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The Gearboat Chronicles

Oh, Deer: How to Pee in the River

Going tinkle in the water is one of the simple joys of summertime rafting. Just wade out up to your waist, place your hands on your hips, pretend to be studying the landscape across the river and let fly. It’s good etiquette to be downstream of others who may be swimming. Aside from that, peeing in the river is just good etiquette in general because there’s no reason to pee-pee in the bushes or fill up the groover when you can cool off and enact dilution as the solution to pollution at the same time. An advanced technique is to be drinking a liquid of some sort while you are standing in water up to your waist and also releasing liquid consumed earlier. That’s called reaching equilibrium.

WARNING: Graphic Image to follow.

Even deer use this practice. Observe this here deer taking a potty break in the Grande Ronde. Good job, deer. Way to leave no trace. It took us forever to train those animals to stop peeing on shore. The hoof marks on our faces and arms are not going away quickly, either. That is some deep bruising.


These elk in the next picture had no time for a bathroom break, however. They were hotfooting it off an island where I’d dropped a work crew of noxious weed sprayers. Two tiny calves were bedded down on the island, with six adults who crossed over to the main riverbank.

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Here’s what it looks like to load up backpack sprayers and head off to squirt leafy spurge, yellowstar thistle, knapweed and the other bad dudes of the invasive weed world.


The Narrows rapid not too far from the mouth of the GR where it joins the Snake River was a little bit on the spicy side. At low water the river squeezes between basalt walls with no room to get an oar in the water. Higher water creates a mess on a corner with a sampler tray of interesting obstacles to navigate. Jaggedy rocks, a decent-sized hole to avoid, a short little spillover you probably don’t want to mess with. We took a line right next to the bank, skirting the hole. Took some doing to get a boat into the narrow slot, but worked out fine.

Here’s a few more pics from this lower Grande Ronde tour, like this cool arch:


And a few of the sheds picked up during spraying missions:


Come join us, why don’t you. Rafting season is kicking in the afterburners right now and Winding Waters has trips of a lifetime departing for Hells Canyon and the Lower Salmon River each week. This is beautiful country, folks. And seeing it from a raft is hard to beat.