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The Gearboat Chronicles

Seven Wonders of Winding Waters

Travel Oregon announced their picks for the Seven Wonders of Oregon, and the Wallowas made the list. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Me either.

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Other wonders of Oregon include Crater Lake, prevalence of skinny jeans, Tonya Harding, The House of Mystery, OSU football turnover stats and that weird gas station in Ukiah. Double-check those at the Travel Oregon site.

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We had the seven wonders of the ancient world. We have updated lists of modern wonders. Travel Oregon has picked their seven around the state, and now it’s time for The Winding Waters Seven Wonders of Whitewater Wafting.

1. The pyramids. Every list of seven things must by law include the pyramids. Check.

2. Headlamp batteries always give out at the worst time. Always. I wonder why that is. Sure, if you need a headlamp it’s dark, so any time it quits would be a bad time. But after years of research in the field I have exhaustive evidence that headlamps are somehow sentient, certainly malevolent and pick their time to quit in order to create the highest degree of inconvenience. Huh. Wonderful.

3. Hells Canyon


4. Lower Salmon River. Clear water. Crayola sunsets. Sandy beaches. It’s like the Waikiki of free-flowing streams, minus all the hotels and ABC stores.

salmon river sunset

5. Wild Things. Wildflowers. Wildlife. Wild . . . uh, cards. All that stuff. Nature, people. It’s the best reality show.


6. Rafting. It’s just so . . . so . . . fun. I wonder why. But as my uncle Ben Kenobi once told me, it’s best not to overthink. Just let go. Let it flow through you. While that sounds like instructions on how to urinate, I prefer to apply his advice in other contexts, like going rafting.


7. 7-way tie for 7th Wonder of Winding Waters. Contenders include: The crew, oh-so-good local food whipped up in our outdoor gourmet kitchens, Grande Ronde River steelhead putting a bend in your flyrod, the WWRE boathouse near the left ventricle of the Wallowas, a family-owned business with an ever-growing extended family of rafting friends . . . and for the 7th candidate for the 7th Wonder of Winding Waters, there’s another 7-way tie. This could go for a while. Draft your list of wonders of rafting, we’ll compare notes on the river this season and get these wonders finalized.