Name of River: Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
Gear Used: Johnson Outdoors Extrasport Rescue PFD
Story: Everyone has a different idea of what they want in a PFD (life jacket). I want to come back, so I go with the most flotation I can find. The Extrasport swiftwater Rescue has 29 lbs of flotation which works for me.
One day running Granite I was thrown out of the boat. Still don't know how. but just a few feet into the rapid my boat was facing upstream and I was underwater down stream. I got one breath of air before the bottom of the rapid so it was a long ride. However I just held onto my PFD and waited till the end.
I came up, climbed back into my boat and thanked Extrasport. On the Salt one year my oar hit a rock and the handle came in the boat breaking a rib. I slept that night sitting up wearing my PFD as tight as I could both as a stabilizer and a cushion. Again, my Extrasport PFD worked. It was long enough to provide protection and support and I was able to tighten it enough to making sleeping almost comfortable. I"m on my 3rd Extrasport Rescue PFD. I like them.
Name of River: Green River
Gear Used: Raft / AIRE, PFD /Stohlquist, Raft frame / NRS, PFD / Extrasport, Fly fishing rods / Temple Fork Outfitters, Sleeping bags / Kelty, tent / REI
Story: These memories will stay with me forever. Me and my little family living and breathing in God's beautiful creation. The sun shining on our skin, the cold water splashes and deep belly laughs. Naked baby bottoms running wild and free. Warming evening bonfires and sleepy snuggles. Here is where we slow down and drink each other in and remember that there is and will always be love for one another. Even on the days when our feet are hitting the hot concrete rushing to get to the next thing. The love we have conquers all.
Name of River: Great Miami River
Gear Used: Kicknet
Story: For the last 5 years I’ve had the opportunity to take a 2 day trip down the Great Miami River. With 1 bus, 2 twelve passenger vans, 3 boat trailers, and nearly 50 of my closest friends, we’ve started off the school year with a little learning and a lotta fun. While we use a lot of gear, one of the simplest is my favorite; the kick net.
For those unfamiliar, a kick net is comprised of two pieces of wood with a loose, but fine, mesh between them. After placing it in an open V downstream of the user, the sand and rocks are kicked up from the stream bed. Caught in the mesh are little and big critters, and with them, a wealth of knowledge. Every year we learn about our watershed from the macroinvertebrates to the catfish and blue heron.
Name of River: Colorado
Gear Used: NRS self-bailing raft
Story: I always dreamed of going on a private trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River in an oar-powered boat. I finally got the chance when I was invited to join a group of friends on a 16 person trip. Our permit allowed us to spend 18 days on the river. We had a total of 16 people on the trip.
The canyon is a powerful, magical and inspiring. I had read many of the classic books about expeditions through the canyon on the river, two men who ran the entire length in wetsuits and life jackets, first descents of all kinds and the epic, The Emerald Mile, about the near overflow of Glen Canyon Dam that led to the once in a lifetime opportunity for three amazing guides to set record for the fastest time through the canyon using dories. We used self-bailing rafts by NRS. Amazing boats guided by one person manning two long oars. The boats were provided by Moenkopi outfitters out of Flagstaff.
The NRS boats become more than a vehicle to run the canyon, it becomes an extension of you as you guide it through the rapids, it is a magical carpet that transport you to another world. It provides the means to thrive, survive and enjoy the ever moving Colorado river and all that adjoins it. It became a living room, a bedroom and a place of confession. I look forward to my next trip using an NRS raft to run the Colorado, the Salmon, the Snake, the Owyhee and all the other magical places that our elected officials got it right when they passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Name of River: Mad River/Great Miami River
Gear Used: Ninja PFD/NRS
Story: When I was a sophomore in college, I joined an organization called the Rivers Institute at the University of Dayton. My first experience in the organization was with my cohort of new River Stewards on a three-day immersion in the Great Miami River watershed in SE Ohio. This kayaking, creek stomping, and camping experience was a precursor for my next three years of exploring and sharing the Ohio outdoors with the surrounding communities.
Throughout those years, I gained a solid foundation of outdoors experience while teaching our community about the local water and natural resources, leading beginner kayaking trips and getting my ACA certification, and experiencing the little-known gems in the Ohio wilderness.
As a guide on the rivers around Dayton, we had a fleet of boats and all the gear needed to keep our groups safe out on the river. Proper wear and care of PFDs was at the core of our water safety lessons. I used my trusty NRS PFD every day and taught our groups how to properly fit them for a safe and comfortable day on the water.
Name of River: Colorado River
Gear Used: Spikeball
Story: On my very first river trip, I played Spikeball for the first time- a game that involves a small net that sits off the ground and a ball. Four players (two teams of two) stand around the net and bounce the ball off it, with similar rules as volleyball. Although seemingly simple, Spikeball brought us hours of fun and laughs at our campsite after our first day on the river. It was a great way to past the time between getting off the water and dinner and was fun for all - spectators and players.
Name of River: South Platte River + The Yampa + Secret Locations :)
Gear Used: Simms Freestone Waders
Story: Every fly fishing junkie has two goals heading into a day on the water: 1) Catch a damn fish (several if you are lucky...) 2) Staying DRY! In any and every possible season, I have relied on Simms products in many ways. In the Winter, my Simms G4 Pro Jacket keeps me warm and sheltered from the harsh elements. In the summer, their hats provide shade from the sun.
But one product that performs through thick and thin, through every season, are my Simms Freestone Waders. One memory comes to mind vividly. I was in Steamboat Springs with my then fiancee (surprised she married me after this day), and we were fishing right below the Stagecoach Resevoir...two days after Christmas. So, as you can imagine it was frigidly cold, even after the sun hit us.
Now I am from Michigan, so I can actually withstand the cold pretty well. So naturally I was wearing the minimal garments below my Freestone Waders all day. After stepping in the ankle deep Yampa River I could feel my waders suction up against my thin long-johns. At this point, you either know it's going to be a long day, or a short one.
Thankfully, Simms makes stellar products, waders in particular, and besides a brief cold sensation, I never felt bone chilling cold or numbness. My now wife and I spent 8 hours on the water, hammering the beautiful Yampa Rainbow Trout with nymphs and dries, and it started a hopeful lifelong outdoor activity we can share together.