By Amber Marra
As the old tune goes, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.
OK, so that guy belting out that old glam metal ballad probably wasn’t singing about a river, but that’s kind of how we feel here at Wet Planet as our time to run the Klickitat draws to a close.
We’ve been running the Klickitat all spring, but as Memorial Day weekend approaches, so does the last chance to run the Klickitat with us. While we’ve got plenty of room on our Klickitat trips both Saturday and Sunday, after that we will not be rafting the 18-mile stretch for the rest of the summer.
On the way to the put-in, rafters-to-be are treated to a drive to Glenwood through the Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge where it isn’t out of the ordinary to spot herds of elk and Sandhill Crane at their nesting grounds. After passing through Glenwood we continue east towards the boundary line of the Yakama reservation before dropping into the deep Klickitat River Canyon. For most of the drive, guests are treated to spectacular views of Mt Adams, Washington’s second largest volcano, hence the Native American name “Pa-toe,” meaning “reaching tall.”
Though the section of the Klickitat we run is known for its magnificent scenery, Seal says the Miracle Mile in the first half of the trip sports exciting, continuous Class III whitewater.
That said, after rafters splash through the first 9 miles and tuck into a delicious riverside lunch there are plenty of opportunities to “ohhh” and “ahhhhh” at the scenery.
“I think the coolest part of the Klickitat is the fact that you start in the middle of an old-growth forest near Mt. Adams and can watch the geology and plants and trees change completely and by the time you’re done you’re in a huge desert canyon,” Seal said. “It’s super unique to be able to see all of the microclimates there.”
The beautiful surroundings that the Klickitat cuts through make it an exceptional experience, even compared to the White Salmon, which tends to keep rafters too busy to stop, look around, and absorb the moment, especially when boats pass Wonder Falls, a striking waterfall cascading over rocks on the second, more mellow half of the Klickitat.
“It feels like you’re farther from civilization compared to the White Salmon,” Huffman said.
When it comes to beauty, Fred Ross and his wife, Cindy, were in awe of the views they were treated to on all parts of the river. At one point, they were even able to pick out a white mountain goat perched on top of one of the sheer cliffs jutting out of the river.
That, combined with the Class III whitewater, kept the two seasoned rafters entertained throughout the 18-mile stretch.
“It was just a beautiful trip and river itself is just spectacular. It was everything we wanted,” Fred Ross said. “It was just right for us.”
Jennifer Campbell was on the same trip as Ross and felt that the Klickitat’s level of difficulty was perfect for her 14-year-old nephew who had never been rafting before. She not only had a great time on the Klickitat, but felt they can now introduce her nephew to more whitewater adventures in the future.
“The continuous rapids were great for my nephew and definitely a good beginner whitewater experience,” Campbell said. “We’ll probably step it up and raft the White Salmon next time now that he has a little more experience.”
There are still spots left on our Klickitat AND White Salmon trips over Memorial Day weekend! Click here to book your reservation now or call us at 1.800.306.1673.
Amber Marra is a reservation specialist living the dream at Wet Planet.