The
water tossed us about and cooled us off as it shed quickly
from our NRS Extreme
Drysuits. As we approached Lochsa Falls the folks
in the lead raft yelled, "this is it!" The
butterflies visited again in the form of excitement
and courage. I stood up on the lower side rails to get
a better look and to pick my line.
I decided not to catch the curl on the left hand side of the
wave that if hit correctly can take you over the top of the
monster that seems to flip everyone. Instead I decided to
go straight for the monster and hope I could push my way over
the top. As I positioned myself right of center I began rowing
forward steady and firm to gain momentum.
began dropping in - arms braced against my body - blades forward
preparing for the last push. The crowd is along the banks
cheering with their cameras flashing, waiting to see the boat
flip as I hit the first wave. The cat ascends up the belly
of the wave and as I near the top of the wave I use all my
strength against the oars in effort to get us over the top.
The boat feels vertical and my teeth are clenched but I've
crest the top with my passengers still in tow. I feel the
grin come across my face as I hear someone from the crowd
yell, "Rock on, Girl!"
I showed up at Wilderness Gateway Campground for our
Lochsa day trips this past June, I had already missed
an eventful day of boating. It was Saturday night;
I had just finished a day of work here at NRS and
was excited about the upcoming run down this particular
stretch along the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary.
We awoke to dark skies and cold, falling rain, but
still decided to have a go…wearing our NRS
Extreme Drysuits, even if we did take a swim,
we were confident we would be staying warm and dry.
the pleasure of riding on a cooler on the back of a 16’
NRS River Cat. As we got slammed through Lochsa Falls,
I watched a couple of NRS associates tumble through behind
us on a 14-foot NRS
River Cat, pausing briefly to do a bit of a tail dance
with the nose of the Cat pointed straight up at the falling
rain. In no time, the boat was seat-side-down, and Mike
and Pam had positioned themselves on top of the overturned
tubes preparing for the next set of rapids, which was quickly
approaching. Facing backwards on my front row cooler seat,
I watched them ride through the next set of rapids “Bronco-Billy”
style, giving a whole new meaning to the term “whitewater
Mike and Pam performed like champs, holding on through the
rapid, executing the use of the flip
lines flawlessly, turning the boat over just in time
to slide out of the river onto the bank at the take-out,
just as the sun was starting to burn the clouds away…
another great day on an Idaho river!
this summer’s Lochsa trip, I can tell you that my NRS
Extreme Drysuit saved my behind during a long, ugly swim
on Split Creek, just before the take-out at the pack bridge.
I was traveling on an E-140
paddle raft w/stern
frame. It was one of those moments where you highside
like a champ, then quickly realize you have absolutely nothing
on Mother Nature and get thoroughly “worked” for
your arrogance. So goes the Lochsa.