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The Gearboat Chronicles

New Gearboat, Rubber Boots and Breakfast

The fleet has grown. Winding Waters welcomes a new set of tubes for moving mountains of gear down the river. Thanks to the good folks at Aire for building our new gearboat. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of our other Aire gearboat workhorse, plus the smaller cutting pony rafts we use for zipping around in the rapids.

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Last time we tried to christen a new inflatable raft there were champagne bottles flying all over the boathouse. You have to aim for one of the metal rings, otherwise those bottles just bounce right off.

Bogs Boots: Thumbs Up

The rafting crew gets particular about gear. Bogs insulated boots have become a favorite for fall and winter river trips. They’re waterproof, so you can wade right out to the boat. Warm, so you can walk around camp in the morning and still feel your feet. And they’re kind of expensive, so if rafting guides are endorsing them it’s a pretty good sign they’re worth the money.

You see Bogs, or similar Muck brand boots, all over Wallowa County in the fall and winter, since they’re good for kicking around in all sorts of wintery, fall-ish situations. Here’s my favorite recent Bogs sighting: Thomas Bane heading home after a shift at Terminal Gravity brewing. Love that carabiner/backpack footwear transportation system he’s worked out.


Breakfast Roundup: Six Degrees of Better Bacon

I’m a thick-cut bacon sort of guy. No time for razor-thin store-bought bacon strips. If I’m going to increase cholesterol I don’t see any point messing around. So I enthusiastically support Paul and Penny’s farm operation to raise homegrown porky goodness we serve on river trips.

When I can’t sneak into the boathouse freezer to steal pork products, I purchase bacon from Mt. Joseph Family Foods, the market near Winding Waters. It has giant chunks of cracked pepper and will bend your spatula if you’re not careful. So good. But this last batch was above and beyond. Notice how only three pieces will fit inside a standard skillet. They don’t even fit. One piece is curling up the side. You win Bacon of the Month, Mt. Joseph Family Foods. Take the rest of the day off.


Which Came First, Farm Fresh or Crappy Store Eggs

Paul and Penny dropped off some real eggs from Linden’s chicken ranch the other day. I was on the tail-end of a dozen store eggs and the difference between eggs from Aisle One versus chickens that can see the sky doesn’t even require a taste test. Just crack one of each into a bowl. One of these things is not like the other.


Origin of the term ‘pale imitation.’

And check out the egg delivery system at the gate on the driveway to Arentsen Farm.


NRS boat straps and breakfast. Together at last.

Steelhead Season: Fourth Quarter

Steelhead streams are open for business out here until April 15th, so get on out there. Call for guided forays with Tom Farnam, steelhead guide to the stars.

As inspiration, get a load of this behemoth caught by Matt Seitz. This is a Clearwater fish, caught on an 8,000-pound Warn winch.

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