Get In the Flow: Rogue Insights

I’d been dreaming of rafting the Rogue River for a long time, but always the logistics got in the way. Finally it was time to “just do this.”

Self-Nurturing or Over-Protection?

After a summer of health challenges, I was concerned that rafting (and cold water) would take more of a toll on my available energy than “just sitting” on a motorcycle. I wanted to protect my fragile self. So rather than do the sequential and more difficult Wild and Scenic section, we opted for a base camp and day trips in the recreational section of the Rogue.

Rogue rafting map

(Map from

Having done the day trips on the Poudre River a couple times, I know how much being washed over with icy water can take out of you, so I went and got a fleece jacket AND a wetsuit top for extra layers. Total overkill. (But I was glad of the fleece in the early morning camp!)

After stopping at The Grocery Outlet from Hell, my first glimpse of the river.

We set up camp and had a lovely simple frozen skillet meal for dinner, then fresh eggs scrambled with spinach and feta for breakfast.

Spinach in pan

Extra sustenance, just in case

Oatmeal with sprinkles

And of course, COFFEE!

coffee and campfire

Follow the Flow

So we got to the put-in mid-morning. Straight off the ramp is the Class II rapid called Ennis Riffle. I held on and didn’t take any pictures.

My mentor started teaching me about how to read where the water flows. The river points the way in with its current. You just stay in the flow and the river takes you where you want to go. At least, that’s the philosophy…

Things calmed down soon after. Turns out rafting along here includes lots of relaxing floating along, just enjoying the scenery.

Front of raft

We pulled up onto the bank and dumped lifejackets and gear so we could enjoy some lunch. Turkey, walnut, cranberry wraps.


Then it’s time to pull back out onto the river.

Oar in water

Have You Learned a New Dance Lately?

I started taking the oars (“sticks” in the vernacular) and I played with moving the raft back and forth across the river. What does it do if I do THIS? And what about THAT? I’d only been in paddle rafts or row boats (pulling backward). This is quite a different feeling.

Curious. Awkward. Buzzing with excitement.

I started learning the basics of turning this way and that. We got pretty dizzy as I practiced to get the muscle memory on the flat water.

One forward, one back, moving independently

Karen on oars

Now the dance floor

To find the flow into the rapid, follow the V or tongue. It’s the dark, smooth water with the white pointing the way in.


OK, survived the first little bumps

Karen relaxed on oars

River Reflections

That evening, I reflected on my lessons so far.  I’d followed the tongue into a small rapid and gone carefully alongside the white crests, sticking with the smoother water. In performance driving, the smooth driver is the fast driver. Don’t want to unsettle the weight of the car.

My mentor asked,”What are you doing over HERE? The [main flow of] water is over THERE!” as he pointed to the stream of white splashes.

Suddenly, I realized that when we came into anything white, I was really cringing! Afraid of getting splashed and cold and unable to recover. Body temp regulation has been part of my challenge, and I just haven’t had the extra metabolic energy to regenerate heat. So even on a lovely warm day, where splashes rarely reached over the sides of the raft, I’d been avoiding, flinching, holding back. Even though I’m well into recovering my health.


Where else in my life have I been protecting my fragile self and holding back, avoiding the primary Flow? Wow, how quickly habits develop!

The River was gifting me bigger Lessons than I realized.

With just a little skill in the technique, I already learned that setting my course makes the most difference in my experience!

Take Two

The second morning out was still and beautiful. We ran the same section of the river.

Crane flying to its mate

Still water

Now when it was my turn to row, you better believe I followed that tongue into the rapid, then aimed directly for every bit of white I could crash into!

Bounce and pull and laugh out loud!

OK, here comes some excitement!

And further on…Stay IN the FLOW! Yeah, Baby!

It’s all about making good choices

And relaxing into it

Where is Life’s river showing you that you’re holding back?

How ready are you to get into the Flow?

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