Thursday, February 25, 2010

Middle Fork Idaho Outfitters Highlight Brigade Service

Spectacular Scenery, Whitewater and Fly Fishing highlight trips

SALMON, ID, February 25, 2010 - In Central, Idaho, less than 125 miles from Boise, is a wilderness river that National Geographic has called the third best whitewater rafting river in the world. Of the ten rivers they list in the book Journeys of a Lifetime, the Middle Fork of the Salmon is the only one that doesn’t require travel gymnastics to get to or a passport for U.S. citizens.

A passage from Journeys of a Lifetime reads: “This is one of the world’s most popular whitewater rivers, with everything to offer you—rapids up to Class IV and glorious alpine and forest scenery as it flows through America’s largest roadless wilderness area outside Alaska. Wildlife can include the enchanting sight of a mother bear swimming across the river with her cubs.”

It is those attractions and more, the natural hot springs, world class fly fishing, spectacular hikes, that first lure vacationers from around the world to the Middle Fork. But it is the Middle Fork guides and outfitters, a few of whom are famous for providing exceptional customer service, deluxe camping, acclaimed cuisine and friendly access to this wilderness, that brings them back.

Standards are high on the Middle Fork where 25 outfitters offer trips. Some have achieved levels of service that exceed what you would expect at most vacation resorts and they serve meals that rival famous restaurants. These outfits have adopted the term Brigade Service to define what they do.

Sheila Mills and her husband Dave run Rocky Mountain River Tours. Sheila is the author of four best selling Dutch oven cookbooks that are reflected in the company’s dedication to serving outstanding food. “When we took a look at what Brigade Service was about we concluded it was paying attention to all the little details that go into providing a great vacation and making sure guests had the best possible Middle Fork experience.”

Brigade-Style service is defined by these outfitters as striving to deliver a memorable and exhilarating wilderness vacation experience that features exceptional customer service, acclaimed meals, gracious and welcoming guides, and a desire to introduce guests to the secrets of the Northern Rockies of Idaho. Trips feature a 4-1 guest to guide ratio with interpretive talks, fly-fishing, geology hikes, and provocative campfire conversations.

The Brigade Companies consist of four, long time Middle Fork outfitters who have joined together to promote their trips and the concept of Brigade Service. Outfitter Bob Volpert who operates Idaho River Journeys, one of the Brigade Four, said, “The idea was to unite a select group of outfitters that ran high quality trips and had similar service standards. We share this commitment and feel confident about recommending each other’s trips.” The other two Brigade Outfitters are Hughes River Expeditions and Solitude River Trips.


For further information or to arrange a media trip, contact Bob Volpert at 1-888-997-8399 or by email at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eddy Out: Paradise Lodge on the Rogue River

Paradise Lodge, 20 miles downstream of Grave Creek, is where we often spend our last night on the river. High above the river, the deck offers beautiful views looking downstream and upstream.

The lodge itself is rich in history. The land was first developed in 1903 by Charlie Pettinger. It was in such a remote location that, with exception to the mail man, very few outsiders ever visited. Even today there is no road into this remote area. The main lodge was constructed in 1959 by Deak and Louise Miller. The current owners, the Schleining family, are the fourth owners of this beautiful piece of land.

With a ceiling overhead, a fresh shower, and a bed to crawl into you'll be happy to stop at Paradise. Enjoy relaxing on the deck for hors-doevres and wine, taking a stroll on the Rogue River trail, or simply take in the views. At Paradise, "there are no strangers here, just friends we haven't met."

If you're interested in spending a night at Paradise Lodge, take a look at our schedule page for our "camp/lodge" trips. These are trips where we spend the first night or two camped along the river and then our final night at the lodge. They are our most popular trips and are the best way to see a little bit of everything the Rogue River has to offer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

River Trips: Offering solutions for last minute shoppers

It's the day before Valentine's Day and you may be scrambling to find that perfect gift for your loved one. Maybe you're starting to feel the pressure, maybe not. Regardless, we've now reached the point of time where the countdown is measured in hours, not days. Want to find a gift that actually means something? You've heard the phrase a "gift that keeps on giving"? Well, it's not all baloney, and sure, it's a cheesy thing to attach onto a world-class river trip but it's hard to say it any better. The gift of a river rafting vacation truly does keep on giving.

Our all-inclusive river rafting trips are a lot more than just rapids. We run the three best multi-day rivers in the west. Oregon's Rogue River and Idaho's Middle Fork and Main Salmon Rivers are all designated Wild & Scenic. This means that, aside from great whitewater, you'll float through river canyons that are far, far, far away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Cell phones don't work on the rivers we run. There is no Facebooking, no stock market, and no distractions. When you are on a trip with us, the only distractions are the rapids, the beautiful river canyons, and the people you're with. In situations like this, it's easy to see why a river trip is the perfect "couples" gift.

Camping on the river is comfortable. We use big gear boats to carry a "home away from home" that is set-up every night. Our tents are large, spacious, and always top-of-the-line. You don't even have to set your tent up - our guides are happy to do that for you. Once at camp you have plenty of time to do whatever it is you'd like. There is always an excellent hike nearby, always a swimming hole to enjoy, and always a knowledgeable guide seconds away to help you find what you need. Or, if you'd prefer you can simply relax in camp, sip wine, and watch the river flow by.

It's easy to see why our trips would make great gifts. If you're still looking for that gift for tomorrow's big day, save yourself a trip into town and pick up the phone. Call us at 1-888-997-8399 and prepare to give the gift that, you know, keeps on giving.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eddy Out: Veil Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

Veil Falls, mile 81, is an impressive spring-fed waterfall that drops into a giant cathedral of mint and granite. From the river it may not look like much. But once you've scrambled over boulders and gone up the canyon wall nearly 200 feet you'll see why it is worth the stop.

There are three parts to the Veil Falls adventure: First is getting up to the falls, second is relaxing and enjoying the waterfall, and third is making is back down to the boats. Slow and steady always wins the race, especially at Veil. There's a well-worn path that leads to the cathedral but gravity is working against you on your way up. Veil Falls is not a drive-by, though, so you can spend as much time as you would like admiring the falls.

When the wind changes directions the drops of water turn, spiraling there way to the floor. You may be caught soaking in the afternoon sun rays one moment, only to be soaking in the waters from above the next. The ground is coated in mint leaves. Roll some up and put them in your nose. It sounds weird, right? Next, find a flat rock to lie down on and look up. Try to watch an individual drop of water fall from the very lip at the top all the way to the bottom. (photo above/right: Veil Falls twisting and turning on a windy afternoon. Photo by Tysun McMullan)

On the walls of the cathedral are pictographs, which further adds to the magic of this place. Often times we arrive and a herd of Big Horn Sheep are grazing at the base of the falls. Veil Falls is a must-make stop on the Middle Fork. You'll be glad to have made the trek to this beautiful place.

Random interesting fact about Veil Falls:

Very close to this location Barry Goldwater and Andy Anderson found a stick with "Bob McCollom L.H. Atkins 1889" carved into it.